Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New Birding Boot Camp Geared to Teens June 14-19

Teens interested in birds and nature can take part in a week-long, action-packed summer camp held by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources in concert with the Georgia Ornithological Society and the Atlanta, Ogeechee and Coastal Georgia Audubon societies.

The name? Camp TALON, short for Teen Adventures Learning about Ornithology and Nature.

St. Simons Island will serve as base camp as teens and leaders explore the “birdiest” hotspots along the coast. Each trip will involve hands-on projects, such as helping monitor endangered wood storks, surveying marsh birds, and banding songbirds and mourning dove. Leaders will teach young naturalists the basic tools of bird research and monitoring, and help them with field identification skills by sight and sound. From open beaches to live oak hammocks and fresh water wetlands to salt marshes, the group will visit many of the critical bird habitat types found on the Georgia coast.

Field trips will be punctuated by lessons introducing bird biology, ecology and conservation, as well as a broader introduction to coastal ecology. Participants will visit barrier islands that few Georgians get to see. Some of Georgia’s top ornithologists and ecologists will give afternoon and evening presentations.

That’s the overview. Here are the basics:

** When: June 14-19, 2009

** Where: Staying on St. Simons Island; visiting numerous coastal habitats, including Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Fort Stewart, Altamaha Wildlife Management Area and more.

** Whom: Camp TALON is open to teens ages 13-17. Camp capacity: 20.

** Travel: A bus will make stops in Atlanta and Macon the afternoon of June 14 to pick up students. The bus will return them June 19. Participants who cannot make these pickup points will need to find transportation to St. Simons Island.

** Cost: $500.00. Scholarships are available

** To learn more, contact:

Julie Duncan
director, The Outdoor Discovery School
Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center
Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division
543 Elliott Trail
Mansfield, GA 30055
phone: (770) 784-3059
fax: (770) 784-3061

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