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    Make 2014 a Big Year for Young Birders

    “I never thought conservation would be something I would be interested in until I did the Conservation & Community module of the ABA’s Young Birder of the Year contest. Now I’m really into it!”

    The speaker was 2013 Young Birder of the year Eric Hughes. The place was the ABA’s 2nd Mid-Atlantic Young Birder Conference, held this past fall in Delaware. Eric was addressing an audience of about 120 young birders, along with their parents, mentors, and ABA staff.

    Young Birders in the field at the MAYBC, photo by George Armistead

    Young Birders in the field at the MAYBC, photo by George Armistead

    The inclusion of the Conservation/Community module in this year’s Young Birder of the Year contest was intended to encourage young people to have a positive impact on birds and their habitats.

    Eric HughesEric’s project involved removing exotic vegetation in a local park. He also prepared a bird checklist for the park, and built and installed birdhouses. He led birdwalks, obtained habitat certification for the park, and attended several civic meetings, all with the goal of increasing appreciation for, and protection of, the birds in his community. At the ripe old age of 14, he and 18-year-old Ioana Seritan – also a 2013 Young Birder of the Year – and the rest of our amazing contestants this year are all doing amazing things for our community.

    Isn’t it wonderful for a birder so young to be making such a great contribution? The ABA is making great strides fostering the next generation of leaders in the birding community, and your gifts help make this possible!

    I know at the end of the year, all of us are deluged with requests for support from many worthy organizations and it can get a bit overwhelming. but I’m excited to make sure YOU know about the wonderful things the ABA is doing for the future of birding and conservation. And not for nothing, this is all thanks to those of you who are members and particularly those of you who have already made generous donations to the ABA’s general fund in the past.

    We all know how important it is to know that the future of birding and bird conservation is in good hands. So often the true movers and shakers in our community are those who got involved first at a young age, and we at the ABA are committed to making sure those young birders have the support necessary to do great things in the world of birding.

    Through the Young Birder of the Year contest we offer young people the opportunity to be mentored by nothing short of the birding world’s brightest lights. In our camps and conferences we offer young birders the opportunity to mix and socialize with others their own age from all over the ABA Area and beyond. I was a young birder myself, and I know what it means to know that you are not alone.

    It’s inspiring to see the community of young birders, and former young birders, who have come out of the ABA’s programs. Many past “graduates” are now leading birders and conservationists in their own right. I hope they inspire you too, enough that you’ll consider making a donation to the ABA’s general fund to help us continue to provide resources for birders, young and old, to better enjoy birding and do more for the birds we care about.

    Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today.

    Thanks and good birding!

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    Nate Swick

    Nate Swick

    Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog. A long-time member of the bird blogosphere, Nate has been writing about birds and birding at The Drinking Bird since 2007, but can also be found writing regularly at 10,000 Birds. In the non-digital world, he's an environmental educator and interpretive naturalist. Nate lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children, who are not yet aware that they are being groomed to be birders.
    Nate Swick

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      my son, 6 years old will be doing a Massachusetts big year in 2014. greatgreyowen.blogspot.com

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