It takes a large group of folks to make the Birdathon the success it has been for more than 30 years. This includes our teams, enthusiastic volunteers and, of course, those who are willing to sponsor a team or individual or just make a general pledge to the Birdathon. Thanks to all of these efforts, $24,320 was raised this year. We were able to fund all of the grant requests serving to fulfill our mission to promote the stewardship and enjoyment of the birds of central Indiana.
Donors enabled us to support a creative initiative in Guatemala with our esteemed partner, the American Bird Conservancy. The funds were used to purchase a 265-acre parcel known as Guyatan to showcase a demonstration farm. It is one of six BioCenters serving as a training ground for local farmers showing them how to grow sustainable crops while preserving the forest canopy — a win, win for the birds and the farmers.
Closer to home, the Indiana Forest Alliance is conducting an urban forest inventory to identify the remaining high-quality forests in Marion County to evaluate their use as migratory bird stopover habitat. Two local habitat restoration projects are being conducted by Keep Indianapolis Beautiful and the Marian University EcoLab to enhance their benefit to our central Indiana birds. Two other projects are focusing on community education. The International Crane Foundation seeks to inspire Indiana citizens to promote the protection of the federally endangered Whooping Crane as they migrate through Indiana. The Indiana Audubon Society is hosting a festival for the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Software will be purchased by the Indiana Raptor Center enhancing its ability to care for injured raptors.
Thirteen teams participated in a Big Day event this year. The top three fundraisers were the Bud & Carl’s Legacy team, the Noddy Little Gulls and our cycling Carbon Neutral team. The Horned Grebes retained their bragging rights for the second year in a row as species count champs with a tally of 179. All of the teams declared they had a blast and can’t wait to go out again next year.