LAKESIDE, OHIO—Mark your calendar: on September 17—20, 2009, the Midwest Birding Symposium (MBS) is returning to Ohio for the first time in a decade. The charming Victorian Chautauqua community of Lakeside will repeat as the host site for this year’s event. The MBS will feature presentations by North America’s leading experts, an extensive vendor area with nature products and information, birding at the area’s top birding spots, and the opportunity for both novice and experienced birders to network with fellow enthusiasts.
Among the many superb speakers slated for this world-class event are Tony Award-winning actress Jane Alexander, nationally-syndicated humorist Al Batt, National Public Radio commentator Julie Zickefoose, Pulitzer Prize finalist Scott Weidensaul, Roger Tory Peterson Award winner Kenn Kaufman, and Bird Watcher’s Digest editor Bill Thompson, III. Our most recent addition to the speaking lineup is author and illustrator David Allen Sibley, who will debut his new book The Sibley Guide to Trees.
The MBS is organized and hosted by Bird Watcher’s Digest, the Ohio Ornithological Society, and the Lakeside Association. This premier birding event is expected to attract a capacity crowd of up to 1,000 birders from around the continent to the shores of Lake Erie.
The Midwest Birding Symposium is a non-profit birding event held every other year in the Midwest. Since the first symposium in the Chicago suburbs in 1989, the event has been held in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The symposium was held in Lakeside, Ohio, in 1997 and 1999, drawing 1,000 people each time. The MBS donates a portion of the net proceeds to conservation organizations and causes.
During the past three decades, bird watching has grown in popularity, with about 50 million United States residents taking part in this hobby. Meanwhile, the bird-watching and bird-feeding industries have soared to more than $14 billion in annual sales.
In addition, the Midwest Birding Symposium is partnering with Birders’ Exchange and Eagle Optics to facilitate the MBS/Birders’ Exchange program. Attendees will have the opportunity to donate their old-but-still-useable binoculars and spotting scopes during the symposium. Birders’ Exchange will collect the optics, clean them, and see that they are delivered to needy guides, researchers, and programs in the American tropics.
This year’s symposium has been made possible by major sponsorship support from Wingscapes, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Swarovski Optik, Field Guides Birding Tours Worldwide, and RRI Energy, Inc. Sponsorship opportunities are still available.
Visit midwestbirding.org to register for the MBS and for the latest programming and schedule updates. Please call 800-879-2473 x 314 with general questions or for more information about MBS sponsorship.