In late January, the ABA Board of Directors selected five individuals to receive ABA Awards in 2014. These exceptional members of the birding community deserve the admiration and thanks of ABA members and birders everywhere.
Winner of the Roger Tory Peterson Award for “a lifetime of achievements in promoting the cause of birding” is Laura Erickson of Duluth, Minnesota. Laura has for many years reached out to non-birders to encourage their interest in birds and birding through the publication of numerous popular books accessible to the average citizen, a radio program that has run without stop since 1986, and a regular column in BirdWatching magazine. Laura is also a contributor to the ABA Blog.
Allan Keith of Chilmark, Massachusetts, is the 2014 winner of the Claudia Wilds Award. The award, named for a former ABA Secretary and shorebird expert, is given for “distinguished service to the ABA.” Allan was twice President of the ABA – from 1989-93 and from 1997-99 — and served earlier as a Board member and ABA Treasurer. In all these capacities, his investment and business savvy was of immense benefit to ABA at a difficult time in the association’s history.
Kenneth Brock of Chesterton, Indiana, and Tom Kent of Iowa City, Iowa, are the two winners of the Ludlow Griscom Award for 2014.The Griscom Award recognizes “individuals who have dramatically advanced the state of ornithological knowledge for a particular region”, and both Brock and Kent have made substantial contributions in their respective regions – Brock in Indiana and Kent in Iowa.
Kenneth Brock published the “gold standard” work on the birds of Indiana, and his extensive field experience in the part of the state near Lake Michigan called the Indiana Dunes has resulted in that location becoming a favored hot spot for birders. Tom Kent has for over 60 years contributed extensively to the literature about birds in Iowa and served for 26 years on the Iowa Records Committee, including 17 years as its chair. His nominator said that his contributions to Iowa ornithology are “unsurpassed in both quantity and quality. “
Winner of the 2014 Chandler Robbins Award for “significant contributions to birder education and/or bird conservation” is Andrew Kinslow of Fordland, Missouri. Andrew is a co-founder and principal educator of the Green Leadership Academy for Diverse Ecosystems (GLADE) , a nationally recognized youth conservation leadership program in which nature oriented high school students participate in a one-week residential course emphasizing ecology, leadership skills, and avian habitat restoration. He is also a MAPS bird bander, and involves students with his field work on neotropical migrants and Northern Saw-whet owls.
The ABA Board is also proud to establish an entirely new award in the name of former ABA staffer Betty Petersen, who created and sustained the Birders’ Exchange program. This new award, to be named the Betty Petersen Award for Conservation and Community, will recognize those who, like Betty, expand, diversify and strengthen the birding community, or who work – perhaps behind the scenes – to build a support network for conservation. The focus of this new award is less on ornithology, per se, and more on the effective application of skills that support and connect people.
The first recipient, made posthumously, will be Betty Petersen herself.
Thanks to those ABA members who took the time to nominate such worthy recipients for these prestigious awards. It is truly an honor to share a community with each of them.
If you know of someone in the birding community who you think is worthy of recognition for 2015, please submit your nominations here.
Chair, ABA Awards Committee.
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