Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 64

By ANGELA MINOR | Photos courtesy Staengl family
(with photo at center by Ezra)

CHAMPION
BIRDER AT
AGE 14

Ezra Staengl
HAS HIS EYE ON NATURE

The young Virginia naturalist is on a quest to protect nature
and inspire others to do the same.

E

zra Staengl was 10 years old on
his first outing with the Blue
Ridge Young Birders Club. It was
a winter field trip in hilly country on the West Virginia border.
"I remember feeling a little intimidated by the older boys, who
were so skilled at bird identification,"
Ezra says. "My seven-year-old brother was
bored because he wasn't that into birding
yet, so he threw a snowball at the club's
vice president. I was already nervous, and
that didn't help!"
In the four years since that winter day
Ezra has become a devoted birder, environmental proponent, active conserva-

64

BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

tionist, and burgeoning young naturalist.
"I've always loved being outside,"
he says. "When I was little, we lived in
downtown Charlottesville [Virginia].
Even though we had a very small yard,
we had a garden and chickens; and my
parents planted as many native and food
producing plants as they could. My
mom got our yard certified as a Backyard
Wildlife Habitat with the National Wildlife Federation. She took my brother and
me out to a nearby park almost every day
to play in the woods, creek, and pond.
Then she organized a community nature
play group for parents and kids."
This is where Ezra met Devin Floyd,

Founder and Director of the Center for
Urban Habitats (CUH)-a nonprofit for
advancing biodiversity education and
conservation in the Piedmont.
"I credit part of Ezra's success to his
family," says Floyd. "They foster and support an environment where learning and
pursuit of passion go hand-in-hand. At
CUH we want youth to be scientific experts in interpreting the environment and
its processes. Place-based inquiry, knowledge-building, and knowledge-sharing-
these components allow us to care for our
fellow humans and show compassionate
stewardship of the non-human world."
At present, Ezra grows local genotype


http://www.BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018

Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 5
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Cover4
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