We can also help you master the skills to become a better birder. ASWP’s Master Birder program is modeled after the very successful Master Gardener program, and will help advance intermediate birders’ skills to reach a higher level of proficiency. This program is designed to provide participants with techniques to enhance their existing avian identification skills including identification by sight and sound, and understanding avian biology, local ecology, and habitat requirements in southwestern Pennsylvania. Applicants should be at least intermediate-level birders who are familiar with the birds of Western Pennsylvania.
Participants will have 12 weeknight lectures throughout the semester on Wednesday evenings at Beechwood, along with a birding field trip each weekend complementing the classroom sessions. These field trips are designed to reinforce class subject matter and to get firsthand experience with the breadth of birds that occur in Western Pennsylvania.
These sessions will require the participants the ability to drive or carpool to sites, which will be 2-3 hours of birding and using identification skills discussed and developed in the classroom setting. Trips will be scheduled on Saturdays or Sundays depending on time of year, hunting season, etc. These walks will take place at birding hotspots around Western Pennsylvania’s, including all of ASWP’s properties and other locations across the region. A significant part of attaining and keeping ones Master Birder certification is robust volunteer component, where young naturalists will benefit from the knowledge and enthusiasm of adults who have gone through the Master Birder program.