How MYBC Was Born
When Lena moved to Maine in 2012, she was saddened to learn that the state did not have a formal organization in place for young birders. She vowed to someday change that. Nathan, who has been teaching middle-school students for a number of years, was running a naturalist club at his school and hoping to make it grow.
Fast forward to the Biddeford/Kennebunk Christmas Bird Count of 2015. Lena and Nathan paired up for the count, and the more these two educators talked, the more clearly they realized that they shared the same, fundamental vision: to help youth get outdoors in order to watch and appreciate birds! This realization prompted them create this organization for young birders in Maine.
They couldn’t have done this, however, without the sincere support, encouragement, and help of many individuals and organizations. Lena and Nathan would like to thank Kim Kaufman and Laura Guerard of Ohio’s Black Swamp Bird Observatory and the Ohio Young Birders Club for their instrumental guidance early on in the process. They gave MYBC the rocket fuel it needed to get off the ground! MYBC is also grateful for the unflagging enthusiasm of York County Audubon’s Board of Directors, without whom MYBC simply wouldn’t exist. Finally, MYBC would like to recognize Seth Benz of the Schoodic Institute and Doug Hitchcox and Eric Topper at Maine Audubon for their invaluable suggestions and advice. Without these supporters and many others, this long-held dream would have never become a reality. Thank you!
The birding bug found Lena when she was 13 years old, and it hasn’t let go since! As a young birder, Lena spent countless hours exploring her local Connecticut woods, feeding backyard birds, and foraging for wild edibles. Lena’s field journals and artwork won awards from the American Birding Association and enabled her to attend career-shaping summer camps and conferences for young birders. These experiences, along with the mentorship she received from adults at that time, are strong driving forces in her work with the MYBC.
Lena’s love of birds took her to Cornell University, and she worked at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology for four years. She served as the Birding Program Director at Chewonki’s summer camp and as a volunteer at the Children of the Earth Foundation—a nature awareness and wilderness survival school for kids and teens. Lena has worked for two birding tour companies—Wildside Nature Tours, Inc. and Field Guides, Inc.—and has co-led tours to Alaska, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Panama, Siberia, and Australia, to name a few. Also, her Princeton University graduate work on avian community ecology has taken her to Tanzania, Kenya, and Costa Rica. Feeling extremely blessed to have had these experiences, Lena is deeply motivated to “pass it forward” and help nurture the passion of Maine’s young birders.
Favorite birds: wood-warblers (all of them!), cotingas (Neotropical species), sunbirds (African species), Green Catbird (Australian species)
At the end of the 2017 year, Seth Davis stepped in as co-coordinator of MYBC. Seth grew up in Oregon, where he spent much of his time outdoors in the woods behind his house. Having always had a curiosity about nature and biology, Seth pursued a career in science, and he is now a post-doctoral research associate in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of New England. Seth’s spark for birding came while hiking at a reservoir near his apartment in Colorado and seeing a Mountain Bluebird for the first time. It was at this point that he recognized there was far more to the world of birds than the sparrows and finches that frequented his feeders!
Since moving to Maine in 2015, Seth has been active in the birding community, and he currently serves on the Board of Directors at York County Audubon. Seth also eagerly serves as co-coordinator of MYBC, through which he enjoys sharing his love of birds and nature with the young members of Maine’s proud birding community.
Favorite birds: Magnolia Warbler, Wood Duck, Common Loon, Snowy Owl
Co-Founder and Former CoordinaTOR (Fall 2016 - Aug 2017):
Born and raised on the edge of the tall-grass prairie in eastern Kansas, Nathan now lives in Portland with his wife, dog, and cat (indoor only). When he is not teaching 6th graders in Kennebunk, he is out looking at birds, reading, cooking food and eating it, kayaking, or biking.
Favorite birds: Black-throated Blue Warbler, Snow Bunting, Northern Shrike, and Peregrine Falcon