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Resources Based on Our 5 Priority Bird Conservation Problems
Habitat Loss
The "Insertions" of Modern Life
Insufficient Public Awareness
Insufficient Funding for Birds
Inter-American Concerns
 
Resources Based on Our 6 Key Audiences
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We present here resources that ought to be helpful to bird educators. Some of these are websites; others refer to downloadable publications. Some books are also included but only if they connect bird-related conservation, education, and instruction, meeting the needs of our constituencies. Because these resources are bird-education and bird-educator focused, other bird-related materials readily available elsewhere, such as field guides, wildlife viewing area directories, and similar resources, are not included.

The resources here are organized around 11 categories; the single general category of bird-and-environmental education resources, mostly referring to organizations; the six priority bird conservation issues; and the six audiences outlined in the BEN education strategy.  Because of overlap of categories, some sites and sources may appear here multiple times.

We have not gone through all the resources with a thorough review process. Still, most should be very helpful to bird educators, providing access to organizations and tools to make bird education more accessible, enjoyable, and effective. Some regionally specific resources are included, such as Illinois Birds (a state-based effort through the DNR for third through sixth graders), because core content is easily adaptable to other geographic areas.

Finally, this resource directory is a work in progress. If you are a bird educator who would like to submit resources for posting on this BEN page, resources that might help other bird educators, please do so!  We ask that you submit your suggestion to info@councilforee.org and that you present it in a similar format to the other submissions: the title of the resource, one or two sentences of description, and the link (or links).  Also, let us know where the submission might fit best in the listing categories!  Similarly, if you see something in a posting that needs correction, please let us know.

 

Association for Conservation Information (ACI) is an association of information and education professionals representing state, federal, and Canadian agencies and private conservation organizations. It is predominately, but not only state-oriented, training and informing the staffs of member agencies and provides forums to exchange ideas, new concepts, and to improve skills and craftsmanship:

www.aci-net.org

Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach & Service Programs (ANROSP) is a national organization formed to support the development and maintenance of adult, natural resource education and stewardship programs such as Master Naturalists, Watershed Stewards, and Conservation Stewards. Organized around state-based networks, it aims to provide leadership, information, and resources to support the establishment and expansion of member programs nationally and internationally:

www.nralliance.org

The Bird Conservation Alliance is a network of organizations with a shared interest in the conservation of wild birds. Through the Alliance, millions of birdwatchers and concerned citizens are united with conservation professionals, scientists, and educators to benefit bird conservation efforts. The Alliance's goals are to work together to prevent further bird extinctions, to reverse declines in bird populations, and to assure the protection and management of sufficient habitat to effectively conserve populations of the full range of native, wild bird species for the future. The Alliance serves as a forum for organizations to exchange information and ideas regarding current issues in bird conservation, assists its members in conducting collaborative advocacy, and provides resources to assist its members in their bird conservation work. www.birdconservationalliance.org

Council for Environmental Education (CEE) is an organization providing environmental education programs and services that promote stewardship of the environment and further the capacity of learners to make informed decisions. Among CEE programs are Project WILD, Flying WILD, and the Bird Education Network (BEN):

www.councilforee.org

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology (CLO) is a membership institution whose mission is to interpret and conserve the earth's biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. CLO's programs work with citizen scientists, government and non-government agencies across North America and beyond, predicated on the assumption that bird enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels can and do make a difference:

www.birds.cornell.edu

International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD)) is housed at Environment for the Americas, working to increase awareness of birds and their conservation throughout the Western Hemisphere. The IMBD effort provides the framework and education materials for bird festivals and events, hosting a directory of bird education resources, offering bird workshops for educators, and motivating people of all ages to get outdoors to learn about birds:

www.birdday.org

Also, a wealth of resources for educators and students can be found here:

www.birdday.org/educators.php

and

www.birdday.org/students.php

and a growing list of resources at the associated "Bird IQ" pages here:

http://www.birdiq.com/learn/Resource_Dir/index.php

North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) is a professional association for environmental education. Members promote professional excellence in non-formal organizations, K-12 classrooms, colleges and universities (both instructors and students), government agencies, and corporate settings throughout North America and beyond:

www.naaee.org

North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) is the forum where all the North American bird conservation plans (waterfowl, landbird, shorebird, waterbird, etc.) meet. Its strategy is to foster coordination and collaboration among the bird conservation community on key issues of concern. The NABCI informational website is the best way to access information about multiple plans and approaches:

www.nabci-us.org

National Association for Interpretation (NAI) is professional association for those involved in the interpretation of natural and cultural heritage resources (e.g., parks, zoos, museums, nature centers, aquaria, botanical gardens, and historical sites). In existence for more than 50 years, NAI encourages networking, training, and collaboration among members and partners to inspire leadership and excellence to advance the interpretation profession:

www.interpnet.com

 

   
     

 

This is the gargantuan issue, from north to south and east to west, whether we are confronting the massive conversion or degradation of habitats through actions such as boreal forest through forestry and mining, mountaintop removal, coastal development, forest and grassland fragmentation, intensified agricultural and livestock practices, spreading suburban development, exotic invasive plants, or stress to bottomland and riparian habitat, this is the single most substantial issue to be considered.

