About the Club

Our mission is to expand and empower a sustainable community of young birders (10-18 years old) in Massachusetts. Our purpose is to guide youth in building their understanding and love of birds and nature.
 

Birdwatching has fostered connections to the outdoors for generations, but today, younger birders are scarce in birdwatching circles. Testimonials from young birders reveal a common theme: feelings of isolation and a wish to know other young birders. Many other young people also have an untapped passion for birds and nature, do not have regular access to the outdoors, or don't have friends and mentors that can share knowledge, enthusiasm, and creativity for birding.

 

The Massachusetts Young Birders Club was created for young birders to connect, and for young people of all backgrounds who haven't birded before to discover a new passion alongside a community of their peers. This Club is run by its members with the support of near-peer mentors. The community provides inclusive opportunities to lead, to build knowledge about birds and nature, and to form connections and a sense of stewardship to the land around us. Our primary tenet is simple: birding is for everyone.

We are currently recruiting Club Members and Mentors!

Our hope is that Club Members will eventually have the largest say in how the club is run, what kind of events we hold, etc. This is a club by young birders for young birders.

A bright Magnolia Warbler singing in a tree in spring.
Magnolia Warbler by Evan Dalton

Meet the Coordinators

Jeremy Spool holding a Sawhet Owl during a raptor demonstration.

Jeremy Spool

Western MA Co-Coordinator
Jeremy is a Postdoctoral Researcher at UMass Amherst with a PhD in Zoology studying bird behavior, hormones, and the brain. Since he began birding for work and for the love of it in college, Jeremy has spread his love of birding to friends and family, and leads local Bird-a-thon and participates in Christmas Bird Count teams. Jeremy has a great deal of experience working with youth. In 2010-2013, he managed a volunteer team for EBAYC in Oakland, California, which runs afterschool programs for underserved youth. From 2014-2017 he joined Young Science Scholars, a program that pairs graduate students and elementary school teachers to enhance science lessons in classrooms.
Kit Straley holding a Swainson's Thrush at Braddock Bay Bird Observatory, where she learned how to band birds.

Kit Straley

Western MA Co-Coordinator
Kit is a graduate student at UMass Amherst, studying how Wood Thrushes use human-disturbed forest patches to nest and raise their young. She has worked with age groups ranging from kindergartners to adults, and led explorations of the natural world with environmental education programming through organizations like Mass Audubon.
She teaches Ornithology at UMass and leads students in the field to discover a love for birds, and to develop a sense of stewardship for the habitats that support them. Kit also leads a territory in the Northampton Christmas Bird Count and volunteers at a MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) station as a bird bander.
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Evan Dalton

Eastern MA Coordinator
Evan Dalton has been a student of nature for as long as he can remember. He majored in biology at Earlham College, where he studied herpetology and ornithology. Evan earned his M.S. studying Wood Thrushes in western Massachusetts, and has worked in field jobs ranging from capturing iguanas in the Bahamas to radio-tracking overwintering American Oystercatchers on the gulf coast. An NABC certified bird bander, Evan now works at Manomet Bird Observatory in Plymouth, Massachusetts where he helps supervise the 55-year-old migration banding operation and shares the results through educational programing. An avid birder, Evan has led bird walks for over 15 years. He enjoys teaching birders (of any skill level and age) all about bird identification, vocalizations and ecology.