Volunteering abroad - a request to birding Aus members?

To: Marie Tarrant <>
Subject: Volunteering abroad - a request to birding Aus members?
From: Russ <>
Date: Thu, 20 Oct 2011 00:22:40 +1100
Hi Marie

I hope we can do that - and I think we can probably do a bit more. My old
bins don't even qualify as a spare "car set" any more, and I think they are
probably beyond repair. Many of us will be in the same position. Also, I'm
not likely to be in a position to do any serious birding travel for a year
or two. But what I do have is an income - rather small at the moment, but I
have job interviews around the corner :-)

Birding-Aus members raised our own funds to support a couple of species in
HANZAB some years ago. It would be interesting to see how much we could
raise so that you could purchase one or two pairs of binoculars to take to
Sri Lanka. We might even be able to put a bit of pressure on one of the
retailers to give us a discount price. There are about 1000 birding-aus
readers, so if every second one donated their spare change we'd have more
than enough to get a couple of pair. More realistically, if those members
who have ever benefited by being shown around by a local could pledge a few
dollars, a couple of pair  would be a realistic target.

Comments to the list, please, everyone. I doubt we could make it tax
deductable, but I'd be happy to have donors listed on the birding-aus
website (with their permission) - what do you all think?

Russell Woodford
Birding-Aus List Owner

On Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 8:37 PM, Marie Tarrant <> wrote:

> Next year will be my fourth year combining a birding trip abroad with
> working as a volunteer on an environmental project in the country I’ll
> visit
> to bird.
> I love it and for me, volunteering is the perfect way to ‘give back as well
> as take away a great experience' in a third world country where most of the
> population live in poverty and can only dream of what it must be to travel
> abroad and to have expensive items like cameras and binoculars to support
> your hobby.
> This September I volunteered and then birded in North Sulawesi and for the
> birding part of my trip I was fortunate to use a great local bird guide
> who’s also selflessly developing the bird ID skills of a small group of
> young men in his village outside of Tangkoko NP so that they will one day
> become great guides themselves.  Between all of them they have a
> substandard
> pair of binos for practise and no hope of having the finances needed to buy
> a pair.  That’s not the only trip I made where it’s been obvious to me how
> hugely beneficial it can be to donate second hand binos to such ventures –
> it’s also got the added benefit of encouraging a love of birds and the
> desire by locals to protect birds and nature – it can provide a small
> income.
> Of course, on my return each time I’ve wanted  to coordinate the collection
> of second hand binos people are willing to offer, yet posting them on is
> fraught with all the unreliability of whether they’ll actually make it in
> one piece and whether they’ll be apprehended and happily ‘confiscated’
> along
> the way.  Tales abound of such items never making it to their destination.
> We also did it after a birding trip to Uganda several years ago but never
> heard if the binos arrived – we suspect they didn’t.
> So, to cut to the chase, next May I’ll be visiting Sri Lanka to bird and to
> volunteer at a project based in Wasgomuwa NP ‘Saving Elephants by Helping
> People’ project to address human-elephant conflicts.  The same group that
> runs that project, are also looking at how to develop a community based
> program to support bird conservation especially to work with school
> children
> and so it would be great to be in a position to take a pair or two along
> with me for the project.
> Maybe there’s someone out there on Birding Oz who just happens to have a
> spare pair, gathering dust?   If so it’d be nice to hear from you and work
> something out………..please respond off-list or whatever's appropriate.
> --
> Marie Tarrant
> Kobble Creek,  Qld
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