Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton applying for Bird Town designation

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Some of the finest birding in the state can be had right here in Duneland: in the woods and wetlands and along the beaches at Indiana Dunes State Park (IDSP) and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

So itís no surprise that the Chesterton Town Council has jumped at the chance to become an Indiana Bird Town, a designation awarded by the Indiana Audubon Society.

At the councilís meeting Monday night, IDSP interpretive naturalist (and Audubon board member) Brad Bumgardner asked members to consider applying for the Indiana Bird Town title, awarded by Audubon to those communities which demonstrate an active and ongoing commitment to the protection and conservation of bird populations and habitat.

Indiana Bird Town designees receive a pair of 22íí x 25íí signs with the Indiana Bird Town logo, special mention on the website, and an electronic logo which can be used on municipal printed and digital materials.

What Audubon doesnít say is that bird tourism is a huge and growing industry across the country, with birders willing to travel great distances and spend good chunks of change for the chance to add new species to their lists.

In particular, Bumgardner said that the Town of Chesterton meets a number of the criteria set by Audubon for Indiana Bird Town designation:

*Itís a Tree City USA designee.

*Species, population, and migration data have been obtained by local researchers and volunteers from the local park system.

*The community contains at least part of a formally designated Important Bird Area.

*Chesterton volunteers have participated in the Christmas Bird Count, the Great Backyard Bird Count, and the Big May Day Count.

As a sweetener, Bumgardner told members that Audubon is waiving the fees for the first 10 communities to apply for the three-year designation.

Members voted unanimously to apply.

Posted 7/24/2013