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September 18th, 2012
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Fun Birding Workshops

I’ve been doing Fun Birding Workshops in SE Arizona for a couple of years now, but they haven’t really taken off in their current format. Everyone seemed to enjoy them and I hope you all learned something. I’m very grateful to everyone who has attended my workshops, and I’ve sure learned a lot from them. Unfortunately, the main thing I learned was that it wasn’t working for me, as it often turned into a personal tour for one or two people, which, at $30 per person, barely covered my gas costs. I complicated the logistics by allowing people to come for half days on some trips and meet in different places, and it all became a bit of a headache for no tangible return.

So I’ve decided to give the workshops a rest for now, while I work on a completely new format.

The new workshops will be better focused, with more detailed educational materials. I’m looking at having everyone together in one vehicle, which would make a big difference. That would mean renting (or buying) a passenger van. I’m also thinking of providing lunches, making it an all-inclusive trip. There would be pick up points in Green Valley and Tucson.

Inevitably, the cost of these workshops would be more than the previous workshops, closer to (but still cheaper than) other birding workshops and field classes in the area. You would, though, be getting a lot more, and not have any food or fuel costs. One more thing about doing workshops this way is that I’d have to sell enough spaces to not only make it worthwhile, but also not lose money, having made a larger investment. In which case I’ll be asking people to sign up in advance and pay a deposit.

In some ways these new workshops will only replace the previous format to some extent, as the workshops originally started as more of a social gathering, which wasn’t terribly educational but was a lot of fun. So I’m also considering a new regular event, simply entitled Fun Birding Days. These days would simply be a bunch of people going birding together, to wherever is the best place to go at the time of year. Again, I think these would work better with everyone in one vehicle, so essentially they’d be the same as the new workshops but without the educational component. We can just concentrate on the Fun Birding part, not so much the Workshop!

Obviously I need to work on these ideas a lot before launching them, but I hope they sound interesting. Please let me know what you think…

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