• Gettysburg National Military Park

    Gettysburg

    National Military Park Pennsylvania

"Birds with a Gettysburg Address" Program September 6

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Date: August 9, 2013
Contact: Katie Lawhon, (717) 334-1124, ext. 3121
Contact: Bonnie Portzline, (717) 254-0033

"Birds with a Gettysburg Address" is the topic of a special September 6 evening campfire program at Gettysburg National Military Park. The free program begins at 8:30 p.m.at the park amphitheater on West Confederate Avenue. It will feature a digital slideshow and chat with Bonnie Portzline about her birding experiences and many of the more than 125 species she has seen in and around the fields and woods of Gettysburg National Military Park. 

During the presentation, Portzline chats with the audience as if they were birding, sharing stories and highlights while identifying - sometimes with their help - species she has photographed. She also shares aviary associations with the Civil War history of Gettysburg. One hint: Birds have had a monumental presence at Gettysburg for more than a century.

“In this year of historic anniversaries, we also recognize the ecological importance of the battlefield as habitat for birds of song and grassland — as well as other species of creatures and nature,” according to Portzline. “The National Audubon Society named the grasslands of the southern part of the Gettysburg battlefield and beyond an Important Birding Area needing conservation to preserve habitat for birds not often seen by the public as they nest and raise new generations.”

Portzline served as an educator for the local Audubon chapter, South Mountain Audubon Society, through which she began to share slideshows of Adams County birds and "National Geographic moments" she has 'captured' by camera. She has written a monthly column, "Bird's Eye View," for a local newspaper.

Portzline became fascinated by birds in 2000 while on lunch rides with a friend who began teaching her to identify species in and around the battlefield.  While most people study the military history, she started to study and photograph the beautiful, fascinating natural environment.

Born and raised in the Harrisburg area, she has not stopped taking photos since her parents gave her a little film camera on her sixth birthday — at a picnic at the home of friends in Gettysburg. She chose to settle in Gettysburg soon after graduating from Gettysburg College (1982) and finishing a year in graduate school in Chicago. She worked as a photographer for both schools. During a year off, she was in photography and public relations at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in D.C.

This program is sponsored by Gettysburg National Military Park. Throughout the summer months the National Park Service presents free campfire programs at Gettysburg’s amphitheater every night of the week at8:30 p.m. This summer’s last regularly scheduled campfire program isAugust 24. The September 6thprogram is a special event. To learn more about Gettysburg National Military Park programs go to: www.nps.gov/gett.

Did You Know?

Confederate and Union veterans with President Wilson at Gettysburg.

In July 1913, over 50,000 Union and Confederate veterans camped at Gettysburg National Military Park to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the battle.