WFO occasionally provides competitive scholarships to help young people who are interested in field ornithology attend birding trips or conferences. The Pasadena Audubon/WFO Youth Scholarship Fund was created to honor the memory of Mike San Miguel, a key contributor to and beloved friend of Pasadena Audubon and WFO. Applicants must be students in Grades 6 through 12, residents of western North America, and be members of Western Field Ornithologists.

Congratulations to the following students who have each been awarded a scholarship to the annual WFO conference being held in Billings, Montana June 10–14, 2015. The Pasadena Audubon/WFO Youth Scholarship covers the registration fee, a selection of field trips over four days, workshops, plenary science sessions, expert panels, a banquet, and four nights lodging, but not transportation to or from the conference.

In alphabetical order, the youths whose essays and letters of recommendation earned them a scholarship are:

Austin Young, age 17, from Filer, ID. “I get a deep sense of peace and satisfaction at various moments when it’s just me and the birds.… I also love the website, Ebird, set up by Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which allows me to contribute to science.… In addition to the CBC’s, I was able to take part in a Northern Goshawk breeding survey…a bird species inventory and species diversity study on a local organic dairy, and a USGS Breeding Bird Survey.…”

Elisa Yang, age 15, from Mission Viejo, CA. “I soak up identification knowledge like a twitcher soaks up rare bird reports. And of course, I love distributing my knowledge to others, whether it be through a post on my article blog For The Birds, an identification pointer on accipiters on my favorite forum WhatBird, or a brief talk to other birders about the humorous story of the state bird of Utah, the California Gull.”

Isaac Denzer, age 12, from Eddyville, OR. “When I first started birding I was mainly into raptors then my interests grew to include Warblers, Sandpipers, Sparrows and Ducks and then I was into everything.… I have been drawing birds since I started birding.… Several of my friends say they started birding because of my enthusiasm for birds.”

Ryan Andrews, age 15, from Valley Center, CA. “Who knew that when I was six and set up a bird feeder…it would launch me into a lifelong interest in birds…..Birds are beautiful and vocal. They have interesting habits, such as anting or brood parasitism. There’s an incredible variety and you never know what you might see when you go birding.… I hope to have a career in biology or ornithology, through which I can do field work and research.…”

Tyler Hartlauer, age 12, from Vancouver, WA. “…I like birds because there is always something new to discover about them and they are fun to observe.… For recording birds, I use Birdlog and the Audubon Bird Journal. I have volunteered for the Audubon Christmas bird count.… I am organizing a youth field trip in May to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.”

Wyatt Egelhoff, age 18, from Santa Fe, NM. “…Every time I feel the familiar weight of my binoculars around my neck, I know the day will be an adventure no matter where I go…I have assisted…on several Breeding Bird Survey routes for the past 3 years.… I also contribute all of my checklists to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird database.… I find the most satisfaction in the intoxicating sense of discovery and adventure, and that’s why I love birding.”

Congratulations to each of you. WFO members look forward to having you join them in the many conference activities.