Focus on Diversity: Changing the Face of American Birding

A conference focused on this important subject will be held Oct. 13 at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington. The objective of the event is to offer more birding, outdoor recreation, and conservation opportunities to a wide an diverse audience. It's hoped that sharing the outdoors with more people will enhance lives and promote a strong conservation ethic.

Who should come? Anyone that cares about birds and the birding community, says the sponsor, the Fledgling Birders Insitute, located in New Jersey. The conference will be ideal for nature centers’ staff, park departments, educators, birding club members, and anyone else from the Midwest region interested in making a difference for bird conservation and fellow citizens.

Conference sponsors explain its purpose this way:

"The revered American melting pot has been stewing for generations. Based on the 2010 census, more than 35 percent of the American populace falls into the "non-White"  categories of Hispanic, African-American, Asian, and Native-American. Yet, these groups  make up significantly less than 10 percent of the birding community. Clearly, birding does not look like the rest of America. This under-representation poses a real threat to the sustainability of the birding community, the birds' habitat, and, ultimately, the birds themselves."

Registration deadline is Sept. 30. For registration details and more information on the conference, visit

The conference logo, below, incorporates birds which represent several of the cultures that make up our American population.

The crane is a traditional symbol throughout China, Korea, Japan and other Asian nations as well as some Native American cultures. The cranes' beauty and spectacular courtships displays have captivated these cultures for centuries.

In addition to being a revered American symbol, the eagle also symbolizes strength in Mexican and Hispanic cultures. Eagles are considered sacred in various Native American cultures.

The goose is from the Akan culture of Ghana, Africa. The Akan term "Sankofa" translates to "go back and take." The associated Adinkra symbol was a goose removing an egg from its back which represents learning from the past and moving into future.




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