The BCFO Young Birder Award welcomes talented young birders into the BC birding community providing them with recognition, opportunity, encouragement, and mentoring.
We present Young Birder Awards to youth who meet certain qualifications. To be selected for a BCFO Young Birder Award, recipients must be between 11 and 18 years of age, and have:
• exceptional observational and birding skills well beyond the ‘novice’ level;
• shown substantive engagement in the activities of the birding community through their accomplishments, participation, and contributions;
• been nominated and sponsored by a BCFO member, and approved by the Board of Directors.
2020 is the seventh year of the BCFO Awards Program as we continue to find many young, keen, committed birders from around BC. Each recipient receives a free membership to BCFO until age 18, a memorial plaque, and a stylish BCFO ball cap.
Congratulations to Nicholas Croft and Gaelen Schnare the 2020 BCFO Young Birder Award recipients. They join the ranks of a very talented and growing group of British Columbia young birders.
Nicholas Croft started birding in 2015 when he was eight years old. His favourite birding places include Tofino, Waterton Lakes and the Okanagan. He recently joined two Young Birder Program field trips to Kamloops and the Southern Okanagan. On these trips he saw many lifers, with the highlight being a family of Great Grey Owls. Nicholas has done one pelagic trip, which he loved and hopes to do more. Nicholas recently helped OWL release an injured and rehabilitated Northern Saw-whet Owl.
His passion for birds was rewarded at the Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair where he won an award for his project assessing winter bird use of the Hope Bay estuary. Nicholas has also contributed to citizen science through the annual CBC4Kids on Pender Island, and helps out with the BC Coastal Waterbird Survey, a program of Birds Canada and Environment Canada.
Birding for Nicholas also has an artistic side. Developing and honing his photography skills has resulted in four photo exhibitions on Pender Island. Nicholas hopes to experience a whole new world of birding when he goes to Australia next year.
Gaelen has a deep love for all things bird-related. He is an impressive young person and an impressive birder. Possessing a keen eye and unbridled enthusiasm, he is also very good with a camera; framing and selling his photos at various art shows.
As a citizen scientist, Gaelen contributes his bird observations through eBird, and also posts his natural history observations to iNaturalist. He regularly gives presentations about birds at the annual Creston Valley Bird Festival, and has led tours at that festival for young birders – a mentor already.
Gaelen also gives presentations to local Nelson schools, and participates in the Nelson Christmas Bird Count. This past summer, he and his father accompanied friends to Saskatchewan to bird the Grasslands National Park.