Bird Conservation Plans are often the best source summarizing the habitat loss issue for birds. Some address groups of birds having one or more common characteristics, such as waterfowl or Neotropical migratory landbirds, whereas others address conservation needs for individual species, such as Greater Sage-Grouse or Northern Bobwhite. Regardless, habitat issues are the common denominator. They include plans for

   Waterfowl (the North American Waterfowl Management Plan):

            www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/NAWMP

   Landbirds (Partners in Flight):

            www.partnersinflight.org

   Waterbirds (Waterbird Conservation for the Americas):

            www.waterbirdconservation.org

   Shorebirds (U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan)

            www.fws.gov/shorebirdplan

                    (Canadian Shorebird Conservation Plan)

            www.cws-scf.ec.gc.ca/publications/AbstractTemplate.cfm?lang=e&id=318

   Grouse (North American Grouse Management Strategy)

            www.grousepartners.org/pdfs/Plandraft.pdf

            (Greater Sage-grouse Comprehensive Conservation Strategy)

            (www.wafwa.org/pdf/GreaterSage-grouseConservationStrategy2006.pdf)

   Northern Bobwhite (Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative)

            www.qu.org/seqsg/nbci/nbci.cfm

As well as the information covered under the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI):

ww.nabci-us.org

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The "insertions" of modern industrial (and post-industrial) life - These are issues that drift away from, but may overlap with, strict habitat and biological concerns. They are often mortality factors that are associated with the growth of human populations and modern living, and include such elements as glass and related distracting light, greenhouse gasses, communications towers, wind-farms, pesticides, toxic substances, fire suppression, fences, and even longline fisheries. This category is where that “indicator issue” frequently appears, for example, in regard to facing daunting climate-change.

American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has material on “Threats to birds from global climate change.” For a brief overview, see ABC's fact sheet on Global Warming's Impact on Birds. For more detailed information, including scenarios for each U.S. state, read “The Birdwatchers' Guide to Global Warming,” produced by ABC in conjunction with the National Wildlife Federation.

http://www.abcbirds.org/conservationissues/globalwarming/index.html

National Audubon Society (NAS) has material on “Impacts on Birds & Wildlife” on the issue of global warming, including informative and helpful questions & answers:

http://www.audubon.org/globalWarming/ImpactsBirdsWildlife.php

New York City Audubon (a chapter of NAS) has a useful "Bird-Safe Building Guidelines," targeted for architects, landscape designers, engineers, glass technicians, developers, building managers, city, state, and federal officials, and the general public. The document also describes ways to retrofit existing buildings:

http://www.nycaudubon.org/home/BirdSafeBuildingGuidelines.pdf
     
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Insufficient public awareness  - Not enough people know enough (or care enough) about birds - If we know about the habitat and modern-living issues that threaten our birds, we need to make people aware of them to the point of concern or taking action. Insufficient concern is, in itself, a bird conservation problem.

101 Ways to Help Birds is by Laura Erickson (Stackpole Books 2006). The book is a guide for anyone to the contributions to be made toward the survival of birds, from making our windows collision proof to choosing fuel-efficient cars to buying a Duck Stamp. Geared to building upon curiosity in order to transform it to commitment, the book is full of simple steps and packed with information, especially helpful for instructors:

http://www.stackpolebooks.com/cgi-bin/StackpoleBooks.storefront/47a4582f08dd9020273f4200c14c0624/ Product/View/0&2D8117&2D3302&2D5

Birding in the United States: A Demographic and Economic Analysis is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report derived from the 2001 “National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.”  Slightly outdated, it is still an invaluable resource on the broad numbers, demographic breakdown, expenditures, and interest in birds. For our purposes, and in particular, it illustrates the “soft” side (extensive, highly popular, and simply curious) of bird interest and its potential, embracing millions of people:

http://library.fws.gov/nat_survey2001_birding.pdf

Pete Dunne on Bird Watching, authored by the director of the Cape May Bird Observatory, is subtitled “the How-to, Where-to, and When-to of Birding” (Houghton Mifflin 2003). Although there are many excellent introductory books to the pastime of birdwatching, this one goes well-beyond taking the novice by the hand to help make him/her a more skilled birder; it also integrates core conservation elements throughout the text:

http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/catalog/titledetail.cfm?titleNumber=681340

     
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Again, the fact that there is currently not enough funding for birds is, itself, a bird conservation problem. What arises is the need to understand and explain the sources to pay for bird conservation and bird education. The items below outline some sources for funding as well as efforts worthy of bird educators’ support.

