By Amy K. Hooper
Amy K. Hooper, WildBird Editor
I’d like to ask a favor. If you see a young birder—say, a teenage girl or boy—attending a bird club’s event or exploring a local patch, please ask if she or he knows about the American Birding Association’s scholarships. Do you know a young birder who teaches others, photographs or draws birds, conducts surveys or volunteers with habitat restoration?
Please spread the word about those scholarships. The funds to attend a workshop, summer camp or convention could be the tipping point that turns a young birder into a passionate conservationist.
ABA offers the scholarships to birders typically 19 years and younger who make notable contributions to birding and birds in their communities and find innovative ways to pay for the balance of the event’s cost. Last year, 13 birders received assistance to attend the ABA Young Birders’ Conference in Fort Collins, Colo., and VENT’s Camp Chiricahua.
Among the attendees at the Fort Collins conference was Erik Enbody, who received the WildBird/Clements scholarship in honor of WildBird Advisory Board member James F. Clements, Ph.D. Erik’s enthusiasm for birds seems to match that of the global traveler who developed Birds of the World: A Checklist and appears in the scientific name of the Iquitos Gnatcatcher (Polioptila clementsi).
Erik’s report about the conference appears on the ABA website (www.americanbirding.org/yb/schol/winners.html), as do reports from other scholarship recipients like Elise Becker, Andy Bankert and Lauren Tompkins. The latter two attended Camp Chiricahua in southeastern Arizona.
This year’s scholarship applicants might want to attend Camp Chiricahua, Camp Tejano in Texas, an Institute for Field Ornithology workshop, a training program or a convention. The application process involves the ABA form, an essay and a letter of recommendation from a teacher or bird club committee member. It seems pretty simple, yes?
Young birders can find all the information and the application form at www.americanbirding.org/yb/schol. They need to send all the materials before April 30, and they’ll receive word after May 1.
Birds need young birders to conserve their habitat. Birds need all of us to encourage young birders. Please spread the word about the scholarships this spring. Thank you!