Last year, I attended this little thing called Biggest Week in American Birding in Ohio. (Okay, maybe it’s really a big thing that draws in thousands upon thousands of bird lovers all over the world.)
I was completely blown away with my 1.5-day visit to this 10-day festival. The birds and the birders were amazing! You can read last year’s post about it here. I came back home, bought some binoculars and promptly added the label “birder” to my Twitter profile. (You know Twitter limits your profile to 160 characters, right? This in and of itself is a big deal people!)
So when Biggest Week rolled around again this year, I knew I wanted Birds & Blooms to be more involved. After all, Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman started this event, and they are regular contributors to the magazine.
We sent copies of our spring issue, sponsored several bird walks at the event and planned for our editorial team of three to attend the festival for a whopping 4 days. We also ran a raffle to benefit young birders while we were there, raising nearly $2,000. And we shot footage for an awesome bird video—stay tuned, it’s still to come. Um yeah, we were a bit busy.
To tell you the truth, I was slightly nervous to be taking two associate editors (and very novice birders) with me. I’d been talking up the festival for months, making claims about how it could change your life and profoundly affect your entire outlook on nature and the world. (Slightly exaggerated, yes. But not much.)
So how did it go? And did Kirsten and Danielle survive? I’m happy to report that they were just as blown away as I was last year. We saw so many amazing birds, but even more than that, we met so many amazing people. There’s a camaraderie among birders unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. When your eyes lock in on the same indigo bunting or yellow-rumped warbler, you’re inevitably going to be bonded for life.
This event reminded us how important it is to get out there and experience nature in these ways. Yes, the Biggest Week is phenomenal and offers up an experience like no other, but the simple joy of connecting with other nature lovers is priceless.
Now we’re back in Wisconsin where our days are filled with computer screens and deadlines, but we’ve vowed to discover nature even more in our own backyards. We have a couple of nature centers we want to check out, and we’re planning to go owling this fall.
So whether you were part of this event or not, we hope it’s a good reminder of how important it is to just get out there. Either on your own or part of a group, we agree with the quote by John Burroughs that nature is a place to have your senses put in order. It certainly worked for us.
Though it’s months away, we can’t wait for Biggest Week 2013. Please send suggestions for convincing our bosses that 4 days just isn’t enough!