SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. – Explore the outdoors, see birds and other wildlife, compete for fun, enjoy free food: What’s there not to like about Georgia’s Youth Birding Competition?

The 14th annual event is April 26-27, and youth from kindergarten to high school seniors are invited to join the adventure. No birding experience is necessary: Just a desire to learn and get outdoors.

Coordinator Tim Keyes of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources said involving children and teens in birding, the outdoors and conservation has always been the motivation for the competition.

Even for youth new to identifying bird species, the event is “a great opportunity to learn, spend the outdoors in a fun, almost scavenger hunt atmosphere … and tap into a broader community of kids who are passionate about birds,” said Keyes, a wildlife biologist with DNR’s Wildlife Conservation Section.

March 31 is the deadline to register for the 24-hour statewide birdathon. Register and learn more at Mentors are available for birding novices, but please sign up soon.

How does the Youth Birding Competition work?

Teams of from two to five youth sign up and compete in one of four age divisions. (There is a prize category for first-year teams.) Participants can volunteer to raise money for conservation.

The contest starts at 5 p.m. Friday, April 26, and ends at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 27. Groups may use as much or as little of that time to count as many birds as possible anywhere in Georgia.
But teams must turn in their checklists at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center near Mansfield by 5 p.m. Saturday. The youth are then treated to an animal show and a prize-packed awards banquet.

The competition also includes a T-shirt Art Contest. Deadline to

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