Tucson is one of the nation's top bird-watching destinations, and a hub for environmental research. Now, a month of educational events will bring both these local fortes to the forefront.
The Birdathon is an opportunity for bird enthusiasts at any level to fund raise while doing what they love, and registration is still open.
"Most people know what a walkathon is, and the birdathon works in a similar way with participants getting sponsors who pledge a certain amount of money for the number of species of birds seen," says Paul Green, executive director of the Tucson Audubon Society.
This year, the Birdathon will take place April 20 through April 29. It coincides with Tucson Audubon's Institute of Desert Ecology, a four-day course held April 19 through April 22 in Catalina State Park that teaches participants about Tucson's environment and ecosystems.
The institute will have six instructors for the four-day event, which accepts 60 to 65 students.
"We want to show that even the smallest change in our ecosystem can have a huge impact and that it can affect all the other ecosystems," says Institute of Desert Ecology Instructor Carl Olson.
In addition to these two events, the Tucson Bird Count, a month-long event from April 15 to May 15, will also be taking place, with "citizen scientists" all over Tucson counting for an official number of the bird species now living in the city.