I recently completed the “classroom” portion of the Master Bird Conservation Program, a terrific program put on by National Audubon Connecticut. The free course included four days of instruction, which culminated this week with field trips to Bent of River and Stratford, and now the participants (myself included) need to complete 20 hours of volunteer service for the benefit of birds.
It was a great program with a ton of information and very well organized by the leaders, including Ken Elkins (education program manager at Audubon CT), Corrie Folsom-O’Keefe (Audubon CT Important Bird Area coordinator), Patrick Comins (director of bird conservation at Audubon CT), and Ted Gilman (naturalist at Audubon CT in Greenwich). I’m sure there are other National Audubon Connecticut staffers who played a big role behind the scenes, so my thanks go to them as well.
There were also several guest speakers each week, who enlightened the participants about various aspects of bird conservation and habitat protection _ global, national, state and local. The instruction also included bird identification tips, especially those birds of special concern status.
It was a lot to take in. I’m glad I took notes! Each of the four days included eight hours of instruction _ a long day to be sure, but it went quickly as the topics and speakers were fascinating. I am certainly more attuned to the challenges our birds face and now I’m armed with knowledge and tools to help them out. I look forward to the 20 hours of volunteer service, although I’ll probably go well beyond that.
The program was funded by a grant. About 30 people participated in the program, well more than Audubon CT staff had anticipated. Just shows the great interest in protecting our birds. Hopefully, based on the success of the first class, the grant will be continued in future years. The more people out there helping our birds, the better.
Thanks to Audubon CT for holding the Master Bird Conservation Program.
Tomorrow’s (Sunday, April 9, 2012) show will feature wildlife photographer and artist Julian Hough.