Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Days Are Just Packed

American Oystercatchers on the beach at Jekyll Island, Georgia

From Jekyll Island, Georgia, Kenn and Kim write: Okay, we admit, we stole that title from an old Calvin and Hobbes collection. But it totally applies to our current situation. Ever since we arrived at the Bird Education Network conference on Sunday -- or, actually, ever since we left home to go judge the Ohio Wetlands Conservation Stamp contest early Saturday morning -- we’ve hardly had time to blink, let alone attend to luxuries like blogging or sleeping.

By a most amazing coincidence, on our early morning flight out of Columbus on Sunday, we wound up sitting right next to our dear friend (and wonderful artist / author / blogger) Julie Zickefoose. She was headed to Honduras, we to Georgia, and fortunate fate put us not only on the same flight but even in the same seat row. We talked about birds and families and writing and music, and never has a three-hour plane flight passed so quickly. Here at the conference we managed to sit down and have dinner with another respected leader of the bird blog community, John Riutta of Born Again Bird Watcher. But most of our time here has been a whirlwind of activity.

We gave a keynote talk together at the opening of the conference ("Working Toward a Bird-Literate Society"), we co-led two lengthy field sessions and a short morning field trip together, and each of us spoke independently at other indoor sessions (Kim on promoting birding activities for teenagers, Kenn on birders and the National Wildlife Refuge System). But there have been many other speakers and we’ve had conversations with dozens of dynamic leaders in the whole field of educating students, and the public, about birds and bird conservation. The amount of energy here is amazing, the networking that’s going on here is phenomenal, and the results of this conference should have wide-ranging positive effects all over North America and beyond. After we get all our notes sorted out, we'll have a huge selection of new ideas to try out in our own work.

And eventually, maybe, we’ll get caught up on sleep!


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  2. The pleasure was mine!! All plane rides should have Chinese dumplings and inappropriate snorts of laughter.

  3. Hi Lester~

    The Conference was so wonderful. Great to mix and mingle thoughts and ideas with some of the top bird educators in the country.

    In terms of making it sound too much like work---I see how it could be interpreted that way. But, I have to tell you that, while all of the things Kenn and I do are absolutely worthwhile and meaningful, more and more, in my head I'm hearing something my dad always used to say, "You can go broke on good deals."

    When your life revolves around doing everything possible to open people's eyes to the beauty that birds and nature can bring to their lives, you put your heart and soul into everything that you're doing. It can be the most inspiring and moving experience anyone could hope for! But it can also leave you feeling totally bone-dry and exhausted.

    No complaints. Just the reality of it. I wouldn't trade my life for anything!!

    Thanks for all that you do to teach and inspire your children, and so many others, about birds and nature.

  4. Julie~

    I got two words for ya....

    How wonderful you were to share your treasures with us! My mouth is still watering.

    Looking forward to reading about your adventures!