Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Birders Flock to Jekyll Island Event; Focus of Educators' Conference Is Bird Conservation

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Birders Flock to Jekyll Island Event; Focus of Educators' Conference Is Bird Conservation

Article excerpt

Byline: CAROLE HAWKINS

JEKYLL ISLAND - Sixteen pairs of binoculars focused where Kenn Kaufman was pointing, toward a gull perched atop the highest piling on the Jekyll Island wharf.

"If you look closely, his legs are a greenish black, which is not usual for a herring gull. There must be some kind of sticky mud around here," said Kaufman, a naturalist and author of the "Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America."

Indeed, low-tide mud filled half the channel and surrounded the wharf on Jekyll's marsh side.

By example, Kaufman was showing the other birders the first rule for transforming a bird identification walk into a bird education walk. Appreciate the birds, don't just look at them.

It was a "train the trainers" bird walk, in which educators nationwide swapped ideas on how to get hobbyists and students plugged in to birds.

The "bird ramble" guided by local birder Lydia Thompson was one of a dozen events offered during the Bird Education Network's five-day conference attended by 112 birding educators from across the country, Canada, Puerto Rico and Panama. Georgia's Colonial Coast Birding and Nature Festival draws hundreds of people to Jekyll Island each October.

The aim of the network's national conference is to promote bird conservation by supporting people who teach birding, said Josetta Hawthorne, executive director of the Council for Environmental Education, which sponsors the conference.

"Jekyll Island is a great location for bird viewing. We've already recorded 87 species here," Hawthorne gushed by Tuesday morning, the conference's second day.

By Wednesday afternoon, the list had grown to 183.

Participants saw the birds from kayaks, pontoon boats and on foot walking through salt marshes. Panel discussions and a "Share Fair" got the birders connected to each other.

Sherrene Kevan teaches ornithology at a Canadian university and came to the conference as part of her research for a textbook on introductory ornithology. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.