CALLING ALL YOUNG BIRDERS!
THE CAMERON BESPOLKA Trust is offering a unique scholarship to the prestigious Young Birders’ Camp at Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, from July 6th to 9th. The Trust (which you can find at cameronbespolka.com) was set up in honour of young naturalist and passionate birdwatcher Cameron Bespolka (pictured below), who died in December 2013, in a tragic accident, and the scholarship will be awarded to one 16-18 year old birder from the UK. This event is a great opportunity for any 16-18 year old who has a passion for birds and wants to find out more about careers that involve them. Participants will be able to birdwatch with skilled birders from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, as well as meet with experienced Lab of Ornithology staff, including ornithological researchers, tour leaders, audio specialists and computer scientists. Interested teenagers can fill out an application form and return it for review by March 17th. A shortlist of three birders will be chosen by early April, with one then selected and notified in April to attend the prestigious and over-subscribed event. The Young Birders’ Event will feature two days of field trips, presentations by Cornell Lab of Ornithology staff including professors, researchers and students, an ebird and field notes workshop, a sound and video recording workshop, a tour of Cornell Lab including the Macaulay Library and Museum of Vertebrates, and dinner with Cornell Lab directors and staff. Amy Hall (right), who attended the Young Birders’ Event last year after being chosen by the Cameron Bespolka Trust, said: “My trip to Cornell in June 2016 was incredible – the people in America were so wonderfully friendly and keen to introduce me to their avifauna. “I learned a lot about American ornithological practices, as well as meeting new people who are all very interested in finding out what birding is like on our side of the pond! We spotted some really cool species, such as Bald Eagle, Upland Sandpiper and Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and visited different birding locations around Cayuga Lake, which was really good fun. “Being chosen for this trip meant a lot to me – I was massively supported by the Cameron Bespolka Trust and the BTO before I left, helping me with the ID of some of the more common species I’d be seeing. The Trust also kept good contact with me throughout my journey to ensure a safe arrival and return. This trip taught me some vital communication skills, and has given me confidence in travelling abroad. I am still in contact with the people I met there, friends which will remain for a long time.”