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 Bird Conservation Through Education TM

April 21, 2011

In This Issue
Essentials for Reaching Diverse Audiences Part III
A Trio that Makes Music Together
Junior Duck Stamp Contest Winner
Celebrate Earth Day & IMBD
Thanks to our BEN Bulletin sponsor:

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 3,000 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."

Quick Links
Essentials for Reaching Diverse Audiences Through Birds Part III: Repeated Trips

by Paul Baicich and Kate Mowbray


diversity - birdwatching

In the last issue of the BEN Bulletin, the issue of Opportunity was introduced as crucial to reaching communities of diversity. Field trips were an example of a way to reach diverse audiences initially. Individuals from diverse audiences do not "need" an introduction to birds through one simple field trip or one simple general exposure. Nobody should reasonably expect that a "spark" provided on a single field trip can be independently sustained by the individual youth or adult. Such initial interest needs ongoing and consistent nurturing. Sustaining the spark may be difficult and will probably require the use of multiple visits, many experiences, and a modicum of patience. In fact, this is why "repeated trips" follows "opportunity" as our second essential ingredient. They are interconnected, one virtually dependent on the other in the cycle of effective bird education.


It is often difficult to get diverse audiences back to where the spark was ignited. Diverse audiences may be less likely to return on their own or with their families because they do not feel comfortable or it is not part of their normal routine. It is often up to community center leaders, school, or environmental educators to fan the flame and get that person back. Bird educators must work with schools and community centers to provide opportunities for them to visit routinely. Follow their initial visit by going to after school programs or clubs at their site to help students learn more about birds through hands-on activities. Offer programs at a community center for families to learn together. Then, invite them out to your park, refuge, or nature center so they can put their new knowledge to work.


Repeating experiences similar to the initial opportunity permits the audience time to become familiar with new surroundings. They will be more confident, allowing them to be curious and ask questions. During repeat visits they can focus on learning about the birds that surround them instead of worrying about possible dangers they think may lurk ahead as they often do in their initial visit. Educators working with these groups can begin to expand their audiences' experiences, taking them into new birding areas they haven't been before or to learn new topics beyond what birds they are viewing. After several visits, bird educators may find their students learning on their own, looking up to the sky for birds every time they walk outside.


Repeat visits give diverse audiences opportunities to become familiar with new ideas, interests, and locations they would not have had or been to before. As they gain confidence they will want to continue learning more about birds, their habitats and habits. In our next BEN Bulletin, we will have part IV of our series, as we consider the importance of "Mentors." We'll look into how mentors play a role in getting diverse audiences back to where they initially felt that spark and keep them returning to those experiences again and again.


Upcoming Conference on Diversity

"A Focus on Diversity: Changing the Face of American Birding Conference" will be held at Heinz NWR in October. Presentation proposals are now being accepted. Click here for more informtion.

A Trio That Makes Music Together - The NWR System - Federal Junior Duck Stamp Contest -CBC 4 Kids
by Tom Rusert 

Blue Snow Goose

Partnering really can work and birds are the wedge. In the past four years as volunteers, we traveled and worked extensively to establish relationships with the NWR System in Washington and beyond through the CBC 4 Kids which is now hosted several new NWR locations in the US and growing.  


In the process we had the great pleasure to meet the Federal Junior Duck Stamp National Coordinator and California's state coordinator.  So guess what happened? We found ourselves dancing with Puddles the Blue Goose! This "Trio" will build more new bridges to find ways to help each other in all 50 states and beyond. The Federal Junior Duck Stamp - Fish and Wildlife Service theme Rocks - "Connecting children with nature through science and art." This 20 year old Federal Junior Duck Stamp has approximately 28,000 kids (K-12) already engaged across America this year.


As a result of offering the simple half day CBC 4 Kids, we found ourselves making scores of new friends and even being able to host the 2011 California Junior Duck Stamp Contest (with 3,100 student entries) in collaboration with a wonderful Spring Nature Festival that brought several hundred individuals and families out on a recent rain soaked weekend. The leaders at Sacramento NWR Complex and S.F. Bay NWR Complex and a dozen other organizations all working side by side together for our kids and our feathered friends. It was great fun!


More and more new doors are opening as we retool our collective thinking. National Parks, National Audubon, Bird Studies Canada and BirdLife International, Cornell Lab, Environments for the Americas(Go Wild Go Birding), BEN and yes...Ducks Unlimited are all on board to find practical ways to work together to help our kids and our feathered friends today. It makes an appreciable difference for all of us when we choose to extend a hand and build bridges to proven turnkey sustainable collaborations. 


Move over American Idol and Dancing With the Stars...It's time for all of us bird enthusiasts to Dance with Puddles the Blue Goose!       


This Trio makes music! Visit and vote today -

Illinois Youth Wins 2011 Junior Duck Stamp Contest

2011 Junior Duck Stamp Contest Winner, Abraham Hunter

Abraham Hunter, a 17 year old student from Vienna, Illinois won the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Contest on Friday, April 15 hosted by John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum in Pennsylvania. Several hundred school students and local Philadelphia residents were in attendance for the contest and afterwards enjoyed a day on the refuge. Second and third place wins went to Matthew Messina,17 from Avon, Connecticut and Christine Clayton, 16 from Sydney, Ohio.


The conservation message winner was 17-year -old Allison Armstrong of Russellville, Arkansas, with her entry: "Spread Your Wings, create a splash, make a difference."

Celebrate Earth Day and IMBD
oriel feeding

Photo by Jim Williams


Don't forget that Earth Day (April 22) and International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD -May 14) are just around the corner.


It's the perfect time of year for bird educators to reach out to new audience through festivals and other public events. 


BEN would like to invite you to share your photos, videos and stories on the Flying WILD Facebook page. If you haven't done so already, become a Flying WILD Fan today!


BEN: Connecting Bird Educators TM
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