To celebrate this new movement, we are having a large kick-off event in partnership with the Cape May Point State Park (under the lighthouse) on August 23rd 2012 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. We hope to see everybody there so you can ask me questions, but more importantly you can take part in the festivities.
The kick-off celebration will include exhibits and displays from many South Jersey Nature Groups, a LIVE Raptor demonstration and touch tanks with critters, games and activities. You’ll also have the chance to win a free pair of Nikon binoculars, but you’ll have to work a little to win those! Are you up for the challenge? Cape May is well known for its great bird photography and photographers. We have hoodwinked a couple of them, so that you can go to Photography with the Pros. The Lighthouse will offer free entry for under 18’s, thanks to MAC.
There will be lots to look at around the nature trail. We’ll have manned observation points to see if you can stump the experts with your questions. Most of these professional guides are experts on all types of wildlife, so make sure to put them on the spot. Please let me know when you catch them out! We’ll have binoculars and telescopes to look through at each post for a bird’s eye view.
Cape May Point State Park is an incredible place to see birds and there should be stacks of herons, egrets, shorebirds and terns on Lighthouse Pond. On the trails, there should be plenty of warblers and other migrants. Hopefully, there will be a few raptors flying overhead, but if not we’ll have some in the hand so that you can get up-close and personal with these amazing creatures (thanks to Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge).
We’ll have several live demos, including Butterfly tagging and an inside look at how and where Purple Martins live. Up on the Hawkwatch Platform, you can hear about the amazing Fall migration spectacle, while looking for birds. You can join the ‘Big Sit’ and help Don to spot as many different species as he can from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. This is the spot where the American ‘Big Sit’ Record is held. That is a 24-hour event, so you’re getting off easy.
The kick-off party is just a part of this weekend event. On Friday August 25th and Saturday August 26th, Captain Bob Lubberman of The Osprey is offering back-bay boat trips to get an up-close look at our marsh birds and critters. Bob’s event special is under 18 for Free, Adults only $20. The trips will run from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and I’ll be along for the ride on both days.
So there’s plenty going on, please make sure you join us. But you may ask, what is Pledge to Fledge? It’s a global, grassroots movement, aimed at popularizing birding. The goal is to empower both individuals and organizations to take non-birders out birding and so “fledge” a birder.
We believe it is numbers that promote conservation so we would like you to join our number by taking ‘The Pledge.’ Make sure you do it now, because I’m going to be checking for your name! Pledge to Fledge came about over a good British pint of beer at the massive British Bird Fair in Rutland, UK in 2011. A group of like-minded individuals from around the world shared their views. We are all madly passionate about the love of birds and nature and think that our lives would have been very different without this.
For those who’ve read my column, you know that I moved continents to live with the birds in fantastic Cape May. We wanted to share this magic with others and felt that all movements today are created by the people. Given the power of social media, we set out to create a grassroots movement to empower everyone and give them a reason and a place to share their stories. If every birder or nature lover takes a friend, neighbor or a kid and introduces them to nature, the world will quickly become a different place. You can do this very easily with someone you know and share your story with us on our Facebook and at www.pledgetofledge.com
At our Pledge to Fledge kick-off, we’ll ask YOU to share your story at our red carpet Walk of Fame. We will ask you to step in front of the camera and give us a few words about your day. We’ll “share” you and nature with the world on our Pledge to Fledge Facebook. Your words may inspire someone, somewhere else in the world right there and then. The world is a small place today and is only a click of a button away.