Chesterton Tribune

Be a citizen scientist, take part in the Christmas Bird Count at National Lakeshore

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Be a citizen scientist and count some birds.

On Wednesday, Dec. 28, the National Park Service is inviting folks to be part of the longest-running citizen-science survey in the world: Audubon’s 112th annual Christmas Bird Count.

Counts started around the country on Dec. 14 and run through Thursday, Jan. 5.

Tens of thousands of participants, from beginner to expert, are helping to provide critical data on bird population trends and having a lot of fun doing it. “Each volunteer observer is an important contributor, helping to shape the overall direction of bird conservation,” says Geoff LeBaron, National Audubon's Christmas Bird Count Director.

Each count takes place within a “count circle” which focuses on a specific geographic area. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is hosting the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore West Circle, and park rangers and experienced volunteers will lead bird counts in the western sections of the park on Dec. 28. If you can’t come out to the park, but live in Burns Harbor, Portage, South Haven or Ogden Dunes you can do the count from your own backyard bird feeder.

“The Christmas Bird Count becomes more important every year,” Audubon President David Yarnold said. “The information gathered by its army of dedicated volunteers leads directly to solutions. At a time when people wonder if individual actions can make a difference, we know that our volunteers enable scientists to learn about the impacts of environmental threats like climate change and habitat loss. That’s good news not just for birds but for all of us.”

To sign up for a National Lakeshore bird count or to learn how you can help by counting the birds from your own backyard, contact park ranger Christy Gerlach by e-mail at

or call the National Lakeshore’s information desk at (219) 395-1882.



Posted 12/20/2011