Friday, February 13, 2009

Student wins birding category in Your Lands, Your Wildlife contest

The "Your Lands, Your Wildlife" program focuses on protecting wildlife in national forests and parks. The campaign stems from the belief that "the condition of fish and wildlife populations is an indication of overall land health, and that only healthy lands can provide sustainable benefits to current and future generations."

The program recently announced winners in its story contest, which highlighted encounters with wildlife on public lands. The six categories -- grand-prize, backcountry adventure, birding, fishing, hunting, wildlife watching and photography -- offered various prizes to the winning authors.

Stephen Kolbe of Stow, Ohio, won the birding category with his tale about Sandhill Cranes in northern California.

This past summer, I was bird watching in Tahoe National Forest in California. The scenery was beautiful, with sharp, rocky ridges ringing a lush, green mountain meadow below. It was early morning, and the sun had just risen above the eastern ridge. I was watching the line of sunshine slowly slide down the opposite ridge into the valley below. Clouds of steam were still rising from the river that meandered its way through the meadow. I stepped down into the meadow and was immediately greeted with the familiar sound of the birds that lived there: willow flycatchers, yellow warblers, song sparrows and Wilson’s snipe.
The rest of Stephen's story appears at the link above. Apparently the contest will not occur again, but if it does, I know some birders with writing chops who should participate.

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