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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 10:16 pm 
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Lincs Bird Club Member
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Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2014 9:39 pm
Posts: 347
Location: Cleethorpes
I have attended and enjoyed both the LBC annual guest lectures of the past two years - Mark Avery and Stuart Butchart

But both times I was struck by how few under-40s were present? In fact, quite a high number (including me) were over 60. As far as I could make out (though I may be wrong), there was not a single person aged under 20 in attendance in either year.

Why is this? Are today's young people not interested in birdwatching? Are we not doing enough to encourage them? If that is the case, the prospects for birdlife don't appear too bright.

But maybe holding the event in the evening discourages attendance by young people.

In future years, might it be worth considering holding the same event on a Saturday afternoon to make it more accessible to people of all age groups?


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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 9:22 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2004 6:44 pm
Posts: 1584
Location: Market Rasen
Hi Jim,
I think the simple answer is that young people are not particularly interested in AGM's. The BTO started subsidising youngsters to attend their Annual Conference some years ago but the take up was not great. The other thing is that they use social media and blogs more than the over '60's so not so many use this Forum now. I don't think you need worry too much - there are some excellent young birders out there


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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 12:12 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2014 9:39 pm
Posts: 347
Location: Cleethorpes
Thanks Stuart - that's reassuring, up to a point.

I can't remember when I last saw an under-20 birder in the field. Probably not since I was under 20.

When the national media carry a photo of hordes of birders scanning a mega-rarity, there are never any youngsters.

Unlike, say, angling, birding still seems to have an image problem with young people - as if it's not much different from car number spotting. In other words: deeply uncool.

Shame really.


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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 11:51 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:23 am
Posts: 298
Location: Gibraltar Point, Sykes Farm
Since I started birding in my early teens I have never really met any young birders at all. I'm currently 22 years old - its a real shame that there are so few young birders, I have met fewer than just 5 in the past 10 years!! I was really shocked when I attended Riseholme College (2008-2010), at just how few people are actually interested in this fascinating subject, the majority of people on my course (ND in Countryside Management) couldn't even tell the difference between a Coot and Moorhen! Although saying that the college was mostly emphasized upon agriculture and equine.

Regards,

Richard


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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 10:43 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 7:00 pm
Posts: 150
Location: Wyberton
I still think of myself as a young birder... Until I remember that I am now officially closer to 40 than 30. :(

Although I wouldn't dispute that it plays a part, I think the "uncool" thing is possibly over-played. I actually think it is a time issue. It seems to me that those developing an interest in birding are those whose children are a little bit older, whose partner is a little more understanding and whose social life is a little more regimented than it was in the hazy days of youth. Life is so fast for younger people these days, with so many other activities tugging for attention, that I think the more leisurely pursuit of watching birds is really indulged in by the most dedicated.

I know it is standard procedure to denigrate the young as idle and boorish, but schools appear to be throwing more homework at children than I remember and those starting out in employment often work the longest hours or least desireable shifts. On top of that you have hormones kicking in, friends demanding your attention, other hobbies that eat into your time and - the ultimate deterrent to an early Saturday/ Sunday morning traipse along a windy Lincolncolnshire sea-bank - the legal right to drink alcohol in great quantities until stupid o'clock in the AM.

Fond memories. :lol:

However, I don't see the need to hit the panic button. I read posts on here by the likes of Richard Doan and Anthony Bentley and, to be honest, I admire them both massively. Their passion makes me regret leaving it so late to return to birding. I also think it takes a degree of courage to be a young person willing to put your neck out amongst a group of peers with 30+ years experience. It can be quite a daunting thing to profer an opinion to people you admire - be it in a bird hide or on a forum! Similarly, I talk to the conservation interns who come through Frampton and they are all extraordinarily enthusiastic about what they are doing. They may not be tearing around the countryside chasing rares (probably because they can't afford it), but they all know their Auks from their Acros and many have found other roles working with various conservation groups.

Finally, on a more regional note, I believe I am correct in saying that this area has the largest RSPB WEX group in the UK? Obviously not all are going to become "birders", per se, but surely such engagement can be viewed with at least a little optimism?

I'm sure that we would all like to see more people pick up a pair of binoculars but, as is often the case, I don't think the future is as bleak as it appears either.

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"Accept that some days you are the pigeon, and some days you are the statue."

Patch YTD: 155


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