FIELD TRIP LEADERS – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW AND TO DO
(15 Sept. 2009)
Several people have asked for information regarding the expectations for leading a Whidbey Audubon field trip. What level of expertise in birding is expected, where should you go, and what is expected of the leader? The following bullets identify key information that you need to lead a trip.
Level of birding expertise – you do not need to be a birding superstar to lead a trip, but you should have basic knowledge and visual ID skills of the common birds of Whidbey. You can assume that there will be good birders along with you who can assist in the identification of species that you do not know. Your primary task is to choose a location and facilitate the trip.
Most trips focus on birds, but feel free to talk about other species – plants or animals as they are available.
Pick a location for your trip. They do not all need to be on Whidbey Island.
Determine the amount of time needed – half day or full day.
Scout the site a few days prior to your trip. Where are birds concentrating? What species are present? This will allow you to focus on the most productive areas.
Locate available bathroom facilities should that become necessary for trip participants.
Request copies of the current Shorelines from the Newsletter Editor to give to first time participants to encourage them to become members of Whidbey Audubon.
Request copies of the Whidbey Island bird checklist from the Field Trip Chair to hand out to participants.
Notify the Whidbey Audubon Field Trip Chairperson of your desire to lead a trip – where and when. When asked by the FTC, prepare a description of your trip and send it via e-mail to the FTC. The description will be published in Shorelines as well as in local newspapers and on the web page. If the trip is all day, be sure to recommend that participants bring a lunch. Description must include meeting time, meeting location, length of time (half or full day), level of physical output/condition expected, and trip leader contact for information/cancellation details (phone and/or e-mail). Example of a description:
“Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009: Whidbey Audubon Field Trip. Enjoy a morning of birding in the Coupeville area – Crockett Lake, Penn Cove, and other sites as time permits. Half-day trip. Meet at 9 a.m. in the State Park parking lot near the Keystone ferry (across the road from the restaurant). Some walking required. If windy and/or cold, dress in layers that can be removed. Contact the trip leader, Joe Sheldon for information/details/and weather cancellation-- 360-678-9060. The public is invited.”
During the field trip, record the species seen at each location. Ideally you will also record numbers of each species. This information will be used in the preparation of a field trip report. The report should be prepared soon after the trip and sent to the Newsletter Editor for publication in Shorelines. See past issues of shorelines for examples of recent reports.
Most of all have fun!