Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 65

FACING PAGE:
Ezra Staengl
Bronze Award
at the 2018
American Birding
Association Young
Birder of the Year
Competition
included an
honorable
mention for his
photography.
LEFT: Ezra got
photographically
up close and
personal with
these chestnutsided warblers.

plants, conducts surveys, and writes for
CUH. "He has a drive to explore, passion for learning, great imagination, an
artful eye, and a knack for storytelling,"
Floyd says.
Ezra's efforts have recently been rewarded at the 2018 American Birding Association Young Birder of the Year Competition. Ezra's works won a Silver Award
in the writing and field notes modules.
He also scored an Honorable Mention for
the photography module; and his combined numbers earned him the overall
Bronze Award for his age group. (To view
Ezra's various skills, visit his website-
BirdsAndBuds.com.)

"Birding gets me outside and provides a window into the rest of nature.
I choose local birding destinations based
on my assessment of the habitats, and
what birds could be associated with
them," Ezra says. Some of his favorite
Virginia area spots include Rockfish Valley Trail system, James River State WMA,
Ivy Creek NA, Rivanna Trail-Belvedere
section, Ragged Mountain NA, Chincoteague NWR, Dutch Gap Conservation Area, and "the 17 acres my family
now lives on. I've been to Costa Rica and
Ecuador for their amazing bird diversity.
On my trips I take binoculars, a spotting
scope, digital camera with zoom lens,

and way more field guides than any sane
person should have."
In addition to birds, Ezra has a deep interest and scientific approach to studying
dragonflies, butterflies, and plants.
"Some plants are more challenging
to identify than birds. I've been interested in native orchids for a long time.
They are my favorite plant family. Specifically, I love the orange-fringed orchid (Platanthera ciliaris), which I've
seen in North Carolina."
When asked about environmental
concerns, he says: "Obviously, nature
faces many important threats. Global
climate change, habitat loss, and invasive
species are some huge, seemingly-impossible-to-solve problems. These and others are contributing to the loss of species
from our landscapes, both locally and
globally. Biodiversity loss is extremely
concerning, as it is essential for the resilience and health of ecosystems on which
all life depends.
"To create positive change and solve
these problems, I write on my blog about
my experiences with nature. I want to inform people about how much there is to
lose, and inspire them to take action to
protect all environments. On one post
I wrote about a globally rare plant community in Loudoun County, Virginia that
was slated for development. It got over
1,000 views. I hope to continue to inspire
people to love nature," he says.
Mary Mapel, Adult Coordinator (and
founding member with son Gabriel) of
the Blue Ridge Young Birders Club, notes
that, "as more children become engaged
in nature they begin to see the interconnection of life as a whole, and are motivated to take responsibility to protect the
environment and savor its many gifts.
Our growing club has allowed kids to
come together and share the camaraderie
of peers through seeing birds and joining
the conservation movement. Birding is
now a 'cool' pastime!"
Ezra concluded, "Happily, Andrew
[the club's V.P.] responded with good humor, and soon everyone was involved in
a memorable snowball fight. My brother
and I felt welcomed, and learned a lot
from their patient and generous help on
one of my first birding adventures. And,
we saw 15 bald eagles that day!"

JULY/AUGUST 2018

65


http://www.BirdsAndBuds.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
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 8
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 27
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - 65
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2018 - Cover4
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