The Nature of Learning Grant Program (NLGP) is a cooperative endeavor of  the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) National Wildlife Refuge System and National Conservation Training Center (NCTC), and the National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA). Nature of Learning is the FWS National Wildlife Refuge System’s community-based environmental education initiative, to use refuges as outdoor classrooms to promote a greater understanding of local conservation issues, encourage an interdisciplinary approach to learning, utilize field experiences, and involve local-school partnerships:

http://www.nfwf.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Browse_All_Programs &CONTENTID=4615&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm

Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA) has established a competitive, matching grants program to support public-private partnerships carrying out projects in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean promoting the long-term conservation of Neotropical migratory birds and their habitats. Not only are NMBCA efforts for the protection and management of Neotropical migratory bird populations funded, but community outreach and education efforts are also supported:

http://www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/Grants/NMBCA/index.shtm

Teaming with Wildlife (TWW) is a broad-based effort to secure adequate funding of state wildlife agencies, with goals that include support for state-based conservation, and wildlife-associated education and recreation. A coalition of over 5,000 organizations (in 2008) is supporting TWW, including state fish & wildlife agencies, hunters, anglers, birdwatchers, natural resource professionals, hikers, nature-based businesses, and other conservationists concerned about restoring and conserving our nation's wildlife:

www.teaming.com
     
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This is our non-biological hemispheric burden. These issues include language, culture, mere distance, and economic disparities. These burdens can cobble our effectiveness, as we try to save birds.

Birders' Exchange, a project of the American Birding Association (ABA) aims to assist researchers, educators, and conservationists in Latin America and the Caribbean by providing them the tools to do their work. The program takes new and used field equipment (binoculars, telescopes, backpacks, books, cameras, etc.) and matches it with recipients in the Neotropics:

www.americanbirding.org/bex

Optics for the Tropics was formed to facilitate partnerships between research and conservation groups in the wintering and breeding grounds. This is achieved by providing quality optical equipment in the Caribbean and Latin America where resources are very limited. Equipment is made available to ornithologists and educators working to further bird conservation:

www.opticsforthetropics.org

Shorebird Sister Schools Program (SSSP), now administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, encourages public participation in the conservation of shorebirds and their habitats by connecting students and others along all major United States and East Asian-Australasian flyways, and increasing their awareness and knowledge of local natural resources to inspire community conservation. SSSP involves educators, students, biologists, wildlife refuge managers, planners, and shorebird enthusiasts. Begun as part of Alaska’s Kachemak Bay shorebird festival, SSSP originally sought to build an information-sharing network among schools located along the Pacific Flyway. The web site is in English and Spanish (as well as in Japanese and Russian). The educator’s guide is also available in those languages, plus Portuguese:

http://66.241.214.202/
     
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Concentrating on schoolchildren K-12, but also on the skill-building for teacher-providers.

   

Bird Resources For Elementary School Teachers Bibliography is a California Academy of Sciences Library web site contains numerous links to other web sites featuring bird education materials, and a composite listing of Activity Books and Curriculum Guides, Children’s’ Books, videos:

http://research.calacademy.org/research/library/biodiv/biblio/birdcur-update.htm

Fledgling Birders Program is a project of National Biodiversity Parks (NBP).  The intent is to inspire new young birders. Based on state-of-the-art educational methods, the young birders are given practical strategies for sharing a bird interest with others.  Bird-centric projects of various curricular focus and grade levels are also being developed for use in classrooms:

 www.fledgingbirders.org

FlyingWILD, a project of Council for Environmental Education (CEE), introduces students to bird conservation through standards-based classroom activities and environmental stewardship projects.  Flying WILD encourages schools to work closely with conservation organizations, community groups, and businesses involved with birds to implement school bird festivals and bird conservation projects:

www.flyingwild.org

Illinois Birds is an Illinois Department of Natural Resources effort to introduce children in third through sixth grade to the state's wealth of natural resources through the schools while helping teachers  meet established Illinois State Goals for Learning, not only in biological and physical sciences, but also in fine arts, language arts, social sciences and mathematics. Much of the material is generic and easily adaptable to other geographic locations:

http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/education/CLASSRM/birds/index.htm

