Topic: Non-contributing Members
Dear Dave Torr, Peter Thompson, Colin R, and Learned Members,
Thank you for opening up this thread about Non-contributing Members of this
excellent group. I hope that I will not be "burned publicly" as Colin R puts
it, for my humble contribution.
I joined this group and a local ornithological society a couple of years
ago, in order to learn a lot more about birds and birding. Over the period
I have read most daily [BIRDING-AUS] posts and attended the great majority
of the society's meetings.
My conclusion from personal observation and a few contributions to both
groups is that there is no obvious place in either of these vast birding
knowledge resources, for the keen newcomer to birding to post "learner
level" questions. Learner level here does not mean "stupid" questions.
Experts have a very important role to play in protecting birds, researching
other scientific bird issues, and talking among themselves. In my opinion,
they also have a vital role to play in bringing up the next generation of
"birders". I see very little of that newcomer focus in this group, or my
local society. Perhaps newcomers should belong elsewhere, but where?
I do however give great credit to a couple of individuals in my local
society, for the time and effort that they put into short Identification
courses, but that seems to be the sum total of "nurturing" of newcomers.
As a result I have joined the band of do-it-yourself birding database
builders (using Visual Basic, SQL and Access Database) purposefully aimed at
helping me identify birds by colour, size, overall shape, location etc etc.
instead of browsing backwards and forwards through field guides, hoping to
find "my bird"!
When it was suggested to me that this programme was potentially very useful
in teaching other newcomers, and even potentially "commercial" in the
birding newcomers market, I tried to get the interest of some local birding
"experts", to no avail.
So, in essence I hope that this [BIRDING-AUS] thread could discuss this
group's current and future roles in relation to both "experts" and
"nurturing newcomers", and the ornithological "industry" (which dare I say
includes local birding societies) approach to taking the birding faith out
to the heathens, and developing their birding faith thereafter?
In this vein, I hope public burning of dissenters and fools really did die
out centuries ago!