The Bird Education Network (BEN) was created following the February 2007 National Gathering, hosted by CEE. BEN is a new CEE initiative that seeks to connect and support the community of bird education professionals. Over 475 individuals representing 290 organizations receive communications
and engage in professional dialogue through the BEN-run Bird Education Listserv.
A BEN Committee has been established to provide advice and guidance for this important initiative, to advance 'bird conservation through education.' "
|CEE, Flying WILD, and BEN to host second National Gathering: Bird Conservation through Education
The Council for Environmental Education (CEE), Flying WILD, and the Bird Education Network (BEN) invite you to come to Jekyll Island for the second National Gathering: Bird Conservation through Education. The conference will be held from February 22 - 26, 2009 at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel located along the Georgia Coastal Birding Trail. |
The conference is open to anyone with an interest in bird education and conservation efforts, including directors, administrators, and educators from government agencies, conservation organizations, zoos/aquariums, nature centers, Audubon centers, businesses, universities, K-12 schools, NGOs, and non-profit groups.
Throughout the conference there will be a diverse group of guest speakers. Kenn and Kim Kaufman, Audrey Peterman, and Donald and Lillian Stokes have all expressed enthusiasm for our BEN work and have been invited to present at Jekyll Island. An assortment of special topics such as "Engaging Diverse Audiences" and "Encouraging Bird Conservation Behaviors" will be included in program offerings. Participants will have the opportunity to exchange ideas and showcase project results at the Program Marketplace and during the Bird Education Share Fair. Flying WILD City Partners will find a special pre-conference training event designed to enhance local efforts with Flying WILD. Kaytee Avian Foundation has provided a limited number of stipends to make it possible for Flying WILD City Partners to attend this pre-conference offering.
The conference site will provide several opportunities each morning for guided bird walks. Ospreys, Bald Eagles, Clapper Rails, Northern Harriers, Roseate Spoonbills, Red Knots, Black-necked Stilts, White Ibises, and Wood Storks are regularly spotted on the island. Field trip sites may include a visit to a the Jekyll Island bird banding station, a trip to the Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, birding by shrimp boat, and an Altamaha River Delta cruise. For a taste of the South, participants will enjoy a traditional Low Country Seafood Boil.
This is the second National Gathering of professionals involved in bird conservation and education efforts. We anticipate this conference will build upon the success of the first National Gathering.
Lodging rates at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel are $119 for single and $140 for double rooms. Reservations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The closest airports are in Jacksonville, FL, one hour south, and in Savannah, GA, one and a half hours north. Additional details about the National Gathering will be shared in future BEN Bulletins and will be posted to the BEN website later this summer.
BEN Committee Hosts First Meeting
The national headquarters of Wild Bird Centers graciously hosted the first official meeting of the BEN (Bird Education Network) Committee on April 22, 2008 in Glen Echo, MD. BEN Committee members in attendance included Paul Baicich, George Petrides, Laura Warner, Mark Hilliard, and Josetta Hawthorne. Marie Strassberger, Branch Chief for Bird Conservation, Division of Migratory Birds, USFWS joined the BEN Commitee as a guest for part of the meeting.
Topics covered included planning for the 2nd National Gathering of the Bird Education Network at Jekyll Island, Georgia, discusssion of the Draft National Bird Education Strategy, BEN presentations at national meetings, BEN intern assignments, plans for BEN website additions, potential partnerships, and securing funding.
Since the meeting, progress has been made on a variety of fronts. A proposal to Kaytee Avian was successful in securing partial funding for the National Gathering. BEN interns are in place in the CEE office in Houston and hard at work on the Jekyll Island meeting, develioping the National Gathering registration packet, securing silent auction donations, and planning for field trip arrangements. A second draft of the National Strategy has been completed and will be posted to the BEN website this month. The new BEN Bulletin has been implemented with this first issue.
|BEN Committee Member |
Honored by USFWS
George Petrides, Sr., founder and chairman of Wild Bird Centers of America, Inc., and BEN Committee Member, recently received a Citizens Award for Exceptional Service by the Fish and Wildlife Service.
This prestigious award recognizes private citizens and organizations for their significant contributions to the mission and goals of the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Petrides was honored for his assistance in improving the Service's bird watching and conservation programs throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS). In a letter announcing his award, H. Dale Hall, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, thanked Petrides for helping the Fish and Wildlife Service forge new partnerships, for giving generously of his time, talents, and insights to make the refuges more birder-friendly while helping birders to better understand the roles of national wildlife refuges. Hall continued, "Because of Petrides' contribution, the public is more aware of birds and their habitats, and conservation issues that are central to the mission of the Service."
Petrides opened the first Wild Bird Center store in Cabin John, Maryland in 1985, and has subsequently grown the business into a leading franchisor in the birding industry.
Please join us in extending our congratulations to George Petrides! We are proud to have him in our BEN ranks!
For more information on Wild Bird Centers of America, Inc. visit the WBCA website at www.wildbird.com.
| CEE Welcomes New BEN Interns |
This summer, the Council for Environmental Education has been extremely fortunate to have received funding from the ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program, the Shell Non-Profit Internship Program, and the Student Conservation Association to fund four summer interns. Two of our interns will be assisting with the BEN initiative and the Flying WILD program.
Primary responsibilities of our BEN interns will include helping to prepare for the second National Gathering at Jekyll Island, researching and preparing additions for the BEN website, building participation on the BEN Listserv, and developing a new BEN brochure and PowerPoint.
Welcome Hugham Chan, Noelle Crawford, Adam Garmezy, and Michelle Hicks!