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Be a citizen scientist as you help Anita Purves Nature Center count birds


As part of the international Great Backyard Bird Count, Urbana Park District invites everyone to Anita Purves Nature Center on Saturday, February 15, to document the birds they see.

The bird count runs from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Guided hikes at 10 a.m., and 3 p.m. will be led by representatives from the Champaign County Audubon Society. Admission and participation are free.

All ages are welcome, though kids under age 15 need to be accompanied by an adult.

“This program is real citizen science in action. We are asking people to help us count and record the birds they see through the windowed Wildlife Observation Room or during the guided hikes,” said Savannah Donovan, Environmental Public Program Coordinator. “When people all across North America and the world participate in a bird count like this, it creates a real-time snapshot of where birds are. This scientific data is essential for conservation of bird species and habitats.”

Donovan continued, “If you don’t know what species of birds you see, that’s okay! Members of the Champaign County Audubon Society will be there to help show you how to tell different bird species apart.”

Visitors who plan on attending a hike through Busey Woods should dress for the weather and wear shoes that may get dirty. Binoculars will be available to borrow from the nature center.

“In addition to the bird count, this event marks the grand re-opening of the nature center’s gift shop, which will feature all new inventory,” Donovan added. “We’ll also have free activities for kids, and every participant can take home a Citizen Scientist button!”

People of all ages and all abilities are welcome to the nature center on February 15 for the free Great Backyard Bird Count.

“This is a wonderful way for all ages to enjoy nature, and to contribute real scientific data,” Donovan said. “Citizen science projects like this really give participants the chance to think about the global picture and act on a local level.”


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