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Contact: Elsa Alvear, 786-335-3623
Contact: Laura Reynolds, 305-667-7337
Contact: Matt Johnson, 786-335-3679
Biscayne National Park and Tropical Audubon Society have launched the Biscayne Birding Trail, a fun certificate-earning program for visitors who like wildlife and the outdoors. The program awards achievement certificates at various levels based on the numbers of bird species spotted in the park. The program is free, and available to any park visitor at the park's Dante Fascell Visitor Center. "We hope that both seasoned birders and visitors who would like to learn how to identify birds will be inspired to keep lists of the beautiful birds that can be seen in Biscayne National Park," said Park Superintendent Brian Carlstrom.
Full-color certificates are awarded at four lifetime achievement levels starting at a life list of 30 native park bird species (Double-crested Cormorant, beginner) and culminating at 120 species (Mangrove Cuckoo, expert). A kid just starting out birding can earn the special recognition of a "Junior Birder" Brown Pelican certificate for seeing ten or more bird species in the park. To keep birders looking and listing, visitors can earn an annual achievement award certificate as well. Laura Reynolds, Executive Director of Tropical Audubon Society, envisions the Biscayne Birding Trail as a pilot program for other national parks, and hopes the program will also spur interest in conservation of natural habitats for birds. "The Audubon Society recognizes that many of the largest natural areas, such as Biscayne Bay, which are so important as bird habitat, now exist only in protected areas such as national parks."
To earn a certificate, visitors need only fill out a bird checklist, available at the park's Dante Fascell Visitor Center (located at 9700 SW 328 Street, Homestead) attesting that the birds were seen within the boundaries of the park. A ranger will verify the count and immediately present the certificate. Lifetime achievement certificates can be awarded at any time, but the annual achievement certificates would be only available through the following calendar year. Certificates must be presented in person; they cannot be mailed.
For more information on this program, visit http://www.nps.gov/bisc/planyourvisit/biscayne-birding-trail.htm.
For additional information about the park, visit www.nps.gov/bisc. For regular updates from the park "like" us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/biscaynenps, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/biscaynenps.
About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.