L.L.Bean

OUTDOOR HEROES

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Alexander Burdo - Connecticut Audubon Society

A young birder with knowledge and generosity beyond his years

A dedicated volunteer, Alexander Burdo exemplifies Connecticut Audubon Society Founder Mabel Wright's idea that a person who is motivated and passionate can help provide scientists with crucial information about birds and the environment, as well as make a difference in how a community perceives and protects nature.

At the age of 13, Alex is the youngest recipient to date of the Outdoor Heroes Award, yet still has many years of dedicated conservation to his credit. Alex has been an avid birder since the age of four. So far, he has spotted over 400 birds on his life list, a remarkable accomplishment for someone his age. A volunteer for the Connecticut Audubon Society, he dreams of becoming an ornithologist and saving endangered species.

Alex also served as his school faculty's consultant in the set-up of Cornell's Project Feeder Watch and helped collect and record data. He delighted in sharing his knowledge with younger students and developed additional wildlife study areas and tracking systems on the premises.

Recently Alex's birding pursuits have been compromised because he is battling osteosarcoma, a childhood cancer of the bone. "There's a long road ahead but I'm pulling through it. Birding keeps me up, and while I'm feeling good it's what you'll usually find me doing." Though on some days it is a struggle to lift his binoculars, Alex is not discouraged and is looking forward to dedicating his life to help others - both human and avian. When his treatment is complete, he plans to join the Connecticut Audubon Society's Animal Care Program, where he will help care for nonreleasable Education Animals.

Even as he thinks of the future, Alex can already point to a solid resumé as a conservationist and leader. As a consultant to a project set up by his school to feed, watch and count birds, he mentored students new to birding and helped younger students with identifying and tallying. Alex also has established a birding blog that reflects his boundless enthusiasm for birding and life in general. He documents species, their habitats and the conservation concerns they face. Through these activities, Alex has inspired countless friends and fellow students to start birding - and to learn more about the environment around them.

For more information about the Connecticut Audubon Society, please visit www.ctaudubon.org.