Green Birding Challenge 2013: A Huge Success!

Written by Jennifer Callaghan
    Tuesday, 21 May 2013
Green Birding Challenge 2013: A Huge Success!

The Green Birding Challenge is a friendly birding event to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day (IMDB) and raise money for Community Science programming at the Urban Ecology Center. We had 12 teams compete in four categories (walking, sitting, biking, and a mini-challenge). Teams recorded 112 species of birds and raised over $4800. This year, 10 Young Scientists from Washington and Riverside Park participated in the mini-challenge! Winners received trophies and experiential trips (canoe trip, hawk-watching trip, etc.) and the team with the fewest birds found received a free trip with the research team to work on bird identification skills.

GBC InfoGraphic2013

The Green Birding Challenge is my favorite Urban Ecology Center program for so many reasons. Here are a few:

  • Riling up the Young Scientists and creating a friendly rivalry to get them excited to beat the "bird experts".
  • Sharing my bird geekery with "non-experts" and finding them new "life-birds".
  • Reveling in the magnificent bird song which returns for a few short months and teaching teammates a new bird song or two.
  • Seeing everyone's early morning pre-challenge faces and then their post-challenge smiles.
  • Passing competing teams in the field and playfully taunting them about the species they have yet to find.
  • Lamenting when the weather starts to turn bad and rejoicing when the sun breaks through the clouds for a beautiful half hour.
  • Anticipating finding a new species and trying to determine the best place to find others.
  • Anxiously waiting for the final tally of the teams' species counts.
  • Seeing the satisfaction when a participant takes home a bird-themed door prize.

I appreciate all of the friends and family that support our abnormal obsession with birds. Thanks so much to our volunteers willing to wake up at 5 AM and follow us around with cameras, food, spreadsheets, etc. It was gratifying to see the mix of ages, cultural backgrounds, and skill levels that came together early on a Saturday morning in support of the Research and Community Science Department. I am thankful for the money the participants helped us raise for community science and the fun they were willing to share. Three cheers for the wonderful group of people that helped to make our 3rd Annual Green Birding Challenge the best ever!

Jennifer Callaghan

Jennifer Callaghan

Jennifer came to Wisconsin later in life, but has fully embraced the great state of Wisconsin as home. Her first career was as a professional ballet dancer, but a lifelong passion for nature and animals led her to a second career in environmental biology. She loves to learn new things and share her love of nature with others. In her free time she likes to travel and stay active with her awesome husband and sweet little dogs.


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