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Bird Education, Conservation, and Diversity Words of Wisdom:
A Focus on Diversity:
Changing the Face of American Birding
October 22, 2011
"We asked how many African American birders have you met, 8 of the individuals from
hundreds of responses, I looked at the 8 individuals, between them they had 509 years
of birdwatching, collectively they had only seen 23 African American birders.  That's
about every 22 years.  That's on a par with some of the rarest birds in North America."  
John C. Robinson
"The future of birding is kids.  If you get the kids, you can get the adults."
Richard Crossley
"The interest [in birds] may be very broad, but it is not correspondingly that deep.  So,
we need to create opportunities, repeated trips, mentors, colleagues and ongoing
support."                                                                                      -
Paul Baicich
"I started to think at that point, if we're going to have protection for places like this, we
need to have a lot more people interested in birds."                   -
Kenn Kaufman
"Most of our sites, we doubled and sometimes tripled participation by Latino community
members.  You can do it.  It takes commitment.  It isn't necessarily rocket science."  
- Susan Bonfield
"Whether it's just old scars or the fact that we don't know any better and we're just
ignorant, when we let that go up it opens up that whole world. If I hadn't done that, I
wouldn't have met all these wonderful people in the room now."     -
Roy Rodriguez
"Birding does a lot of great things for us.  One of the things we need to remember is
that there's an emotional thing about birding.   . . .If we can give people a
transformative experience, that will really make a difference."        -
Keith Russell
"So I challenge you to bird with somebody of a different hue and develop friendships,
develop associations and develop a partnership with somebody of a different color.  "  
Douglas Gray
"We, people of color can be loud people.  We can be lively people.  We can be
people that you are not accustomed to interacting with.  We have to figure out ways to
be comfortable with that.  We are going to stretch ourselves."        -
Mamie Parker
"I see the population of people under served and those not participating currently in
conservation as potential voters and constituents.  These are people that we do want
to come to the table in some capacity.  They may not all be able to become birders,
but they can at least be more aware and value birds.                   -
Flisa Stevenson
"if you can find a connection with a youth, it doesn't matter if it's the same color, if
your hair is the same.  It could be something as simple as liking the same music, . . .  
you establish that connection, it's so much easier than to bridge it into another area,
like birding."                                                                                   -
Anita Guris
"I wouldn't call them, I mean us, tokens.  There's Dudley, Keith.  Lamar, Anita, Drew,
Douglas, Rue to name a few.  At least there's enough for me not to have to use more
than two hands.  Better keep them, I mean, us out of all the same hot spots.  Don't let
them gather at Cape May, God forbid, the Everglades.  Spread out, lest some disaster
blot them out like woodpeckers or grouse."                                  -
J. Drew Lanham
"What's missing, in my opinion, many others as well, is again, you need to partner with
authentic minority organizations. You need to find validaters, people who can speak
with authority, credibility to communities of color.  They can help bring you all in
partnership.  And give you a direct pipeline to the folks you want to reach."
Roger Rivera
"what [we've] got to do right now is continually figure out and identify and find ways to
create outdoor role models for people of color. . . Understand the effect that seeing
black males making 250 trillion dollars playing basketball, imagine the effect that has
on those kids.  That's why they are interested in being basketball players, that guy
looks like them."                                                                          -
Dudley Edmondson