Tim Keyes hope for the 2011 Youth Birding Competition is more birds and more birders.
“We always like to see the (bird) numbers increase, but hopefully participants will continue to increase,” as well, said Keyes, a Georgia Wildlife Resources Division biologist who coordinates the competition.
Bird and youth totals have been on the rise since the Wildlife Resources Division joined with The Environmental Resources Network Inc. and other partners to begin the 24-hour birdathon about six years ago. Greater participation fits the event’s long-term focus of cultivating a deep interest in wildlife and conservation.
Teams totaling more than 130 birders ages 6-18 and ranging from first-timers to veterans reported an amazing 184 bird species last year. There are about 200 bird species in Georgia during mid-spring.
The 2011 competition is April 16-17, with a Sunday evening banquet and awards ceremony at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center near Mansfield. Teams can register in age divisions varying from kindergarten to high school (participants compete against other teams their age, in four age divisions). Fundraising is a voluntary component. Teams can raise money to support their chosen organization on a per-bird or lump sum basis.
The deadline to register is March 31.
The sixth annual competition includes a T-shirt Art Contest – enter by March 1 – and nature journal category, two areas in which Keyes and T-shirt Art Contest coordinator Linda May also welcome more entries. “There are so many different ways to appreciate birds other than just counting them,” Keyes said.
Participation in the birding competition is encouraged but not required to submit artwork for the T-shirt Art Contest.
All of the events are free.
The Youth Birding Competition is based on the World Series of Birding event in Cape May, N.J., and sponsored by the Wildlife Resources Division and T.E.R.N., the friends group of the division’s Nongame Conservation Section.
The competition starts at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 16, and ends at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 17. Groups can use as much or as little of that time to count as many birds as possible throughout Georgia. Although teams may start birding anywhere in the state, they must arrive at the “finish line” at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center by 5 p.m. Sunday.
The Youth Birding Competition T-shirt Art Contest was started in 2008. It is open to Georgia residents in pre-K through high school. The grand-prize winner will receive a $100 Michaels gift card and their artwork will be featured on the 2011 Youth Birding Competition T-shirt. Other participants may win $50 Michaels gift cards.
For more information about registering for the Youth Birding Competition, go to www.georgiawildlife.com/node/951, or contact Lacy Mitchell at Charlie Elliott Conference Center, (770) 784-3152 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tim Keyes, at (912) 262-3191 or email@example.com, can answer questions about the competition.
2011 Youth Birding Competition at a Glance
- What: Free bird-a-thon and fundraiser for youth from kindergarten through high school.
- When: April 16-17. Registration is open. Deadline to enter: March 31.
- Where: Teams can bird anywhere in the state, but must arrive at the finish line at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield by 5 p.m. April 17.
- T-shirt Art Contest: Deadline to enter is March 1. Details at www.georgiawildlife.com/node/950 or contact Linda May at (770) 918- 6792 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Registration: Lacy Mitchell, Charlie Elliott Conference Center, (770) 784-3152 or email@example.com
- Competition contact: Tim Keyes, (912) 262-3191 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Online: www.georgiawildlife.com/node/951