There is a state park or historic site near you.  Many of them offer fine birding opportunities, and several of them are underbirded, with many species flitting around just begging to appear on the site checklist.  Go find 'em.

The administration of DNR, through action and inaction over a 10-month period made it clear that the 10-year cooperative agreement with the Audubon Society of Missouri is no longer wanted.  Short version:  the program we have called SPARKS is kaput.

ASM had been receiving $5,000 a year to analyze park birding data; encourage birding the state parks; organize and conduct requested special surveys for specific parks; update the state park requested version of a downloadable checklist for park visitors a minimum of twice a year, host that process and checklist on the ASM website, and develop and provide the links to the state parks website for the public to view and download if desired.

These services have been provided by volunteers as a service to ASM, the State of Missouri, and most importantly the people of Missouri.  The revenue from the agreement has been used by ASM to fund bird conservation and education projects in partnership with other entities, and to support young birders to attend bird-related learning experiences.  

The ASM Board of Directors voted in September to continue to provide the parks checklist site and links and to update the checklists at least twice a year without compensation as a service to the people of Missouri.  Park checklists have been updated this month.

The December issue of The Bluebird will carry a summary of activities conducted during the 10-year duration of the SPARKS program and summary of the use of the funds received.  Please take time to read it.  The director of state parks chose not to.

Edge Wade
ASM Conservation Partnership Coordinator
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