It has been a GRAND SLAM year for the FLC Science Dept. Not only did we have a student take “best of show” in the Coastal Bend Science Fair, but we also won the state title in recycling. Now we have fantastic news about our birding team kiddos!
The results are in from the 22nd annual Great Texas Birding Classic sponsored by Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept which was held April 15 – May 15, 2018. The awards ceremony was held on Saturday, June 9th in San Antonio.
Program sponsor Martha McLeod is proud to let everyone know that one of our teams took 1st place in our region and 1st place in the state out of 13 youth teams competing in the elementary (Roughwings) division. They tallied up 122 species of birds on competition day. Woo hoo!!! One of our other FLC teams took 2nd place in the region and 2nd place in the state by sighting 102 species while another team took 3rd in the region and 3rd in the state with 98 species of birds seen and identified. Our 4th FLC team took 4th in the region and 4th in the state with 96 species of birds. Amazing work!!!!
In addition to the 4 youth teams from FLC, ACISD also had 2 R-F Middle School teams of students competing: one team in the “Human Powered” division of the Classic which took 2nd in their division and a final team in the Sunrise Until Noon category that took 3rd out of 16 teams competing.
The Birding Classic has been called the world's biggest, longest and wildest birdwatching tournament! A total of 125 teams competed this year in various categories of the Birding Classic with over 780 participants (a tournament record!).
Throughout the years, the Birding Classic has donated over $954,000 in conservation funding to nature tourism and avian habitat restoration, enhancement, and acquisition projects throughout the state!
The number of grants awarded (and their amounts) are determined based on team registration fees (independent and sponsored) and corporate sponsorship dollars collected each year. The Birding Classic is a cost-recovery event, so once minimal event costs are covered all remaining funds go to conservation grants in Texas.
Fulton 4-5 Learning Center entered 4 youth teams this year in the Roughwings category and was provided mentorship by Bron Rorex Carrier and myself. Approximately 500 species of birds can be found migrating through Texas or as resident species so working with students to teach them to identify birds is quite a challenge. We practiced with the students every Wednesday morning before school and once a month on weekend field trips. Due to the hurricane, we had a very late start in preparing teams for the Classic. That was not a deterrent for our students though. They rose above and beyond the challenge to show the rest of the state what perseverance is all about. Mrs. McLeod could not be more proud to have been their sponsor through the tough times this year.
The Texas Ornithological Society and the Aransas Bird & Nature Club paid sponsorship fees for 5 of the teams in the Birding Classic. GSM/Regional Pool Alliance/Northstar Recovery paid sponsorship fees for our 6th team to compete.
Student field guides and binoculars were donated by the Aransas Bird & Nature Club. Thank you all for your support! We truly appreciate all of you and I could definitely not do this program without your help!
Finishing 1st in our Region and 1st in the state for their division was “ABNC Wrens and Hens”. They are shown left to right in the attached photo – Kam Alston, Jaxon Keown, Allie Cochran, and Noble Chapman. This team logged down 122 species of birds and was sponsored by the Aransas Bird & Nature Club.
Finishing 2nd in our Region and 2nd in the state was a team named the “TOS Finchtastic 4”. They are shown left to right in the attached photo - Kade Alston, Cannon Chapman, Talon Kenfield, and Hudson King. This team was excited to find and correctly identify 102 species and was sponsored by the Texas Ornithological Society.
Finishing 3rd in our Region and 3rd in the state was a team named the “ABNC Wonderful Warblers”. They are shown left to right – Mercedes Esparza, Kara Hill, Katarina Villanueva, and Nikki Allen. This team found and identified 98 species of birds and was also sponsored by the Aransas Bird & Nature Club.
Finishing 4th in our Region and 4th in the state was a team named the “TOS Outstanding Ospreys”. They are shown left to right – Anthony Diaz DeLeon, Kaleb Conner, and Chase Waggoner (not pictures is Keaton Solis). This team found and identified 96 species of birds and was also sponsored by the Texas Ornithological Society.
For our RF Middle School team competing in the “Human Powered” division of the tournament, they placed 2nd statewide and were named the “GSM/Regional Pool Alliance/Northstar Recovery Whistlers on Wheels”. Students competing included Kyleigh Karl, Kate Hill, Sam Holden, and Shelby Hudson. This team found and identified 88 species of birds while bike riding and was sponsored by GSM/Regional Pool Alliance/Northstar Recovery.
For our RF Middle School team competing in the “Sunrise Until Noon” division of the tournament, they placed 3rd statewide and were named the “TOS Oldtime Oystercatchers and Youthful Yellowlegs”. Students competing included Laila Flowers, Brody Karl, and Michael Jones. This team found and identified 94 species of birds in a limited amount of time and was sponsored by the Texas Ornithological Society.
In addition, the 2 team mentors were named as some of the “Most Valuable Birders” in the Classic because of the work we do with so many youth teams: Bron Rorex Carrier and FLC Science Teacher Martha McLeod
Video explaining how the Classic works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U42CSWznE7k
To increase appreciation, understanding, and conservation of birds through education, recreation, nature tourism, and conservation fundraising.