Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ohio Young Birders Conference 2011

If ever you doubt the abilities of today's youth or think that all our teens are going to heck in a hand basket- let me invite you to join me at next year's Ohio Young Birders Conference. It is the most amazing event, filled with talented- and I don't mean just "talented for kids"- I mean talented youth! Meet Rachael Butek- ABA's Young Birder of the Year and the Keynote speaker of our Ohio event. Rachael kept birding journals, wrote stories, created artwork and did photography for the ABA competition. This young woman is the very definition of an achiever! I predict nothing will get in the way of Rachael's success and we can't wait to see the places she will go.

And speaking of far out places- young Lukas Padegimas, age 18 gave a program on "An Epic Adventure in the Alaskan Arctic." See those tents? See the bear-wire in front of them? Oh yeah, he spent the summer there. WAY out there. It is so humbling to meet these young men and women who are already doing studies on birds and achieving more that I have ever dreamed possible.

About 110 folks came out to enjoy these programs and become amazed at the talented kids we had in our midst. Since Black Swamp Bird Observatory first started the Ohio Young Birders, it has been a pleasure to associate with these young folks. And believe me, I learn so much from them!

Kenn Kaufman gives a bird quiz each year, and here are the kids that rocked it this year. It is pretty incredible for a guy like Kenn to spend time mentoring the birders of tomorrow. Heck, these are the birders of today! And it was a thrill to be there with this dynamic crowd.

A special thanks to Ken Keffer, John Sawvel, Delores Coles, Kenn and Kim Kaufman and the many other people who helped with this event. I can't wait until next year!

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