Birding Festivals that are Advancing Conservation

The Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua is an annual birding festival held each June in Lee Vining, California and hosted by the Mono Lake Committee and California State Parks. Each year, the event raises funds for bird research in the Mono Basin aimed at informing future policy decisions. Additionally, the Chautauqua recycles materials at all its events and allows ready access for our nation's youth and young adults by providing kids' programs free of charge and offering student registration discounts.
The Monterey Bay Birding Festival, held each September in the Monterey Bay region of California, has been in existence for over a decade. The festival works to advance bird conservation as follows. The event helps nourish a connection to wildlife and birds in the next generation by providing children's programs free of charge and by offering student registration discounts. Also, festival goers can attend a workshop on carbon-neutral birding in which they learn how to bird by bike or foot as well as how to offset the carbon footprint of their birding activities. Lastly, the festival provides education to attendees on the ongoing need to protect important slough habitats--as well as other native habitats--during its numerous field trips to the Watsonville Wetlands and Elkhorn Slough.
The Mountain Bird Festival, hosted by Klamath Bird Observatory and held in Ashland, Oregon, has been designed with bird conservation in mind. Every attendee (1) purchases a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation [Duck] Stamp, thereby supporting habitat acquisition and protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System; (2) purchases a Mountain Bird Conservation Science Stamp, thereby supporting Klamath Bird Observatory's science-based efforts to achieve ecosystem conservation in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the migratory ranges of the birds of the region; and (3) contributes bird sightings from festival field trips to the global eBird program, thereby increasing knowledge about bird distributions and abundances.
Lodi’s Sandhill Crane Festival, held each November and located in Lodi, California, is helping advance bird conservation by recognizing landowners who exemplify conservation stewardship through their actions on private land.
The San Diego Bird Festival, entering its 20th year, has long been an opportunity for birders to contribute to bird conservation in the San Diego area. Proceeds from the festival support the San Diego Audubon Society's general fund, benefiting conservation and education programs.
The Southeast Arizona Birding Festival offers a carbon-offset donation option to festival attendees and others to support local plantings of trees, shrubs, pollinator plants, and grasses that will provide additional bird and wildlife habitat while simultaneously sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. They also provide a nifty calculator to help you determine how much carbon you should offset, depending on how many miles you drove or the length of your flight. Learn more about their creative conservation program here.
The Southwest Wings Birding Festival, held in and around Sierra Vista, Arizona each year in August, has contributed to nature conservation in various ways. The festival has provided $1,000 college scholarships to local students interested in natural science, provided fishing line recycle containers to Parker Lake State Park and signage at Las Cienegas National Conservation Area, supported The Nature Conservancy Ramsay Canyon Kids Camp, aided BLM trail maintenance of birding trails along the San Pedro River, and supported the Master Naturalist Program for Cochise County.
The Wings Across the Big Sky Birding Festival is co-hosted by Five Valleys Audubon Society and held in June in and around Missoula, Montana.  The festival works toward the goal of carbon neutrality for the Audubon Montana Center by including within festival registration the opportunity for attendees to offset their carbon footprint from traveling to and from the festival. 
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Read the Birding Community e-Bulletin's June 2015 Tip of the Month: Ask about Festival Conservation Projects