MBS: Use Your Birder Power, part 2

The current Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp: not only is it one key field mark of a good birder, it can also help to get you a significant discount during the Midwest Birding Symposium.

From Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn writes: This is a continuation of yesterday’s post about how to make the most of your visit to the Midwest Birding Symposium (MBS), in Lakeside, Ohio. But as I’d like to point out, you can take advantage of some of this advice even if you DON’T get to attend the MBS.

Yesterday, I wrote about how you could do yourself (and the birds) a favor by visiting the booth of Birds & Beans – The Good Coffee. Today, here’s another kind of approach:

2. Get Your Stamps On. Everyone who goes birding in Ohio should be a stamp collector to some extent, collecting at least two per year: the “Duck Stamp” and the Legacy Stamp.

This year's Migratory Bird
Hunting and Conservation
The Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, popularly known as the “Duck Stamp,” represents one of the most wildly successful conservation programs in history. Since its inception in 1934, money from Duck Stamp sales has allowed the purchase of nearly six MILLION acres of prime habitat to add to the National Wildlife Refuge system, providing a priceless resource for populations of birds and wildlife of all kinds. Right here in northwest Ohio, most of the land in Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge was paid for with proceeds from Duck Stamp sales! If you have enjoyed birding on the refuge itself, or on any of hundreds of other National Wildlife Refuges, you obviously have benefited directly from this stamp program. But even if you never set foot on a National Wildlife Refuge – which would be a sad thing for you! – you have probably seen birds that were hatched on a refuge, or that made essential migratory stopovers on refuges.

So the Duck Stamp is not just for ducks; it benefits most birds and all birders, and I believe that every birder should buy this stamp every year. At the moment it’s only $15, and 98 cents of every dollar goes straight into buying bird habitat!

The Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp is a newer program, but it holds tremendous promise. Unlike the Federal Duck Stamp, which is based on paintings, the Legacy Stamp features a photograph. In its first year it portrayed a Baltimore Oriole, photographed by Russell Joseph Reynolds; this year’s stamp features an Eastern Amberwing dragonfly, photographed by Sharon Cummings. The photo for next year’s stamp, chosen in a contest just a few days ago, is a Spotted Salamander taken by Nina Harfmann.

The Legacy Stamp costs only $15, and at least $14 of that will go straight into supporting the work of Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources – Division of Wildlife. This Division is a leader among state agencies in paying attention to the whole spectrum of wildlife and plants, not just game species. They publish very popular little field guides to many groups of living things in Ohio – butterflies, reptiles, spiders, owls, and many more – and they have active programs for the conservation of everything from salamanders to Sandhill Cranes. And let’s face it: Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, one of the greatest warbler-watching sites on the planet, is administered by Ohio’s Division of Wildlife! That in itself is a good reason for birders to buy the Legacy Stamp.

So – if you buy these two stamps, what’s in it for you, aside from ensuring that we’ll have birds to watch in the future? Well … at the Midwest Birding Symposium, these stamps are good for MAJOR DISCOUNTS!

That’s right. During the Symposium, September 15-18, 2011, come to the Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) booth at the Symposium vendor hall or to the BSBO Center and Gift Shop at the entrance to Magee Marsh, and show that you have both stamps, and you’ll get a 15 percent discount on purchases!

Come to the booth or the shop and BUY both stamps during the event, and you’ll get a whopping 25 percent discount on your other purchases!

(And, hey – if you already have both stamps for yourself, wouldn’t it be good to buy them as gifts for someone else, and collect that discount?)

For more information on this program, see the Black Swamp Bird Observatory website. 

A point I want to emphasize is that BSBO does not make any profit by selling these stamps. They sell them at cost. Therefore, by offering a discount on other purchases to stamp holders, BSBO is actually losing out on a chance to raise much-needed funds for their organization. Why would they do that? Because everyone at BSBO is passionately dedicated to conservation. The Observatory is putting its money where its mouth is, supporting these conservation programs in a concrete way, and hoping that you will want to do the same.

So come visit Black Swamp Bird Observatory at the vendor hall or at the entrance to Magee, show your stamps with pride, get a great discount on quality items for yourself or for friends, and help us prove that birders really will step up and support bird conservation!


  1. Great post on the importance of buying stamps associated with conservation. Every birder should but these!


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