From Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn writes: Two days from now, tens of millions of people will be storming the stores and decking the malls for the annual shopping explosion of Black Friday. Perhaps you'll be among them, and if so, we wish you the best of success. Perhaps, like us, you'll stay far away from stores on Friday, and take part in Shop Local Saturday at small businesses the next day. But if you're gearing up to shop for holiday gifts, I'd like to make a couple of modest suggestions.
Of course, buying gifts is already challenging enough. It can be tough to find just the right item for that special person. But buying a gift is an act that can have an impact in both directions: not only for the person receiving it, but back along the line for everyone involved in selling and producing that gift. So with some careful thought, not only can we thrill the recipient, we can also make a positive difference in the world in other ways. We can give a gift that will, in effect, give twice.
If you're reading this blog at all, you're probably involved with birding or nature study in some way. And if you are like Kimberly and me, you already think of birders and naturalists as a community, or even as a big, extended family. So here's the suggestion: think about buying holiday gifts in ways that will support the community. The more the birders support each other, the more support there will be for bird conservation and for the future of the natural world.
With that in mind, we're going to write a few blog posts with some specific ideas about things to buy and about where to buy them. The first one involves a fine idea for anyone who like birds, anywhere in North America.
Suggestion 1: Give a gift subscription to BirdWatching Magazine.
This fine magazine (formerly Birder's World) has been a staple of the birding community since the 1980s. Earlier this year, despite heroic efforts by editor Chuck Hagner and his staff, longtime publisher Kalmbach concluded that they would have to cease publication. Last month's issue would have been the last one -except that another experienced publishing company, Madavor Media, decided that BirdWatching was too good to allow it to slip away. Madavor bought the magazine and arranged to keep publishing it without missing an issue. Chuck Hagner and Matt Mendenhall are still editing the magazine. Established contributors like Pete Dunne, Laura Erickson, David Sibley, Julie Craves, and Eldon Greij have stepped up to keep the content flowing, and Brian Small and I are still producing our "ID Tips" columns for each issue.
But now here's my question for you: Will the birding community step up and show our support? Will we show Madavor Media that they made a wise choice? BirdWatching is a fabulous magazine (and not just because I write for it!), and any bird enthusiast on your list would love a year's subscription. You can find all the info you need to subscribe for a friend (or for yourself) at this link.