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From Steve Shunk - January 5, 2006

Greetings all,
With the new year, we are happy to share four pieces of exciting news about
the Oregon Coast Birding Trail project.
We want to extend our greatest appreciation to those agencies and
organizations who have already sent in cash sponsorship funding for the
project. Please patronize these organizations and communities and thank them
for their support of birding tourism:
- Del Norte County, California (yes, that's right, California!) -
http://www.northerncalifornia.net/ : $10,000
- Oregon Coast Visitors Association - http://www.visittheoregoncoast.com/ :
- Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development: $5,000
- Oregon Parks and Recreation Department: $5,000
- Convention and Visitors Association of Lane County -
http://www.visitlanecounty.org/ : $1,000
- Inn at Spanish Head - http://www.spanishhead.com/ : $1,000
- WildSpring Guest Habitat (Pt. Orford) - http://www.wildspring.com/ :
We closed the site nominations process at the end of October with a whopping
220+ sites offered up for inclusion in the project. Thanks to all of you who
nominated your favorite birding spots, we will have a trail jam-packed with
outstanding birding.
We are still shooting for our May dedication ceremony, so our time is short.
We will need your help with the site review process over the coming months.
If you are interested in helping us review the nominated sites, please
contact me as soon as possible. We will schedule some sort of orientation
(likely on-line) later this month to teach you about the selection criteria
and how to look at these sites from a tourist's-eye-view.
After June 2005, Audubon Society of Portland was no longer able to serve as
fiscal sponsor for the project. We struggled the remainder of the year
trying to recruit a new long-term fiscal sponsor. In mid-December, the
Oregon Coast Visitors Association board of directors voted in favor of OCVA
becoming the new "home" for the Oregon Coast Birding Trail.
Special thanks to Rebecah Morris, executive director of OCVA, for her
patience and support in pushing this decision through its process, and
thanks to the OCVA board for having the vision to lead the project into the
future. We are confident that OCVA is the best possible organization to take
the reins.
Since we did not have a fiscal sponsor the last six months of the year, it
was difficult to fundraise. We had our eye on some grant prospects, but we
needed an organization to step-up as an applicant. Enter the Friends at
Haystack Rock. Thanks to their willingness to also take a leadership role in
the project, we secured a $55,000 grant from the National Forest Foundation
at the end of December.
The NFF grant requires non-federal cash match in order for any funds to be
released. That is, we only get the $55,000 if we raise another $55,000.
Since we want the Trail Guide printed in time for International Migratory
Bird Day in May, we only have a few months to raise the matching funds.
Those of you who wish to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to
promote your businesses or communities need to get on board fast. We have a
brand new sponsorship sheet that we can send you that covers all the
details, and we have the capability to make presentations to your groups if
If we have talked with you about sponsorship in the past, please check in to
let us know if you still intend to become a sponsor or advertiser. If we
don't hear from you first, you can count on hearing from us in the next few
Thanks to Audubon Society of Portland for carrying us through the first 12
months of the project. We know all about competing priorities and we are
grateful for their early support.
A final major thanks goes to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (Coastal
Refuge Complex), and especially Dawn Grafe, for helping to keep the engine
running through our first 18 months of project development. Thanks also to
her superiors, Roy Lowe and Rebecca Chuck, for making the birding trail part
of Dawn's already packed agenda.
More updates will be forthcoming over the next couple months. If you know
someone who might like to be on this mailing list, please send me their
email address and we'll get them on board. Get out and enjoy the SNOWY OWLS
at the coast, and we'll talk to you soon!
Steve Shunk
OCBT Facilitator
Stephen Shunk
Community Solutions
Sisters, Oregon
" Creative solutions for small businesses and rural communities"
541-549-8826 (home)
541-408-1753 (cell)
541-549-8937 (fax)

Become a supporter today....

Organizers of an innovative coastal tourism project invited community members to attend one of eight public meetings scheduled during the first two weeks of May, 2005, featuring the Oregon Birding Trail as a unique association between conservation and economic development. The second of up to nine birding trails statewide, the Oregon Coast Birding Trail will be a 350-mile, self-guided driving tour running the entire length of the Oregon coastline. The "trail" will link up to 150 current birding and wildlife viewing sites along existing highways and byways to feature the diversity of birds, birding opportunities, and scenic wonders throughout the region. Project organizers held eight outreach meetings during the first two weeks of May to share plans for the trail with local community members. Each meeting included a presentation by community development consultant, Stephen Shunk, one of the founders of Oregon's birding trail system. Project organizers also presented a wide variety of opportunities for community participation. Meetings were held in Lincoln City, Seaside, Tillamook, Newport, Coos Bay, Florence, Port Orford, Brookings.

The Oregon Birding Trails project follows a trend now evident in more than two dozen states across the country. By appealing to the rapidly growing constituency of recreational birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts, birding trails have become a valuable conservation and economic development tool for local communities. A 2001 survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that 46 million Americans consider themselves birding enthusiasts, and nearly 6 million of these birders travel outside their home state specifically to watch birds.

Shunk believes that public involvement is a key element of the project's success. "We want traveling birders to visit the Oregon Coast, and we want to help coastal communities optimize the benefits of birding tourism," Shunk explained. "When birders visit the trail, they will rent cars, sleep in motels, and eat at local restaurants. They will also purchase souvenirs that will later remind them of their outstanding birding experience in Oregon. The more involved communities become in the project, the more they will reap the potential economic benefits from birders visiting their towns. The site nomination process represents just one opportunity to make this happen."

Birding trail sponsors invite the public to nominate their favorite coastal birding spots through October 1, 2005. Individuals may nominate sites through the project website at http://www.oregonbirdingtrails.org, or they may request a nomination form at 541-867-4550. Each of Oregon's birding trails features a distinct geographical region of the state's diverse landscape. Bob Altman of the American Birding Conservancy, one of the project's statewide sponsors, sees this system of trails as an important catalyst for protecting Oregon's birds and their habitats. "Once Oregon communities realize the untapped economic value of their avian inhabitants, we hope they will be inspired to protect sensitive natural areas," Altman said. "If the habitats are not protected, the birds will go elsewhere and so will the birders."

The Oregon Coast Birding Trail will be funded by contributions from federal, state, and local agencies, as well as a host of business and non-profit organizations. Organizers need the public's support to help raise over $200,000 before the trail dedication on International Migratory Bird Day, May 13, 2006. Sponsorship and promotional packages are available at many levels. For more information on sponsorship opportunities, upcoming public meetings, or other involvement in the Oregon Coast Birding Trail, contact Stephen Shunk at 541-408-1753.

Lincoln City
The first meeting in Lincoln City was held on Tuesday, May 3 at the Inn at Spanish Head. Stephen Shunk presented information. The Oregon Cascades Birding Trail was the first trail to be completed. The Oregon Coast Birding Trail is the second trail. Each trail has a unique feather design - so nice!
A second meeting was held to nominate birding sites for consideration. Betty Nicholson is working with the organizers.

Businesses and individuals are encouraged to donate to this project.
Lincoln City business supporters as of June 1, 2005
Inn at Spanish Head - $1,000

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