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    ABA’s Regional Interest Discussion Groups

    The birding scene in North America is primarily state/province based, reflected in the vibrant listserv culture that the birding community has created and nurtured. But stuck as we are in our ruts, we miss opportunities to share information across those lines.

    To use my own home state as an example; birders from all over the east coast come annually to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, but they might not know the inside spots for target birds or the current conditions that make the difference between finding precisely what you’re looking for and driving around aimlessly for hours (we’ve all been there). It would be helpful to be able to reach outside of our listserv communities to pass on intel on those little known birding spots, those bird-friendly restaurants, the people to ask or the guides to use.

    With that in mind, the ABA is trying something new in the way we communicate with each other. We’re piloting a pair of new Facebook groups aimed at building new lines of communication and foster new connections outside of those traditional state/county/metro communities. It’s an experiment to be sure, but one we think will pay dividends. After all, birds have little respect for arbitrary boundaries, there’s no reason why we should be beholden to them either.

    The first two pilot groups are based in the Great Lakes (both sides of the USA/Canada border) and the Mid-Atlantic.

    ABA GLABA MA

    We know that there are some people out there who are not big fans of Facebook. We accept that and understand that hesitations are not entirely unjustified. But those of you who are active users know that although there are some concerns, it’s an effective tool for communicating with people from all over the world. We’re hoping to leverage that into something good for the ABA and the birding community.

    Come join us.

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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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    • DarrellNAhner

      It would be helpful to be able to reach outside of our listserv communities to pass on intel on those little known birding spots, those bird-friendly restaurants, the people to ask or the guides to use. http://snipurl.com/294qxsb

    • John K.

      Why not do this through ABA’s own web servers? I don’t use Facebook and don’t plan to start. I see this as making some of ABA’s services unavailable to some members – those who choose not to use Facebook.

      • Rick Wright

        I see this as making a new ABA service available to a wider audience, not as the withdrawal of a service.

    • Nate Dias

      I this were hosted via Google Groups and not Facebook, I would gladly use it. But it will be a cold day in Hades before I visit Facebook.com so oh well…

      • cestma

        And I won’t do either Facebook or Google Groups (Google is now evil)…

    • KatrinaK

      I think the general idea is a good one, but I think it is a shame that you’ve chosen to exclude so many people by using Facebook.

      • http://blog.aba.org/ Nate Swick

        Love it or hate it, Facebook offers a simple platform to connect with a number of birders. Creating a stand-alone platform would require time and money that are not easily acquired for those purposes.

        I’m sorry if it feels as though birders are being excluded. This isn’t intended to exclude anyone.

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