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Here's a copy of the NAS press release that was released a couple of days ago . . .

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Sebastian T. Patti 
(Lincoln Park) 
Chicago, ILLINOIS 60614-3354 
PHONE: 312/325-9555 (o) 773/248-0570 (h) 
CELL: 773/304-7488
FAX: 312/325-9017(o)

 From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Important and Exciting news for the Christmas Bird Count program
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2012 10:59:18 -0400
To: [log in to unmask]








            
The 113th Christmas Bird Count
Audubon Science Office
545 Almshouse Road
Ivyland, PA 18974
Tel: 215-355-9588 ext.10
Fax: 215-355-2353
www.christmasbirdcount.org
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Greetings CBC Regional Editors,


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 Langham
Director, Christmas Bird Count                       Vice-President & Chief Scientist
National Audubon Society                             National Audubon Society     
 

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Details and online registration at: http://www.mobirds.org/ASM/Meetings.aspx
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http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html