There is clearly information that parents want to know about YMOS and the World Series of Birding (WSOB) Experience. The students will be coached, led and supervised by George Radcliffe and Dr. Wayne Bell throughout the experience. The group is also usually accompanied by a parent or two. Any other questions can be addressed to George Radcliffe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transportation is always a sticky issue because much of the scouting and birding on the Big Day are done by car. A team usually consists of 3-5 youth team members, a coach, and optimally a parent driver. One vehicle is used for the entire team because birds sighted, even from a vehicle, must be seen and confirmed by all team members. Safety is of paramount concern, and we try to minimize driving as much as possible. While many of the adult teams and a number of the youth teams cover all or most of the State of New Jersey on the Big Day, we try to focus our efforts on just Cape May County. Although this makes us less competitive with other youth teams, we feel this maximizes safety, conserves gas and cost, and still makes it possible to see/hear a large number of species. The best scenario is also a parent that is willing to drive. We will cover lodging, food, registration, and other WSOB costs for this individual.
It is always our goal to keep costs to students to a minimum. Costs include lodging for 4 nights, food, registration for the WSOB, a WSOB T-shirt for all participants, and the cost of attending the Awards Brunch on Sunday. A good pair of Eagle Optics binoculars and field guide will be loaned to any team member well in advance of the trip. Spotting scopes, field guides, and training CDs are also available for use by team members. The group conducts a March Birdathon each year to both practice and to raise money for the WSOB. Usually enough funds are raised to cover at least lodging and registration.
Our group has traditionally stayed at the Hyland Motor Inn (http://www.hylandmotorinn.com/)in Cape May Court House. The motel is centrally located in the County, reasonable in cost, clean, and well run. We have worked with the management there almost every one of the 10 World series of Birding trips we have attended. We also get one room that we can use for cooking and equipment storage; the motel also has barbecue grills for our use.
Should my child attend the full 5 days?
While we have had students join us later in the week, by far the best experience is for the student to go up with the group on Wednesday. Wednesday through Friday we are scouting the county, learning habitat, and learning bird identification by sight and call. Basically the students find the birds they are going to see on the Big Day. An experiences birder could miss the scouting and still be an asset to the team on the Big Day, but a less experienced birder would find the Big Day overwhelming without participating in the scouting.
George Radcliffe is a retired middle school teacher with 38 years of experience. He is the Youth Coordinator of the Maryland Ornithological Society (MOS). He lives in Cambridge, MD with his wife Jackie and retired recently to help take care of 2 of his grandchildren. He taught general and environmental science at Both Mace’s lane Middle School in Dorchester County and Centreville Middle School in Queen Anne’s County. He has taken youth teams to the World Series of Birding for the last 10 years.
Dr. Wayne Bell
Wayne Bell is a professor at Washington College and the past head of the Environment and Society Program at that college. He is also a world-renowned scientist, one of the top birders in the Mid-Atlantic Region, and Past President of the Maryland Ornithological Society. He lives in Easton, MD with his wife Joyce.