Jakes (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) is an effort of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) as is Extreme Jakes (the first is for youngsters 12 and under, the second for ages 13 to 17).  The program provides opportunities for youth to explore their outdoor world through enjoyable and skill-building events, including special Conservation Field Days:

www.nwtf.org/jakes

Leopold Education Project (LEP) is an effort by Pheasants Forever (PF) based on the writings of conservationist Aldo Leopold. The LEP curriculum aligns with Leopold's essays as a springboard for observing, respecting, and saving the natural world. The LEP curriculum Lessons in a Land Ethic "fosters a positive relationship between our younger generations and the soil, water, plants and animals":

www.pheasantsforever.org/page/1/lep.jsp

National Aviary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, provides an online web curriculum targeting upper elementary to middle school children, and is intended for use by teachers, home-schoolers, and others. The curriculum, which meets U.S. Department of Education Content Standards and Benchmarks in science, environmental education, and math, is topically based on frequently asked questions by visitors to the aviary:

http://www.aviary.org/~aviary/curric/teachers/t_curric.htm

Project Webfoot, a wetlands education program geared toward children and for formal and non-formal educators, is a partnership endeavor between Ducks Unlimited (DU) and Project WET. The mission is to promote responsible wetland stewardship through excellent and effective conservation education through training, materials, and workshops:

www.ducks.org/projectWebfoot/

Shorebird Sister Schools Program (SSSP), now administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, encourages public participation in the conservation of shorebirds and their habitats by connecting students and others along all major United States and East Asian-Australasian flyways, and increasing their awareness and knowledge of local natural resources to inspire community conservation. SSSP includes educators, students, biologists, wildlife refuge managers, planners, and shorebird enthusiasts, and is used by thousands of people each month, especially during peak migration. A supplemental education program begun as part of Alaska’s Kachemak Bay shorebird festival, SSSP originally sought to build an information-sharing network among schools located along the Pacific Flyway.  The web site is in English, Spanish, Japanese, and Russian. The educator’s guide is presently available in English, Spanish, Japanese, Russian, and Portuguese:

http://66.241.214.202/

Urban Bird Sounds Project was wWritten and narrated by high school students from Codman Academy Charter Public School, in Boston, MA. The website features descriptions of birds, recordings of their songs and calls, tips for remembering them, and short quizzes to test your skills. To learn more, download the CD, see photos, try the quizzes, or find teaching materials, please visit-

www.urbanbirdsounds.org

     
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Adults, concentrating on those born between 1946 and 1964.

   

Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach & Service Programs (ANROSP), a national organization supporting the development and maintenance of Master Naturalists, Watershed Stewards, and Conservation Stewards, is not limited to adults, but regularly has adult emphasis. ANROSP is organized around state-based networks to support the establishment and expansion of member programs nationally and internationally:

www.nralliance.org
     
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Communities of diversity which are under-served yet growing in importance across the U.S.

   

Black and Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places, by Dudley Edmundson looks into the lives of over 20 African-Americans with deep connections to nature, conveys their personal experiences, how they came to value nature, and why African-Americans seem under-represented in our parks and conservation efforts.

secure.watchablewildlife.org/tek9.asp?pg=products&specific=jnqpdrc0

Guia de campo a las aves norteamerica by Kenn Kaufman is a creative Spanish-language translation of his "Focus" guide to North American birds. This book is an exception to our exclusion of field guides in the Resource section, insofar as it presents a unique effort to attract interest in birds, leading to bird conservation, and concentrating on a Latino audience. With this population in the U.S. becoming such a large, growing, and dynamic part of American life, the creation of a bird field guide in a language that this community is most comfortable with - Spanish - is the logical consequence: www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/catalog/titledetail.cfm?titleNumber=689605

Principios en la observacion de aves is a fine introduction to birdwatching basics originally written by Jim Cox (with revisions by Alex Kropp) and made available by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. It covers the essentials, including equipment, optics, field-guide use, field-guide organization, bird ID, habitat, voice, etc. 
http://myfwc.com/gfbt/bwb-spanish.pdf


You can also find an on-line English version - for translation or teacher-preparation purposes - here:
http://myfwc.com/gfbt/Birdbasics.htm

     
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From the curious (including the 40+ million feeder-watchers) to the avid (including bird-club and state ornithological society members and listers).

