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Photo Credit: Lee Marcus
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After hitting our milestone of 4,000 readers this year, BEN Bulletin is opening *only two* corporate or organizational sponsorship opportunities for the next fiscal year. Would you like your logo, website and most current events shared with our 4,150 subscribers on a monthly basis? 

Contact: Sarah Livesay
Building a Youth Bird Club
by Amy Simso Dean, Founder and Leader, "The Burroughs Birders"
Photo Credits: Amy Simso Dean
What does it take to build a bird club for youth? Actual in-the-field experiences with a woodpecker, a chickadee,  a warbler, or a duck can do more to connect kids to nature than any indoor instruction with an adult. In spring 2015, some adult birders teamed up with Burroughs Community School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and put this idea to work.
The Burroughs Birders youth birding club combines the insatiable curiosity of kids with the fun of tearing around outdoors. It also eschews an overly formal format. After a quick chat about bird sightings and two new target species, they hit the trail. The only rule: carry binoculars or a note pad and pencil. The only screen on the trail is the occasional check-in to bird identification apps such as eBird or iBird on the adult leader's phone.
Casual structure notwithstanding, the kids are learning, says co-leader Amber Burnette, "It is so satisfying to see them recognize calls as they get used to hearing the birds, and then try to find them with their binoculars. Even if it's just for a few hours, what a neat thing to have birds be the teachers of our shared world."
"The plan to have multiple sessions during peak migration times in Minnesota means the kids get to see the week-to-week changes in bird species around us," explains Burnette. Learning sneaks in all the time. A woodpecker taps out the importance of dead trees; a warbler shows how insects play into migration; a chickadee lectures on the need for quality habitat.
"And so often, birding is just the beginning, an opening to the wider world of nature and conservation," adds co-leader Julie Brophy.
Peyton Knock-Swanson, a 4th grader, bubbles with enthusiasm. "I like birding because it lets m
e get out in nature and explore.... I think that other people should join our bird club. I'll bet you'll see lots of birds; all you have to do is be quiet, have a sharp eye, get out there and explore. Oh, and don't forget to have fun!" 
Edward H. "Jed" Burtt, Jr: RIP

Internationally respected ornithologist and 37-year faculty member at Ohio Wesleyan University, Edward H. "Jed" Burtt Jr., passed away at his home in late April. He had had a lifelong battle with Osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease.

Burtt, 68, joined the Ohio Wesleyan department of zoology in 1977 where, as a professor and two-time department chairman, he impacted the lives of thousands of students and co-workers. Throughout his career, Burtt delivered hundreds of presentations at national and international scientific meetings, often in collaboration with undergraduate students.

In 2013, he received the Margaret Morse Nice Medal from the Wilson Ornithological Society for lifetime contributions to ornithology, and he served as the society's president from 1997-1999. From 2008-2010, Burtt served as president of the American Ornithologists' Union, where he also was a Life Fellow. In 2015, the Wilson Ornithological Society created a "Jed Burtt Mentoring Grants" program in his honor, awarding funds to mentors of undergraduate students working in collaboration on ornithological research projects.

Burtt stated that watching students succeed in their academic, professional, and personal lives motivated and inspired him. "The most exciting part of teaching is working one on one to help each student fulfill her or his special potential," he said. "Awakening a passion in a young person and helping each student fulfill a newly formulated dream is the essence of teaching. There is no higher calling, no greater purpose in life."

He taught all who knew him not only about birds, but also how to create a successful life and career despite physical disabilities.
2016-2017 Jr. Duck Stamp Art Contest Winner 

Artwork Credit: Stacy Shen, Fremont, CA
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has announced Stacy Shen's pair of Ross's Geese as the winning artwork entry for the annual contest. The colored pencil entry, which won the California State Junior Duck Stamp Contest, was judged the winner among best-of-show entries from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  

This year, 27,192 entries were submitted to the 52 state and territory Junior Duck Stamp contests. View the 52 state and territory Best of Show winners now by visiting the contest flicker website
Bird Education in Action
Photo Credit: Paul J. Baicich

Spring Bird Count for Kids in Washington DC
The first Ward 6 Spring Bird Count for Kids was held in Washington DC on May 7th. It was based at Brent Elementary School, located not far from the Capitol.
The kids and their parents spread out to three local birding spots in the city - Kennilworth Aquatic Gardens, Kingman Island, and the National Arboretum - where they birded for part of the morning. They then all re-assembled back at the school for lunch and for three field reports by the kids.
Here is a photo of the group that went to the National Arboretum. They had just seen the now-famous Bald Eagles nesting at the gardens. 
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-administered Bird Education Listserv
To learn more about us, read the BEN publication, "Toward a National Bird Education Strategy".

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