Annual Bird-A-Thon Sets Fundraising Record!
Michael P. O'Connor
LINCOLN, MA—From modest beginnings in 1983, Bird-a-thon has evolved into Mass Audubon’s single largest annual fundraiser, attracting thousands of supporters and raising more than $2 million for the regional conservation leader’s wildlife sanctuaries and programs.
But this year, the friendly statewide competition that challenges teams of birders to identify the most species in 24 hours was truly one for the record books. Ever since the May 15-16 event, pledges and other monies poured in—until Mass Audubon organizers announced this week that $219,547.20 had been raised, an unprecedented sum for the bird-identification marathon.
This year, more than 800 participants of all abilities (including children and teens) took to the fields and forests, wetlands and coastlands of the Bay State, beginning at 6 pm the evening on Friday, May 15 and finishing at 5:59 pm on Saturday, May 16. And the birders were not the only ones who helped raised money: The number of people making contributions totaled almost 3,000, included many who set up fundraising pages and otherwise participated online.
Proceeds from the event benefit a wide array of Mass Audubon initiatives in addition to its wildlife sanctuaries and programs (which engage a half-million visitors annually), including land conservation, endangered species protection, and renewable energy outreach.
Which is why Bird-a-thon supporters are so appreciated by the conservation organization.
“We are extremely grateful to everyone who participated, experienced birders and newcomers alike, whose generosity and commitment to protecting birds has been truly remarkable,” said Gary Clayton, Mass Audubon Acting President and Vice President for Conservation Programs.
“Setting a record in donations to an event which directly supports Mass Audubon’s conservation priorities is reason enough to celebrate,” Clayton added. “But perhaps even more important is to realize that this broad community of bird lovers is stronger than ever—and may be already anticipating next year’s Bird-a-thon!”
Mass Audubon protects more than 38,000 acres of land throughout Massachusetts, saving birds and other wildlife, and making nature accessible to all. As Massachusetts' largest nature conservation nonprofit, we welcome more than a half million visitors a year to our wildlife sanctuaries and 20 nature centers. From inspiring hilltop views to breathtaking coastal landscapes, serene woods, and working farms, we believe in protecting our state's natural treasures for wildlife and for all people's vision shared in 1896 by our founders, two extraordinary Boston women.
Today, Mass Audubon is a nationally recognized environmental education leader, offering thousands of camp, school, and adult programs that get over 225,000 kids and adults outdoors every year. With more than 135,000 members and supporters, we advocate on Beacon Hill and beyond, and conduct conservation research to preserve the natural heritage of our beautiful state for today's and future generations. We welcome you to explore a nearby sanctuary, find inspiration, and get involved. Learn how at www.massaudubon.org.