The founding student members of the OYBC (L-R): Ethan Kistler, Emily Rich, Auriel (Van Der Laar) Fournier, Phil Chaon, Jena Jaskulski, and Brad Wilkinson
How this revolutionary club got its start... It all began in May of 2006 when six young birders met with staff and volunteers from Black Swamp Bird Observatory to discuss forming a club for young people with an interest in birds and nature. What they helped create that day was the Ohio Young Birders Club: a program for youth ages 12-18. Since that fateful day in 2006, Black Swamp Bird Observatory's Ohio Young Birders Club (OYBC) has become a model for youth birding programs around the country. The BSBO staff has assisted in creating similar programs in more than twenty states and 2 other countries. To meet the geographical demand for the program, the OYBC has developed regional chapters to help connect young people with birds and nature - and bring them together with other like-minded young people from around the state and beyond.
THE OYBC TODAY
Sometimes you just gotta go birding!
The Ohio Young Birders Club is a program of Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) designed to encourage, educate, and empower our youth conservation leaders. Each month student members can participate in field trips to exciting places in Ohio. In addition to field trips and outings, members participate in service projects focused on habitat restoration and conservation projects such as building Barn Owl nest boxes and monitoring Bluebird trails.
The most inspiring event in conservation... ANNUAL OHIO YOUNG BIRDERS CONFERENCE
The keystone event for The Ohio Young Birders Club is the annual Ohio Young Birders Conference. The event includes presentations by student members, a keynote address by a regional, national, or international youth conservation leader, and field trip outings. Because the event is such a powerful experience, the conference draws participants from throughout Ohio and many other states. The annual conference provides a venue for our members to present their experiences in a professional conference setting. The preparation and delivery of these presentations gives the youth a sense of pride, and boosts their self-confidence. Public speaking is an important career skill, and this conference is often the first exposure to this critical area of professionalism. Former OYBC members often reflect back on the conference experience as they apply for colleges and for employment. And for all members of the audience, students and adults, watching our youth conservation leaders deliver interesting and informative presentations is tremendously inspiring! This is especially true for the younger kids in the audience, as the conference provides an important and valuable opportunity to be educated and empowered by seeing their peers deliver these dynamic presentations.
**Please note our strictly enforced smoke-free, drug and alcohol-free policy at all Ohio Young Birders Club events and activities. We enforce a strict policy in regard to honorable behavior on every level of the Ohio Young Birders Club, including the language we use around our student members. We are dedicated not only to teaching young people about birds and nature, but teaching them how to live their lives with honor, integrity, and kindness, as well. All adult OYBC advisors and field trip leaders complete an Ohio Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) background check.
GOALS OF THE CLUB •Create a community for young birders throughout Ohio ~ and beyond! •Promote volunteering and contributing through service projects •Foster an interest in natural history and encourage young people to spend more time outside •Introduce young people to career opportunities in the wildlife, research, and conservation fields •Connect young birders with adult mentors willing to share their time, knowledge, and transportation! •HAVING FUN!
CLUB STRUCTURE •Founded in 2006 by the Black Swamp Bird Observatory •A planning committee assisted by an OYBC youth leadership committee •A website dedicated to OYBC members & sponsors •Partnerships with other regional and national organizations •Six OYBC Chapters throughout the state of Ohio to provide a growing number of opportunities!
THE FUTURE IS YOU!
So many wonderful things have happened since that first meeting back in 2006, and we could not have accomplished this without the support of individuals like you. We offer our deepest and most sincere thanks to the parents, partnering organizations, sponsors, and the Ohio birding community for providing us with the support and the necessary resources to make this club a success. We hope that you will consider joining as a member or offering support with a donation to support the OYBC program.
Here's to many more years of Encouraging, Educating, and Empowering our Youth Conservation Leaders!