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An Introduction

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Retter_tajin If you don’t know me already, please allow me to introduce myself. I’m the new editor of Winging It . This is important information if you’re an ABA member. I’m editing your newsletter, the August issue of which is now available online.

At the risk of self-aggrandizement, I'm kind of a poster child for how ABA can impact the lives of its youth members. I participated heavily in ABA's youth program in the late '90s and early oughts: contributing artwork and prose to the student newsletter, participating in the Young Birder of the Year contest, going to youth conferences, and (with the help of ABA scholarships) attending two camps as a teenager. Later, I attended annual conferences, where I spoke and led field trips. All this was instrumental in giving me the experience necessary for and making the connections that led me to this job. Without the ABA, it's quite likely that I'd be teaching Spanish or music somewhere rather than doing a job I truly love.

But enough about me. In the last few months, ABA has begun a massive campaign of online outreach. Perhaps you’ve followed one of the spirited Facebook debates about which demographic groups ABA should be targeting as potential members. Or maybe you’ve contributed responses to questions Jeff Gordon posed here on the ABA Blog.

The internet, social media in particular, has given us the ability to communicate with one another in ways never dreamed of. Members are now able to engage ABA’s leadership and staff to have detailed discussions about any number of topics. This increase in candor need not be restricted to the internet, though, and has given us ideas for how we should steer our publications at the beginning of this new decade.

What do you want to see in Winging It? We can’t know unless you tell us. Even better, I encourage you to pen an article for Winging It. Maybe you have a cherished, underappreciated birding location you’d like to share, like Josh Engel has done with Hawaii in the most recent issue. Or an idea for how to partner with local organizations to increase our membership numbers. Or a current event you think would interest other birders, such the timely update on the southwestern wildfires provided in the current issue by Sheri Williamson and Tom Wood. Or maybe you’d just like to share a fun (or disastrous) birding experience. Are you a bird artist or photographer? We’d love to help you display your work. Whatever your interests, we want to know about them and help you to share them with others. This is your ABA.

What do you have to say? Please, join us in the conversation.

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Michael Retter
Michael L. P. Retter is the editor of the ABA's newest magazine, Birder's Guide. He also wears his ABA cap while working as a Technical Reviewer for Birding magazine. When not at home, Michael is often leading tours in Middle America (Mexico through Panama). He currently lives with his fiancé, Matt, in Fort Worth, Texas. In his fleeting free time there, he pursues interests in horticulture (especially orchids), music, cooking, and numismatics. Michael also runs GBNA, the continent's informal club and email list for LGBT birders.
Birders know well that the healthiest, most dynamic choruses contain many different voices. The birding community encompasses a wide variety of interests, talents, and convictions. All are welcome.
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