Going to the forest is going home.
Observing wildlife is making the acquaintance with a neighbor.
Birds. Birds have a way of connecting us with the bigger world. Birds connect us with home. Birds connect us with the past. Birds help us to live in the present. Birds help us to imagine the world as it can be. Through our awareness of our feathered neighbors, birds connect us with trees, insects, spiders, lichens, bryophytes, and more! Birds connect us with landscapes, soundscapes, seasons and regions. Birds are one of nature's great connecting forces. The practice of Relational Birding brings this experience to the forefront.
I remember the first time I watched a sapsucker drilling sap wells on the trunk of a maple tree in late winter. I remember the ruby-throated hummingbird that drove the woodpecker off in an attempt to claim the sweet tree-nectar for itself. I remember the golden-crowned kinglet who arrived on the scene as soon as the woodpecker and hummingbird were out of sight. What did a kinglet want with a sap flow? I watched in amazement as the resourceful kinglet picked off every fly that was attracted to the sap! I knew then that birding for me had to be about more than species identification, and that birding for me had to include and extend beyond noticing behavior. I knew that birding for me had to be a way to engage my sense of wonder and curiosity, to follow the strands of connection forged between birds and their environments. What I call Relational Birding has been my pathway to the experiential awareness of being part and parcel of nature.
-Rich Hanlon, Naturalist Guide and Relational Birder
For Rich, going to the forest is going home, and observing wildlife is making the acquaintance with a neighbor. Seeing the forest as a neighborhood, he brings a community approach to nature guiding by telling stories about the relationships that connect Adirondack wildlife. Rich enjoys birding and hiking, and he relishes every opportunity to learn more about the lives of birds, plants, insects, and other members of the forest community. Rich has an Environmental Studies degree from Penn State, he is a New York State Licensed Guide and he is a Certified Interpretive Guide through the National Association for Interpretation.
Wild Neighbors Nature Connection (WNNC) offers Relational Birding experiences for K-12 grade level groups that include lessons that focus on two major categories: Awareness Skills and Ecological Study. Each session can include a worksheet, companion video, and guided experience in nature's community with WNNC Naturalist and Birding Guide Rich Hanlon. Experiences are made to meet NYS Science Standards and Next Generation Science Standards for K-12 grade level groups. Each experience is crafted to be enjoyable, educational, and to engage young people's senses of wonder and curiosity. Click here to see a full listing of opportunities.
Wild Neighbors Nature Connection offers guided birding services primarily in Franklin, Essex, and St. Lawrence Counties in NY. Whether you're interested in developing new birding skills, locating target species, or digging deep into an understanding of birds and their environments, Wild Neighbors Nature Connection can help you make the most of your next Adirondack birding experience. Guiding fees are $200 for each full-day (6-8 hours) and $100 for each half-day (1-4 hours). Payment options include Cash, Check, PayPal, Venmo, and Apple Pay. Contact Wild Neighbors Nature Connection about scheduling your private outing.
Wild Neighbors Nature Connection guide Rich Hanlon is available to present to small and large group settings on topics like Birding the Adirondacks, Birding for Connection (Relational Birding), Making Birding Fun for Young People, and similar themes. Expect presentations to be fun, engaging, and educational. Click here to learn about presentations Rich has done. Contact Rich about scheduling a presentation for your group and to inquire about pricing.