WABASH VALLEY (WTHI) - Birding is a hobby for some. And the Wabash Valley Audubon Society and RiverSCAPE are partnering up to enhance that experience. They will try to fill the gap in Indiana’s official birding guide.
Lorrie Heber, a Board Member with RiverSCAPE says, “We get an abundance of wildlife and an abundance of beautiful birds and we have abundant opportunities for people to bird.”
Heber sees birding as a unique way to increase economic development as well as to protect our wildlife in the Wabash Valley.
A study done by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service showed that there are 47 million birdwatchers, or “birders”, in the U.S. A birder is defined by someone who travels one mile or more from home for the primary purpose of observing birds.
The state of Indiana comes in at 18th overall for birding in the U.S. That’s about 23% of the state’s population.
Riverscape and the Wabash Valley Audubon Society are trying to get our area more involved by creating a local guide for birders.
Storm Team 10 spoke with Carissa Lovett, a Naturalist for the City of Terre Haute. And she says they are just beginning the process.
“The Indiana Audubon Society has made a birding trail guide. And then we got Wabashiki added to that this year. So we are in the area that’s really the only thing in our area that’s on the map right now but we are working on getting more in there.”
This local guide will include 5 counties; Vermillion, Parke, Clay, Vigo, and Sullivan Counties. Lovett explains that the guide is never set in stone. And you can help add new areas.
“Every year we will submit new places and if you know of any you can submit them to the Wabash Valley Audubon Society and we can maybe get them in that guide.”
The guide will not only give birders a good resource. But Heber says many areas in the Wabash Valley can benefit from this industry.
“It’s estimated that there’s $107 Billion dollars worth of tourism dollars that are spent through birding activities each year in the United States. That’s amazing! And I think we’d like to have some of that.”
If you want to submit areas to the Audubon Society, you can contact them through their website at www.wabashvalleyaudubonsociety.org/.