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Press Release

Georgia's Youth Birding Competition Benefiting Birds and Kids

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (2/17/2014)

Registration Opens for Popular Conservation Event

Georgia’s Youth Birding Competition turns 9 this year, and coordinator Tim Keyes is seeing plenty of evidence the event is making an impact for wildlife conservation.

The evidence includes interest in recreating the Youth Birding Competition model in other states.

“We are developing a YBC ‘playbook’ that will hopefully allow others to start similar events in other states,” said Keyes, a wildlife biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. “Richard Crossley, famed New Jersey birder and author of several field guides, is committed to promoting this idea and has recruited help to get it off the ground.”

Keyes also points to early participants in the Georgia event now studying biology in college, and former novices who as veterans are mentoring children in bird watching. Keyes said another participant has volunteered to help a younger team this year. “It’s been incredibly rewarding to watch that,” he said.

The rewards for competitors and organizers continue April 25-26, when the 24-hour statewide birdathon for teams varying in ages from kindergarteners to high school seniors returns. The deadline to register is March 31. Complete details are at www.georgiawildlife.com/youthbirdingcompetition.

The competition and accompanying T-shirt Art Contest are sponsored by DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division, The Environmental Resources Network Inc. or TERN – friends group of the division’s Nongame Conservation Section – and others including the Georgia Ornithological Society and Atlanta Audubon Society. A banquet and awards ceremony will be held April 26 at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center near Mansfield.

Teams register by one of four age divisions and compete against other groups their age. Participants can also volunteer to raise money for conservation organizations.

The Youth Birding Competition is free, fun and geared to youth of all skill levels. Those new to birding can take advantage of mentoring opportunities offered through the competition.

Contestants spotted some 200 bird species and raised more than $1,100 for conservation last year.

The 2014 competition starts at 5 p.m. Friday, April 25, and ends at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 26. Groups may use as much or as little of that time to count as many birds as possible throughout Georgia.

Although teams can start birding anywhere in the state, they must turn in their checklists at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center by 5 p.m. that Saturday. While judges examine and score checklists, participants are treated to a live animal show followed by an awards banquet packed with prizes.

The Youth Birding Competition also includes a T-shirt Art Contest. Deadline to enter is 4 p.m. March 10. Participation in the birding competition is encouraged but not required to enter the T-shirt Art Contest.

There is no charge for either contest, aside from the optional cost of overnight lodging at Charlie Elliott.

Also, teams can share photos and updates on what birds they’re seeing or hearing on Twitter and Instagram. Simply tweet your photos or post them on Instagram with the hashtag #YBC2014. Tag us on Twitter @GeorgiaWild and on Instagram @GeorgiaWildlife.

For more information, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/youthbirdingcompetition or contact Alesia Rast at Charlie Elliott Conference Center, (770) 784-3152 or alesia.rast@dnr.ga.gov. Tim Keyes, at (912) 262-3191 or tim.keyes@dnr.ga.gov, can answer questions about the competition.

For more information on the T-shirt Art Contest, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/YBCTshirtArtContest or contact art contest coordinator Linda May at (706) 557-3226 or linda.may@dnr.ga.gov.

Youth Birding Competition at a Glance

  • What: Free bird-a-thon and fundraiser for youth from kindergarten through high school.
  • When: April 25-26, 2014. 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 26.
  • T-shirt Art Contest: Deadline to enter is 4 p.m. March 10. Details at www.georgiawildlife.org/YBCTshirtArtContest or contact art contest coordinator Linda May at (706) 557-3226 or linda.may@dnr.ga.gov.
  • Registration: Alesia Rast, Charlie Elliott Conference Center, (770) 784-3152 or alesia.rast@dnr.ga.gov
  • Birding competition contact: Tim Keyes, (912) 262-3191 or tim.keyes@dnr.ga.gov
  • Online: www.georgiawildlife.com/youthbirdingcompetition
  • During the competition: Follow updates @ https://twitter.com/GeorgiaWild and http://instagram.com/georgiawildlife.

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