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By LeeAnn Latremouille, Saskatchewan Breeding Birds Atlas Coordinator, Birds Canada 

In late September, Birds Canada held a Banquet for Birds at the historic Delta Bessborough in Saskatoon, SK. The event was organized to thank volunteers for their outstanding contributions to the Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas. Our team was delighted that over 120 volunteers and supporters attended! Several Birds Canada staff and members of our Board of Directors were also present to join in the celebration. It was wonderful to connect in person and honour the truly monumental effort made by volunteers, for which we are extremely grateful!

Guests learn about grassland bird conservation initiatives during a presentation by Ian Cook, Grassland Conservation Manager at Birds Canada.

The Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas is a project to map the distribution and relative abundance of all bird species breeding in the province. It launched in 2017 and 2021 marked the end of the data collection phase, during which participants collected evidence of breeding for birds in every corner of the province. The end product will be an invaluable resource used for conservation planning, environmental assessments and education, research projects, and more. Birds Canada would like to thank every single volunteer who has contributed – we could not have reached this important milestone without you!

Guests get the chance to mingle over cocktails and appetizers.

The evening kicked off with a presentation highlighting the scope of Birds Canada’s work, by Jody Allair, and one on grassland bird conservation initiatives on working landscapes, by Ian Cook. A lively cocktail mixer ensued, followed by addresses and thank-yous by Birds Canada President and CEO Patrick Nadeau; Prairie Region Director Dr. Kiel Drake; volunteer Regional Coordinator Jared Clarke; and Atlas Steering Committee representative for the province, Ryan Fisher. Perhaps the most memorable remarks came from Jared, who pointed out that the twins he shares with wife and co-coordinator Kristen Martin had been atlassing for literally half of their young lives – a reminder of just how long a five-year effort really is! After dinner, volunteer Regional Coordinators were presented with thank-you gifts, including a commemorative mug designed by local artist and ornithologist Dr. Janet Ng. The evening was capped off with a fun game of bird and atlas trivia where tables competed for bragging rights and the first chance at taking home bird-themed centerpieces donated by the Hey Family at Twig & Bloom.

Birds Canada President and CEO Patrick Nadeau turns the floor over to Prairie Region Director Kiel Drake.

It was a treat to see friends both old and new come together in celebration of the astounding effort made by this relatively small group of bird enthusiasts. The evening seemed to be over in a flash, always a sure sign that you’re in good company. I look forward to working with the Atlas team over the next few years to transform the data volunteers and staff collected into a polished, useful resource.

Volunteer Regional Coordinators and Atlas staff come together one last time. (Left to right: Chris Harris, Dan Sawatzky, Brett Quiring, Kiel Drake, Stan Shadick, Harold Fisher, John Patterson, LeeAnn Latremouille, Sarah Ludlow, Ryan Dudragne, Jared Clarke, Kristen Martin, Laurie Koepke. Front: Rowan and Teal Clarke)

We extend a special thank-you to Mosaic for making this event possible.

View the complete photo gallery from the banquet here. Photos by Joshua Budhanlall.

You can learn about more current breeding bird atlas projects in Ontario and Newfoundland, and how you can get involved, here. Birders from out-of-province are welcome to join the volunteer atlassing effort! 

 

Guests play a fiercely competitive game of bird and atlas trivia.
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