I’ve been on a bit of a photography binge for the last few months. Some of you already know, but I’d like to make an announcement to OCAS Members about a year long fundraiser I’m doing to raise money for an Otter Creek Audubon grant to send a student or teacher to the Hog Island Audubon Camp in Maine where they will gain an education in bird conservation and identification. I’m in the midst of a photographic big year of Vermont, attempting to photograph as many species of birds as I can until December 31st. Similar to the way the annual bird-a-thon fundraisers work, I am taking pledges that can either be in the form of one lump sum, or pledged per species. For instance, Tammy Tanager could pledge $20 or she could choose to pledge $0.20 per species. 100% of the money raised goes directly towards this cause.

This is my personal way of paying it forward, as Otter Creek Audubon awarded me a similar grant 12 years ago that allowed me to attend an Audubon camp in the Northeast Kingdom that I would have otherwise not been able to afford. It’s a great cause, and past recipients of the grant have gone on to do great things in bird education and conservation. For example, myself and Carol Ramsayer of Otter Creek Audubon have been spending time with the Salisbury Elementary School science classes led my Amy Clapp, a past recipient to attend the Hog Island camp. She is teaching all of her classes (K-6) bird identification and about bird migration, culminating in a bird-a-thon finale where each student is raising money by doing their own birding big days! Sending one person to Audubon camp is making lifetime birders out of an entire school of kids, and this is a course that is being done year after year at Salisbury. If that isn’t a great cause, I don’t know what is!

If you would like to help out with a pledge, or if you have some good advice to find a species that I don’t have yet, please email me at tylerpockette4@gmail.com. Every bit helps! Also, please feel free to share this with anyone you know who might be interested in pledging!

You can follow along at my Flickr page that I’ve created specifically for my photo big year: https://www.flickr.com/photos/141790488@N02/

My goal is to exceed 240 species photographed. It’s going to be tough, so any helpful advice about good bird sightings is appreciated!

Thank you all so much!

– Tyler Pockette