Volume 29 Issue 1, Winter 2024
by Kim Strader, Volunteer Coordinator
Author Stephen Covey believes that “Effective people are not problem-minded; they’re opportunity-minded.” This quote brings to mind our new volunteer, Patrick Lewis, who created the Loudoun Wildlife Young Birding Program that held its first walk in December.
Patrick began birding at age 11 after noticing the diversity of birds he saw in the woods behind his house and at Algonkian Regional Park. Captivated by hawks, winter ducks, and spring migrants, Patrick continued watching birds throughout his youth and now into young adulthood. At only 19 years old, he has authored articles in The Raven, a publication of the Virginia Society of Ornithology (VSO) that focuses on research and significant sightings of Virginia birds. Patrick also advocates for birds through appeals to local and state government officials.
Noticing there were very few fellow young birders, Patrick saw an opportunity to begin working on initiatives to encourage young birding enthusiasts at the state and local levels through VSO. Patrick also established a monthly census of birds at Algonkian Regional Park, where he came to the attention of Loudoun Wildlife’s birder extraordinaire, Joe Coleman. Last July, Patrick proposed a Young Birding Program to Joe, who found Patrick’s “enthusiasm and love of birds” a great combination for beginning a new birding program through Loudoun Wildlife specifically for youth.
Working with Patrick and Joe, in December Loudoun Wildlife unveiled its Young Birding Program, which provides field trips, workshops, and lectures to introduce participants ages 13-20 to birding, help them grow as birders, and educate them about conservation. All events will be led by experienced young birders and mentoring adults. “He is thrilled that [Loudoun Wildlife] responded very positively and that it has been implemented so quickly,” said Patrick’s mother, Jody.
Rather than seeing the need for more young people to become involved in birding as a problem, Patrick saw it as an opportunity to create a program. We are grateful for Patrick’s inspiring leadership and service with Loudoun Wildlife to create and establish the program, and to our current birding team for their enthusiastic and welcoming assistance. We look forward to many years of engaging, inspiring, and motivating young birders.
Learn more about our new Young Birding Program!