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 Bird Conservation Through Education TM

August 5, 2013 

In This Issue
Focus on Diversity Conference
Migratory Bird Stamp
Remembering Betty Petersen
Thanks to our BEN Bulletin sponsor:
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The Bird Education Network (BEN) was created following the February 2007 National Gathering, hosted by the Council for Environmental Education (CEE). BEN is a CEE initiative that seeks to connect and support a community of bird education professionals.


Over 4,000 individuals representing 300 organizations receive communications and engage in professional dialogue through the BEN-run Bird Education Listserv. 


A BEN Committee has been established to provide advice and guidance for this important initiative, to advance "bird conservation through education."

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Focus on Diversity: Changing the Face of American Birding Conference           

by Dave Magpiong
Conference presenters Roy Rodriguez 
and Drew Lanham leading a trip.  
Photo by Lauren Deaner

Registration has opened for the third Focus on Diversity conference, which will be held November 4-6 in McAllen, TX at the McAllen Convention and Visitors' Bureau.  


Dedicated birders (educators, conservationists, individuals, businesses, etc.) will collaborate with experienced bird educators including Kenn Kaufman, Drew Lanham, Mary Gustafson, Roy Rodriguez, and others to forge a stronger future building relevant birding, creative bird education, and long-term conservation. The conference features a series of panels and frank discussions about the demographics of birding, the impact on conservation, and effective strategies to reach new audiences.


Building upon the prior two events, this year's conference will include a second day of workshops hosted at fabled Rio Grande Valley sites like Santa Ana NWR, Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, and the increasingly popular Estero Llano Grande State Park. At the workshops, participants will be assisted by conference presenters in setting realistic goals and developing "diversity in birding" action plans to engage people in their respective regions with birding opportunities and bird conservation issues.


Opportunities to share your programs and sponsor the conference  are available.


The Focus on Diversity Conference was planned in conjunction with the 20th Annual Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, which immediately follows in nearby Harlingen. This was specifically arranged to give bird educators a unique opportunity to attend two special events within one business trip. 

Bird Education and the Migratory Bird Stamp; It's a Lot More than Ducks! 

by Paul Baicich  


Many bird educators are involved in the very creative Junior Duck Stamp program, an effort that mobilized over 29,000 students entering the art contest last year. And the creative curriculum launched last year on that program has been embraced by many bird educators involved in youth work.


But, the "regular" stamp, the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (often called the "Duck Stamp," or, increasingly, the "Migratory Bird Stamp") isn't usually thought of as an education vehicle.

We need to look again as bird educators.

With the new stamp, released in the last month and reproduced here showing Robert Steiner's male Common Goldeneye, there is a new opportunity to engage in serious bird education--for both youth and adults. The new stamp is part of a learning process and connected to meaningful bird education and conservation.

For example, when the new stamp was released, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology posted a thoughtful page on their blog, focusing on "Eight Great Reasons to Love the New Migratory Bird Stamp."  The Lab's eight points are summarized as follows:

  • $850 million for refuge system conservation and still counting.
  • A 79-year tradition of beautiful wildlife art.
  • A bargain at $15.
  • It's much more than ducks.
  • Save wetlands; save grasslands.
  • The habitat benefits are gorgeous.
  • It's your free pass to refuges.
  • As bird watchers, let's get in on the secret.

Each of these eight points is packed with educational potential and can just begin to be explored at Cornell's All About Birds Blog

A Life Remembered: 
Betty Petersen 
Betty Petersen


Betty Petersen was the driving force behind Birders' Exchange, a simple project with a remarkable track-record. Birders' Exchange was launched with the idea of getting the tools needed for bird research, conservation, and education into the hands of those very people who needed them. And it worked wonderfully, providing new, used, recycled, and just-created field equipment to give to those on-the-ground people who could make a difference in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Through her talent, fervor, caring, and humor, Betty Petersen touched the lives and work of thousands of birders, conservationists, educators, and researchers in 30 countries, from the Bahamas, Cuba, and Mexico in the north to Chile and Argentina in the south.

Behind Birders' Exchange was a simple concept . . . and a brilliant and caring person. Betty Petersen passed away on June 4th, after suffering a heart attack a few weeks previously.  For more on Betty Petersen and her work, visit the American Birding Association Blog.


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Newsletter maintained by: The Council for Environmental Education, Flying WILD and the BEN Committee.