These are a few of my favorite things....

From Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kim writes: As the Director of Black Swamp Bird Observatory, a fair portion of my job falls into the "slightly less than fun" category. Budgets & spreadsheets, policies & procedures, and so on. But, one part of my job that I really enjoy is "shopping" for cool new bird and nature related items to offer in our gift shop. I've been working with Hugh Rose, our gift shop manager, for months planning our holiday strategy, and we found some neat stuff that I wanted to share.

A bit about my shopping strategy...
One very cool way that I prowl for new stuff is traveling with Kenn. Being on the road with Kenn is more fun than anyone should be allowed to have. I get to meet so many wonderful people, see amazing birds, and spy on other organizations' gift shops. ; )

This fall we were in Cape May, New Jersey for Cape May Bird Observatory's Autumn Weekend. This is a killer event! Absolutely flawlessly organized, (Sheila & Marleen--you rock! Pete had better be showing you the love all the time or I'll steal you away to Ohio!) and filled with the most positive energy that stays with you even after you leave. We always have a blast when we visit Cape May!

Kenn gave a workshop, led field trips, and delivered a keynote on Saturday night. On one of Kenn's field trips, I spent some time talking with this really nice guy about our mutual love of birds and nature. At the end of the trip, he presented me and Kenn with this beautiful carved and painted Cape May Warbler ornament.

"Really Nice Guy"turns out to be Gary Starr, and he owns Starr Decoys in Weybridge, VT. I came back to Ohio and immediately placed an order for our shop. Here are a few of my faves...

The White-throated Sparrow
The bird that sings for me, thanks to Kenn!

And, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird
This has been a hot seller in our shop.

Another product that I really like are these lovely bee's wax luminaries. The Bee Natural Company offers a variety of bee related products, but this is my favorite.

And finally, if you really want to change someone's life this holiday season (or any time, for that matter) consider putting one of these into their hands.

A way to really embrace the spirit of giving is to consider purchasing your nature related books and gifts from a nature center, refuge, or bird observatory. In most cases, 100% of the proceeds from your purchases go straight back into supporting the organization.



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