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From: [log in to unmask]
Organization: National Audubon Society
Subject: Important and Exciting news for the Christmas Bird Count program
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2012 10:16:26 -0400


The 113th Christmas Bird Count
Audubon Science Office545 Almshouse RoadIvyland, PA 18974Tel:
215-355-9588 ext.10Fax:
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Greetings CBC Compilers,

The CBC is now FREE!

Important and Exciting news for the Christmas Bird Count program

After nearly two years of internal discussions, budget modeling,
head-scratching, and intense decision-making, two major changes will
come to the Christmas Bird Count program effective with the upcoming
113th Count in December, 2012.

First, the CBC is now a free program.  Audubon will no longer charge
the $5.00 fee of field participants.

Second, to minimize the effects of the loss of fee income, American
Birds will no longer be printed on paper and mailed to participants,
and Audubon will move to an online delivery of the summary results of
the CBC.

To help Audubon make these important decisions regarding the Christmas
Bird Count program, we invited people involved with the count to
participate in an online survey earlier this year. The results of the
online survey that many of you participated in last spring were very
enlightening, and are summarized in the upcoming 112th CBC summary
issue of American Birds-the last one to appear in print. The 130 pages
of written comments were the most telling aspects of the survey
feedback. Some people understand the fee and don't mind paying it, but
the main thrust of written comments was that the fee is a major
obstacle to the program, and the strong message was that more people
would be involved, more counts would be included in the CBC database,
and more accurate effort data would be collected if the fee was
dropped.

Also highly informative were peoples' comments regarding American
Birds.  While a few folks commented that they enjoyed the information
it contains and enjoy reading at least parts of it each year, the
primary sentiment expressed was that recipients do not value American
Birds in its current format, that they do not read most of it.  Many
survey respondents felt that an interactive, online version of the
magazine would better suit their needs-especially if the participation
fee was dropped.

In order to continue to fund the Christmas Bird Count program in the
long term, Audubon will be moving to a voluntary donation model for
the CBC.

With the online delivery of American Birds via a new interactive web
presence including photos, summaries, and features, content can now be
presented online as they are completed.  Most critically, a new
Citizen Science gateway will enable Audubon to be in touch directly
with those participants who elect to take part and directly service
the needs of participants as well as compilers.

While the integrity of the CBC is crucial to maintain for its bird
trend data, it has become equally important for the ability to engage
people in other citizen science projects.  Toward that end Audubon
will be expanding its Citizen Science projects, and the CBC will, of
course, be a cornerstone program.

The Audubon Science team is now working with the Information
Technology division to implement changes and improvements to the new
CBC data entry application.  The most important changes will be to
make the application faster and easier to navigate.  Additionally of
course, with the dropping of the mandatory participant fees the entire
fee payment section will be dropped and the participant list section
will be simplified. The opportunity to donate to the CBC program will
be available in various places on the data entry application and for
those who register in advance for the CBC, as well as on the CBC
website.

Once the new version of the data entry application is ready, we will
be in touch with a new CBC Data Entry Manual available to compilers.
We will be in touch with compilers via email as portions of the
application are available to you, including the initial post-a-date
version of the application.

Starting in early October  we will also be able to make any requested
changes of compilers and begin the process of setting up new CBCs for
the upcoming 113th CBC.

Audubon extends our deepest thanks to all of you for your long
standing dedication to the Christmas Bird Count program.  We
especially appreciate your willingness to share your views with us,
and this information has been crucial to the decisions summarized
here.

The Budget Summary for 112th CBC is available in the online version
and hard copy of the letter you will be receiving in the mail shortly.

We thank you for your work in making the CBC the continued success that it is.

Thanks very much, and have a wonderful FREE Christmas Bird Count
season.  Good birding!

Geoff LeBaron                                                     Gary
LanghamDirector, Christmas Bird Count
Vice-President & Chief ScientistNational Audubon Society
              National Audubon Society

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