The community is invited to join the Audubon Center and Sanctuary's educators and their friends and fans to see as many birds as possible on a one-day only birdathon.
Since 2003 the group, which calls itself "The Fledglings," has been doing the birdathon in order to raise an annual scholarship.
On Saturday, May 3, The Fledglings will raise money for the Ryan Exline Memorial Scholarship, awarded each year to a local student heading off to college with an interest in pursuing the natural sciences. In this 12th annual (almost) all-day event, participants try to find as many species of birds as possible. Supporters pledge an amount - either per species or in total - and the end result is a $500 scholarship.
Saturday, May 3, is the date of the annual Birdathon Fledglings Fundraiser sponsored by the education staff of the Audubon Center and Sanctuary and their friends. The event raises money for the Ryan Exline Memorial Scholarship. Exline is pictured in the center back with one of his Summer Day Camp groups — with the bluebird nest box they built and decorated.
The award is named in honor of the young man who was an integral part of the Jamestown Audubon family for many years.
Ryan Paul Exline of Russell, Pa., was 22 when he died on Dec. 17, 2008, from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. The son of James and Robyn (Hemsley) Samuelson, Exline was a graduate of the Pennsylvania Homeschooling program and was a graduate student at Duke University, studying for a conservation degree. While at college he worked part-time in the Duke University Lab.
Because of his maturity and responsibility, Ryan became Audubon's youngest eagle keeper before he was technically old enough to perform such duties. He was the 2004 recipient of this scholarship which he used to attend a herpetology camp in Vermont. On his return, he was instrumental in setting up some of Audubon's herp programs for teens. In 2006, Ryan was a summer intern who led many discovery walks and served as a summer day camp counselor.
The 2014 Fledgling Birdathon will begin at 6 a.m. at Audubon by counting birds at the backyard feeder through the window while charging up on coffee and breakfast foods.
Go birding with The Fledglings. Call Audubon at 569-2345 and leave a message for the education staff.
Solicit pledges for The Fledglings. Download a form by clicking on "Participate in a Birdathon" under "Get Involved" at jamestownaudubon.org.
Pledge or donate to The Fledglings. Pledges and donations can be made by calling 569-2345, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking the "Donate" button on the right at jamestownaudubon.org.
Start a birdathon team. Call Audubon at 569-2345 for more information.
Participants are reminded to dress for the weather, as the event is held rain or shine, and to bring binoculars if available. Audubon will have field guides, but participants are welcome to bring one as well as a water bottle, snacks and lunch.
The Audubon Center and Sanctuary is at 1600 Riverside Road, a quarter-mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren. Center hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily and 1-4:30 p.m. Sundays. The trails, gardens, and Bald Eagle viewing are open dawn to dusk daily.
To learn more, call 569-2345 or visit jamestownaudubon.org.