We all know the birding is good in Northwest Indiana. We know that great birds can be seen here in each of the four seasons. The birding sites that exist in the dunes are fabulous places to observe each of the birding aspects that birders enjoy greatly. It reminds me that a key to great birding is to have birding support. Communities, governments, park systems that also recognize birding as a popular hobby. Their support and promotion of it further’s the momentum. For many of these entities, the ultimate bottom line is the dollar. Thus birding tourism is important for their continued promotion of birding, whether by simple brochures, birding towers, paid staff to educate, or simply a pit toilet where the birders are parking.
Enter Indiana Audubon Society. As one of the oldest Audubon groups in the nation (established 1898), the society works to bring birding to the fore front, as well as connect birders via their field trips, festivals, and young birder activities. In 2013, a new program was introduced that works to bridge the birding sites and birders with the community support needed to bring birding more mainstream. Modeled after a similar Wisconsin program, Bird Town Indiana seeks to recognize communities in Indiana that demonstrate an active and ongoing commitment to the protection and conservation of bird populations and habitat.
Like Tree City USA, towns or cities that are eligible simply apply and if qualified, can get recognition through the Indiana Audubon. Large signs will be prominent in these recognized communities, letting birders know that this town has educational efforts, conservation efforts, and more all in support of birds.
This upcoming fall, the first Bird Town Indiana’s will be designated by the Society. Geneva, IN will hold the distinction as the first town. While exciting, how about city number two? Welcome Chesterton, IN as the second town to enter the program. Once officially approved by the Indiana Audubon, expect to see these signs as you enter or the duneland area. Bring your binoculars…