6th Annual Ohio Young Birders Conference

Saturday November 3rd and Sunday November 4th was the 6th Annual Ohio Young Birders Conference. In one word it was…AMAZING! This year it was held at the Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm. The place is a gorgeous environmental education center in Dayton, Ohio. This conference is not just for members of the club: anyone can attend. At only ten dollars for students and twenty for adults, it’s also extremely reasonable.

The Birdfreaks who attended this year: Rockford, Illinois parent Birdfreaks Mom and Dad, Ohio Birdfreaks Dakota and Jennie (me) and grandaughters/nieces/cousins Sammie and Allison from Rockford, Illinois.

This Year’s Conference Speakers
Left to Right: Kathleen Seely, Benjamin Van Doren, Hope Batcheller, Jacob Stinnett, Doug Whitman, Dakota Outcalt, Kristina Polk, and Kayla Parry.

This Ohio Young Birders Conference is unique because the young birders are the speakers. They do such a great job every year and other clubs are now looking into having their own conferences with a similar format. The Indiana Young Birders Club is thinking of having their own conference. I cannot wait!

There were field trips, bird banding and Prothonatary Nest Box building. Raptors Inc was there with live birds of prey.

Again this year was a bird ID quiz called The Kaufman Bird ID Quiz. Young birders Trevor Zook, Ethan Rising and Nathan Martineau took turns discussing the birds for the quiz. They did such a great job explaining the birds and how to identify them.

This year’s keynote speaker was Benjamin Van Doren from White Plains, NY. He is a freshman at Cornell University and a former President of the New York State Young Birders Club. His talk on nocturnal migration was spectacular. He included examples of flight calls and time lapse maps on nocturnal and morning movement of birds during migration.

Special guest speaker Hope Batcheller talked about job opportunities for young birders. She is also a student at Cornell. She covered careers, research and how to get started.

The list of OYBC student presenters:
* Kayla Parry – “The Life of a Birdwatcher”
* Kathleen Seeley – “Auk! A Week of Coastal Seabirds in Maine”
* Kristina Polk – “Birding and Conservation”
* Doug Whitman – “Birding Without Birding: The Art of Passive Birding”
* Dakota Outcalt – “How Citizen Science Helps Birds”

The student speakers were inspirational, articulate and overall phenomenal. Their presentations all seemed to tie together: discussing conservation, love of birding and how they are involved in helping birds and encouraging others to do the same.

I couldn’t be more proud of the young birders and can’t wait until next year!!

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