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INDIANA DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE: On December 28, join in at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and be part of the longest running Citizen Science survey in the world: the Audubon's 112th annual Christmas Bird Count. Counts are taking place across the country from December 14, 2011 to January 5, 2012. Tens of thousands of participants, from beginner to expert, will help provide critical data on population trends and have a lot of fun while doing it. "Each volunteer observer is an important contributor, helping to shape the overall direction of bird conservation," says Geoff LeBaron, National Audubon's Christmas Bird Count Director.
Each count takes place within a "Count Circle" that focuses on a specific geographic area. The national lakeshore is hosting the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore West Circle. Park rangers and experienced volunteers will lead bird counts in the western sections of the park on December 28. If you can't come out to the park, but live in Burns Harbor, Portage, South Haven or Ogden Dunes you can do the count from your own backyard bird feeder.
"The Christmas Bird Count becomes more important every year," said Audubon President David Yarnold. "The information gathered by its army of dedicated volunteers leads directly to solutions. At a time when people wonder if individual actions can make a difference, we know that our volunteers enable scientists to learn about the impacts of environmental threats like climate change and habitat loss. That's good news not just for birds but for all of us".
To sign up for a national lakeshore bird count or to learn how you can help by counting the birds from your own backyard, contact park ranger Christy Gerlach by e-mail at Christine_Gerlach@nps.gov or call the national lakeshore's information desk at 219-395-1882.