Mass Audubon’s Annual Bird-a-thon: Where the Wild Things Are
Mass Audubon’s Annual Bird-a-thon Blends Birding Fun and Funds: May 14th-15th, 2010
On May 14th and 15th go where the wild things are with Mass Audubon’s Bird-a-thon. This fun annual event, for people of all abilities and ages, offers birders and nature enthusiasts the opportunity to participate in friendly competition while raising funds for Mass Audubon’s wildlife sanctuaries and programs. In fact, the Bird-a-thon pledges that you earn through your birding, or collect from donors, directly benefit birds. So, flock together with your family, friends, and neighbors to create a team, or make a pledge to help Mass Audubon protect the nature of Massachusetts.
Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries in Western Mass include:
- Arcadia in Easthampton
- Canoe Meadows in Pittsfield
- Graves Farm in Williamsburg
- High Ledges in Shelburne
- Lime Kiln Farm in Sheffield
- Lynes in Westhampton
- Pleasant Valley in Lenox
- Road’s End in Worthington
The statewide Bird-a-thon, now in its 27th year, has grown to 25 teams and nearly 700 staff and volunteers who help raise thousands of dollars to benefit Mass Audubon’s efforts to protect wildlife. The 24-hour competition starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 14, and runs through 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 15. But you don’t have to participate the entire time—rotating shifts among teammates is encouraged! The 24-hour timetable allows flexibility in schedules and the chance to locate nocturnal birds.
Mass Audubon will award numerous participant prizes. This year’s Top Individual Fundraiser award is an original hand-colored stone lithograph generously donated by noted artist Gordon Morrison, illustrator for The Birdwatcher’s Companion to North American Birdlife, and whose work has frequently graced the pages of Sanctuary magazine. And this year, they’re introducing the High Flyers prize: Each person who raises $500 will receive an invitation to attend one of two birding outings with Mass Audubon President Laura Johnson and a star birder; High Flyer honorees will be listed on Mass Audubon’s website. Any team member or Virtual Birder who raises a minimum of $75, or obtains 10 sponsor pledges, will receive a Mass Audubon Bird-a-thon T-shirt.
Even if you can’t join a team, you can still participate by pledging money to a team member for each bird species recorded during the 24-hour event. If 20 people collected 10 pledges, each at 10 cents a species, and if the sanctuary sees 200 species, the sanctuary raises $4,000—to help protect wildlife right in your neighborhood. Or if you prefer, make a donation in any amount. To join a team, make a pledge or donation, see a list of prizes, or get more information, visit www.massaudubon.org/birdathon. To become a Virtual Birder (open to any one) and compete for the High Flyer prize, create a fundraising page at www.firstgiving.com/massaudubon.
Mass Audubon works to protect the nature of Massachusetts for people and wildlife. Together with more than 100,000 members, they care for 34,000 acres of conservation land, provide educational programs for 225,000 children and adults annually, and advocate for sound environmental policies at local, state, and federal levels. Mass Audubon’s mission and actions have expanded since their beginning in 1896 when their founders set out to stop the slaughter of birds for use on women’s fashions. Today they are the largest conservation organization in New England. Their statewide network of wildlife sanctuaries, in 90 Massachusetts communities, welcomes visitors of all ages and serves as the base for their work. To support these important efforts, call 800-AUDUBON (283-8266) or visit www.massaudubon.org.