   

Audubon's Guide for a Healthy Yard and Beyond is a short guide from the National Audubon Society, adapted from Joel Bourne's original guide with design and illustrations by Jan McCraken. The guide shows how backyeard birdwatchers can use more native plants and fewer pesticides. It also features "10 Commandments for a Healthy Yard":

www.audubon.org/bird/pdf/pesticideguide.pdf

Bird Observatories across the U.S. and Canada provide locally-connected bird study, citizen science, and community relations. Each has different intensities of bird-education to meet local needs and objectives. You can access each of the dozens of bird observatories through this single web page:

www.pwrc.usgs.gov/BBL/manual/birdobs.htm

Institute for Field Ornithology (IFO) is run by the American Birding Association (ABA) to teach birders about birds in their natural habitat through workshops in the United States and elsewhere in the western hemisphere. Workshops provide a comprehensive look at bird biology, including life history, ecology, behavior, and field identification:

www.americanbirding.org/ifo

National Audubon Society (NAS) through its national network and local chapters holds innumerable bird-and-environmental-education workshops and programs throughout the year. Education efforts (including Audubon Adventures After School and Audubon Ecology Camps and Workshops) can be accessed here:

www.audubon.org/educate

Contacting state and local chapters is made easy through this page:

www.audubon.org/states

State and Provincial Ornithological Societies engage in bird education at different levels and for different projects. Each organization has its own priorities, depending on the mission of the organization and the officers involved. You can access the major state and provincial ornithological organizations through this single web page:

www.nmnh.si.edu/BIRDNET/ornith/state.html
     
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The organized mainstay of 20th century conservation, hunter-conservationists came to their position early and they continue to be vital to bird-and-habitat conservation.

   

Jakes (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) is an effort of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) as is Extreme Jakes (the first is for youngsters 12 and under, the second for ages 13 to 17).  The programs provide opportunities for pre-teens and teens to explore their outdoor world through enjoyable and skill-building events, including special Conservation Field Days:

www.nwtf.org/jakes

Leopold Education Project (LEP) is an effort run by Pheasants Forever (PF), based on the writings of conservationist, Aldo Leopold. The LEP curriculum aligns with Leopold's essays as a springboard for observing, respecting, and saving the natural world. LEP has developed a curriculum (Lessons in a Land Ethic) that "fosters a positive relationship between our younger generations and the soil, water, plants and animals":

www.pheasantsforever.org/page/1/lep.jsp

Project Webfoot, a wetlands education program geared toward children and for formal and non-formal educators, is a partnership endeavor between Ducks Unlimited (DU) and Project WET. The mission is to promote responsible wetland stewardship through excellent and effective conservation education through training, materials, and workshops:

www.ducks.org/projectWebfoot/
     
     
 

Critical landowners, individual and corporate, who oversee about 1.4 billion acres in the U.S., particularly those properties that are cropland and rangeland. There are many resources in this area, and we present only a few here.

     
   

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), originally called the Soil Conservation Service, has provided essential guidance since the 1930s to help America's private land owners and managers conserve their soil, water, and other natural resources. Part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the NRCS manages natural resource conservation programs that provide environmental, societal, financial, and technical benefits. Educational publications and videos are accessed through the NRCS homepage:
http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/

The Farm Bill is a crucial driver in such USDA efforts in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the Wetland Reserve Program (WRP).  Beyond the NRCS connections, you can find material on the Farm Bill here:
http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/farmbill2008?navid=FARMBILL2008

The Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program (US Fish & Wildlife Service) provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners willing to work on a voluntary basis to help meet the habitat needs of our Federal Trust Species, including migratory birds. For links to Partners information, see:
http://www.fws.gov/partners/

The Wildlife Habitat Council is an organization of corporations, businesses, conservation organizations, and individuals working to restore and enhance wildlife habitat. The projects emphasize large landowners, particularly corporations, in managing their unused lands in an appropriate manner for the benefit of wildlife. Their publications can be accessed here:
http://www.wildlifehc.org/publications/index.cfm

Many organizations, such as bird observatories, commodity groups, and conservation organizations promote wildlife-friendly and bird-friendly land ownership. They produce numerous publications and resources for conscientious stewardship. These range from guides to prairie (e.g., shortgrass) bird management, vineyards, winter wheat, rice, etc.  Some examples can be found below:

Vineyards and Birds (PRBO Conservation Science)
http://www.prbo.org

Rice and Waterfowl (Ducks Unlimited)
http://www.ducks.org/Page2892.aspx

Shortgrass Prairie, Cattle Ranches, and Birds (Sutton Avian Research Center)
http://www.suttoncenter.org/espb.html

Shortgrass Prairie, Cattle Ranches, and Birds (Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory)
http://www.rmbo.org/education/materials.html

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