Friday, January 18, 2013

Minnesota Young Birders Club

Posted by Kirk Mona
I've been working behind the scenes for a while now on a new project and it is time to bring it out into the daylight.

There is a growing trend across the country to set up young birder clubs. This time last year there were fifteen states with young birder clubs. As of yesterday there are twenty one states with clubs and more are forming. Earlier this month the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory had grouped up to form the Young Birders Network.

Each state club is unique. The Minnesota Young Birder Club connects youth to other young birders in the state via monthly field days, workshops, and social media. The goal is to provide a challenging environment where youth can learn about birds, conservation and science while socializing with friends.

Skills: Through hands on workshops youth can learn about how to identify, attract and help birds. They develop skills with the latest gear and learn how and where to find birds in the field.

Conservation: By taking part in conservation projects youth can help improve habitat for birds in Minnesota.

Science: Youth get trained on citizen science programs such as e-bird, project feeder watch, project nest watch and more. They not only learn how scientists collect data but they actually take part in and contribute to real scientific research.

Community: Though the club, youth interact with peers in friendly competitions, challenges and learning experiences. They share their photos, observations and stories online. Members interact via a private invitation-only Facebook group. Youth members can post photos or questions while keeping up on what's happening in the group.

The Minnesota club is open to youth ages 13-18 from Minnesota and Western Wisconsin.

Official meet-ups and field trips are held monthly. There are workshops, field days and a week-long summer camp.

Field sessions take place across the metro while workshop are usually held at the Lee & Rose Warner Nature Center located in Marine on St. Croix. The club provides free transportation from the Science Museum of Minnesota for the first 13 registrants for each field trip (but not workshops).

You can help!

Right now we need two things. Youth who want to participate and adults who want to sponsor the future of birding in Minnesota. 

Youth members pay just $20 per year and can then attend as many events as they wish for no charge. The week-long summer camp is an additional fee. Once they join they receive a new member packet with information on events and how to access our Facebook group.

Youth Member Application

Adults are encouraged to become club sponsors. Adult sponsors help underwrite the cost of the club for our youth members and make our education programs possible.

Adult Sponsor Application

If you have any questions about the club contact Outreach Coordinator Kirk Mona at kmona@smm.org.

4 comments:

Tony said...

Please check the links for the applications, I'm getting page-not-found messages.

Jeffrey Willius said...

This is a fabulous idea, Kirk! I'm a big fan of any way to help get kids off the screen and into the scene.
I hope you'll be thinking of ways to bring in some inner city kids who otherwise might not have any clue what a connection with Nature is.
Thanks!

Penelopedia said...

Thanks for your work on this important effort, Kirk! It sounds great.

Kirk Mona said...

Tony: The links are working for me. They were broken initially but I changed the address a few days ago. Are they still broken for you? They worked for me a few moments ago.