Birder's Guide

MAY 2015

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 23 of 35

Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community | May 2015 22 y love for birds emerged in the Kansas prairie during my childhood. I remember sitting in a duck blind in the middle of the great Central Flyway watching an endless stream of waterfowl passing overhead, extending to all horizons. I was a watcher, and the majesty of the incredible spectacle un- folding before me touched me deeply. There was an underlying simplicity and peace that governed the complex winged movement of the mass migration. This an- cient dance and accompanying song trans- ported me from a distant watcher to the center of this dynamic realm, serving, in time, to empower my own fedgling wings. It was there and then that my passion for nature emerged. Passion for the natural world is the sub- lime elixir for which we conservationists search. When released in a timely manner, as it was for me on the Kansas prairie, it leaves an indelible mark. It communicates meaning and purpose to everyday experi- ences, and it gently implores the individuals experiencing it to share their love of nature with others. This passion provides both a beginning and an end point in this explora- tion of GLADE, the Green Leadership Acad- emy for Diverse Ecosystems. The GLADE project began in the Mis- souri Ozarks in 2009 when the Greater Ozarks Audubon Society (GOAS) was awarded an innovation grant from the Audubon/Toyota TogetherGreen program. At that time, GOAS and the Missouri State University (MSU) Biology Department de- signed the teen conservation leadership academy to inspire the next generation of conservation leaders. GLADE selects 16 tal- ented young people each summer. It blends leadership training, habitat restoration, and ecology-based curriculum into an innova- tive model of conservation education, en- vironmental stewardship, and community GLADE: Inspiring a New Generation M For many GLADE participants, holding a Neotropical migrant such as this Black-and-white Warbler is life-changing. Photo © Kelsey Rumley Ozarks youths engage in hard work with a purpose at GLADE. Transplanting native cane restores the original habitat of many Neotropical bird species, including Swainson's Warbler. Each year, nearly two acres is converted into riparian canebrake via the efforts of regional teens. Photo © Kelsey Rumley

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