Malkolm is cycling on! He is now cycling from Alaska to Washington DC, and then continuing on to the UN Climate Change conference in Cancun in December.
It all started with Bird Year, Malkolm and his parents' year-long, fossil-fuel-free journey in search of birds. Cycling a total of 13,133 miles (21,144 km), they identified 548 different bird species and raised more than $25,000 for bird conservation. Bird Year turned them into confirmed cyclists and taught them that climate change was more serious than they had thought.
In 2009, Malkolm biked from Whitehorse to Ottawa as a part of Pedal for the Planet: the project called for the Canadian Government to become a leader in the struggle to come to grips with climate change. The Harper Government did not even meet with the young cyclists.
Malkolm is now 18 and just finished high school. On August 24, he dipped his foot in the Pacific Ocean in Skagway, Alaska. Then headed up and over the White Pass to the Alaska Highway on his journey to Washington and on to Cancun.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Magic (Ken)

Last Friday we had the privilege of birding with Todd Newberry near Elkhorn Slough (north of Monterey, California). Todd is the author of "The Ardent Birder". Todd shared most of a day of his life with us – a generous gift. Along the way he helped Malkolm identify 7 new species for his Bird Year list, including a Nuttall’s Woodpecker that appeared as if by magic when Todd played a brief recording of its call.
We know about magic since we just finished reading the last Harry Potter book out loud. Reading books out loud is a family tradition every morning and evening. And since all is well with Harry Potter, we started reading "The Ardent Birder". We’re not only learning birding tips that Todd learned over a lifetime of enjoying birds and their habitat – we’re also absorbing his quiet humor and wisdom. ("The Ardent Birder" is published by Ten Speed Press. If it is not at your local independent bookseller’s, you can order it from Amazon).
We’ve just entered the beginning pages of Todd’s book. He describes four levels of birders: beginners, intermediates, varsity and the Major Leagues. I think Todd modestly puts himself into the varsity (I’m proud to be a solid intermediate). Yesterday morning, we happened upon a major leaguer. Coincidentally, we were about to call Brian Sullivan who C.J. Ralph had introduced to us via cyberspace. Instead, as Malkolm and I cycled along the coast near Monterey, he (magically?) appeared, wearing rubber boots and carrying a scope.
Brian is able to talk with you while his senses are also tuned to bird clues. In the middle of a sentence he paused, pointed upward into an apparently empty sky and said “Townsend’s Warbler.” I hadn’t heard a thing over the pounding of the surf and the chattering of blackbirds. He wasn’t showing off – his awareness of another world that most of us miss is an ingrained part of him – at least that’s my impression after knowing him for half an hour.
You seldom meet a “major league” athlete or a “star”. You can find major league birders however, down at your local wetland, beach or forest. They’ll even talk to you.

1 comment:

birdchaser said...

Great to see your blog and website. Keep it going! Too bad you don't have plans to come up to PA. Maybe I can meet up with you guys somewhere else on the road!