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Birdathon 2014: We Met Our Match!

Eastside Audubon members rose to the Robidoux challenge for the second year in a row, earning more than $30,000 for the chapter's conservation and education programs!

By Andy McCormick, President and Birdathon Chair

Western Tanager, by Mick ThompsonOnce again, a big THANK YOU to everyone who helped the chapter earn the Robidoux Foundation’s $15,000 matching grant for the second year in a row. You all deserve a pat on the back.

So many people sent donations, supported teams, did their own Birdathons, and went on field trips. Some did several of these events. Many also asked their friends and family members to support Eastside Audubon.

Photo: Western Tanager, by Mick Thompson

Field Trip Guides: Leading the Way

Another big THANK YOU goes out to our Birdathon field trip leaders: Brian Bell, Sharon Aagaard, Tricia Kishel, Mary Francis Mathis, and Hugh Jennings.

Birdathon supporters had many opportunities to support the chapter by birding, with a robust schedule of walks and trips at Juanita Bay Park, Lake Sammamish State Park, Vashon Island, Discovery Park, Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, and Robinson Canyon.

[Editor’s note: Appreciation also to Andy, the writer, for leading two Birdathon outings.]

Thanks to Jim Rettig for his personal Birdathon, a perennial windfall. Also thanks to Zoe Allen in the office, who logged in all the donations.

To the Robidoux Foundation

A grateful big THANK YOU goes out to the Melody S. Robidoux Foundation for offering its challenge grant and for matching the first $15,000 we raised.

The foundation is a philanthropic organization created by its namesake. Her husband, Mick Thompson, serves on the foundation board and is the EAS chapter photographer.

With their generous matching grant, our 2014 Birdathon will have raised more than $30,000!

As I write this there are still donations coming in, so we’ll let you know the final total when we get everything tallied.

Winning Ways: Consistency and Personal Birdathons

This year’s Birdathon was marked by consistent contributions from members who are generous in supporting the chapter.

In addition, early response to the Birdathon mailing gave us motivation to continue birding to the end of the month.

Several people organized personal Birdathons:

    • Dora Rajkhowa took her family on a bird walk at Ocean Shores, donating and earning pledges for each species they saw.
    • Jim Rettig, the chapter’s perennial leader in Birdathon fundraising, again took himself on a personal birding trip to Oregon.
    • I led a Dawn Chorus walk for the second time at Mercer Slough Nature Park.

Traditions Hold

This year we had two traditional Birdathon teams: The Whidbey Wing Dings led by Hugh Jennings and the Karismatic Kestrels led by Andy McCormick.

They came in tied at 114 bird species per team. Both teams had many donors for their big day trips, and the final accounting has yet to tell which team earned more in pledges.

Birdathon was a lot of fun, and I’m grateful to everyone who pitched in to help make it such a success. While this year’s Birdathon is fresh in your mind, why not use the energy to think up a good plan for your 2015 Birdathon?

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The mission of Eastside Audubon is to protect, preserve and enhance natural ecosystems and our communities for the benefit of birds, other wildlife and people.