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Outreach

An Alabama native, I grew up in rural Coastal Alabama with a passion for studying birds from a young age. In my spare time, I volunteered at a long-term public bird banding station in Coastal Alabama beginning when I was 14. This ultimately lead me to pursue an entire career to understand and explore avian migration and biology. My volunteer days at this banding station also allowed me to connect and share birds with the general public. This instilled in me a passion for science outreach from a young age. In 2020, my partner, Kyle Shepard, and I started an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization, Banding Coalition of the Americas (BCA). BCA is dedicated to avian research and outreach. By employing banding and cutting-edge tracking techniques, our goal is to connect the dots of birds’ lives to fully understand their life cycles for conservation. Through BCA, we have created a network of volunteer banders that contribute to the operation of BCA's projects. We reach an esimated 1,500-2,000 people during our in-person events. BCA's main claim to fame is operating the station that I began volunteering for in my teen years. In October 2023, our banding station was featured in Science Times. We have a variety of on-going migratory bird studies and natural history studies, particularly in the Southeastern U.S. I aspire to be able to continue my work with BCA as time allows while pursuing my academic career. While having additional projects with a non-profit while pursuing academia can be challenging, it is highly rewarding work and also allows me to still be intricatly involved with ecology-based studies. We currently have BCA's first peer-reviewed work in review (as of August 2023). Of note, in September of 2023, BCA along with collaborators from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Dauphin Island SeaLab, added the first MOTUS tower along the Alabama Gulf Coast, helping to fill the gap to track animals across the continent. To read up more about BCA, please visit our website: www.bandingcoalition.org

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