Great Texas Birding Classic exceeds $ 1 million in grants – Orange Leader


Through Texas Parks and Wildlife

AUSTIN — At the end of the nation’s largest, longest and wildest birding tournament, organizers of the Great Texas Birding Classic (GTBC) have announced a huge philanthropic milestone. Thanks to Texans who have formed teams for a quarter of a century to observe and listen to as many bird species as possible, funds raised for conservation projects have surpassed $ 1 million.

“As the tournament continues to grow, we look forward to making even more donations for habitat conservation projects in Texas,” said Shelly Plante, head of natural tourism for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). “It’s exciting to see so many families, children and friends connecting with nature through the event.”

This year, team registrations and sponsorships for the one-month tournament of 191 teams enabled the GTBC to award $ 44,000 in conservation grants to habitat acquisition, restoration and improvement projects. on the ground statewide.

Here is a list of conservation grants awarded statewide:

$ 10,000 Statewide Scattered Herd Big Day Conservation Grant

Socially distant flycatchers, sponsored by Deep South Marine

Project: Davis Mountains Preserve Wildlife Viewing Area and Waterbody – Submitted by The Nature Conservancy, Texas Section

Location: Davis Mountain Preserve, Jeff Davis County

$5,000 Toyota Conservation Grant for State Parks – Amazed geese

$ 1,000 Prairies and Pineywoods West Big Sit! Conservation grant – Brazos Banditry, sponsored by Moore Wild Birds

Project: Lake Somerville ADA Accessible Bird Blind – Submitted by Rio Brazos Audubon Society

Location: Lake Somerville State Park, Burleson / Lee Counties

$ 5,000 Sunrise to Noon Conservation Grant – Swarovski AM Kestrels, sponsored by Swarovski Optik North America

$ 1,000 Big Sit on the Central Texas Coast! Conservation grant – Port Aransas Spatulas, sponsored by the Port Aransas / Mustang Island Chamber of Commerce and Tourism

Project: Charlie’s Pasture Nature Reserve (Clay’s Hill Habitat Improvement) – Submitted by City of Port Aransas Nature Reserve

Location: Charlie’s Pasture Nature Reserve, Port Aransas

Heart of Texas East Intact Herd $ 5,000 Big Day Conservation Grant Bird watchers who love parking

Project: Wildlife Viewing Station and Interpretive Trail at Wildwood Park – Submitted by Keep Nolanville Beautiful

Location: Nolanville, Bell County

$ 5,000 Texas Upper Coast Big Day Conservation Grant for Intact Herd – Swarovski Second Jabirus, sponsored by Swarovski Optik North America

Project: Resoft County Park Wetland Habitat Development – Submitted by Brazoria County Parks Department

Location: Resoft County Park, Alvin

$ 5,000 Texas Upper Coast Big Day Conservation Grant for Intact Herd – Falcons in free fall

Project: Creation of a bird watching area at Joseph S. and Lucy L. Cullinan Park – Submitted by Cullinan Park Conservancy

Location: Joseph S. and Lucy H. Cullinan Park, Sugar Land

$ 5,000 Lone Star Bird Prize Conservation Grant – Off their nuthatches

Project: Bird watching at the border, know your natives! – Submitted by the Valley Zoological Society – Gladys Porter Zoo

Location: Gladys Porter Zoo, Brownsville

$ 1,000 Heart of Texas East Big Sit! Conservation grant – Bird watching on Broadmeade

Project: Montopolis Habitat Restoration – Submitted by Ecology Action of Texas

Location: Circle Acres Nature Reserve, Austin

$ 1,000 Big Sit on the Upper Texas Coast! Conservation grant – Centerpoint Wirebirds, sponsored by Centerpoint Energy

Project: Quintana Sanctuaries Re-Veg Project – Submitted by Gulf Coast Bird Observatory

Location: Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuaries, Quintana

It was also a banner year for participation in GTBC, with a 60% increase in the number of participants and a 38% increase in the number of teams registered. Records have been broken for the number of Big Sits! and the Sunrise to Noon teams. There were several teams for the first time and 15 youth teams. A total of 421 species were identified during the tournament by more than 1,000 birders statewide.

“Our son really enjoyed his time with the team,” said Danielle and Micah Hale de Conner, ABNC Terrific Tanagers member (Roughwings team). “We can’t go anywhere without him showing us the birds, telling us what they are and some type of nerdy bird doing. In our busy life, sometimes we don’t always slow down and enjoy our beautiful surroundings. Conner reminds us daily to just stop and look around.

Some of last year’s adaptations to the pandemic have been kept for the 2021 competition, like the Scattered Herd category, allowing participants to team up with others from across the state, connecting electronically or by phone to combine. and share their results.

“The girls and I had a great time,” says Deborah Waguespack, a member of a three-generation Dispersed Flock team. “We texted and chatted throughout the day following what each group saw. A great day of fun with the family! ”

Toyota and the Texas Ornithological Society were the event’s sponsors; Audubon Texas sponsored the awards ceremony. For more information on the GTBC, visit the TPWD Great Texas Birding Classic page.

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