Follow That Bird! Take Flight With Toledo Naturalists

Spring is finally conquering winter’s icy grip, allowing Toledo’s nature lovers to migrate outdoors. Looking to leave the roost and explore, but not sure where to begin? Toledo Naturalists Association takes you under wing with a colorful variety of field trips.

Toledo au natural

“Getting people outdoors and active. That’s the primary way you get people into all this,” says Matt Kemp, Toledo Naturalists president. The group, founded in 1933, with a “focus. . . (of) getting people outside, and getting them participating.” While birding is the primary draw, that’s not all the group offers. “We’ve got expertise and field trips on anything you can think of that has to do with natural history. Our group has a wide range of interests, but our core focus is on the study of natural history, especially the Toledo area.”

Yellow Warbler
Yellow Warbler

The group also takes an active role in education and preservation. “We’ve helped contribute toward acquiring what became the Kitty Todd Preserve in the Oak Openings region. We also have a scholarship fund for student-members studying in the environmental field, and a research fund used to facilitate local research projects.” Kemp says it’s increasingly important to develop and pass on the knowledge of the natural world. “It gives you a sense of place; to learn about that place, and to pass on that knowledge to other people is really what we’re about.”

To get involved, Kemp suggests checking out the event calendar on the website or Facebook page. “Come out, join in, and meet folks. If you like it and want to get really involved you can become a member or help run an event. We always welcome ideas for new field trips and new field trip leaders.”

Birds of a feather

In March and April, the group will run two urban birding events focused on locations within the city. “These events are great for newcomers and are a chance to see what’s out there within Toledo’s city limits. Oak Openings and Magee Marsh are nationally known birding locations, but the city itself has a lot of great little parks for birding, too.” Kemp says that over the course of the year, “you can probably see close to 200 species of birds within the city limits.”

Avid naturalists.
Avid naturalists.

Birding is an enjoyable pursuit because “different people are drawn to different aspects of it… birds are incredibly diverse, very colorful. They’re beautiful.” And there’s also a sporting aspect. “Some people like to see how many types of birds they can find on a particular day or in a particular (location). We have a friendly competition event called the North Coast Open in May. You can get a team together and see how many species of birds we can find in 24 hours. We all get together for food afterwards where we compare lists.”

Most importantly, Kemp emphasizes the community aspect. “It’s something you can share with other people— the excitement of getting outside, finding something rare, or really beautiful. It’s a lot of fun.”

Toledonaturalist.org
website@toledonaturalist.org

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