If you didn’t see the Conservation Milestones in the May 2016 Birder’s Guide to Conservation & Community, take a moment to read them atbg.aba.org/i/688884-may-2016/09. You’ll be inspired.
And now it’s time to do it again! If you have a conservation project, or if know someone has gone out of their way to help bird conservation, please tell us about it.
This is a twist on the familiar listing “milestones” feature that appears regularly in Birding. The idea behind Conservation Milestones is to highlight people who tackle projects that build a better future for birds–backyard birdscaping, education efforts, monitoring projects, self-directed research, local land conservation, grassroots campaigns, bird-themed events … No project is too small.
For instance, 12-year-old Will Gladstone and his 9-year-old brother, Matthew, of Arlington, Massachusetts, got interested in Blue-footed Boobies as part of a class science project at The Fessenden School in Newton, Massachusetts. When the boys learned that the birds were threatened in the Galápagos Islands—possibly because of a decline in the availability of sardines—they wanted to do something to help.
The Blue Feet Foundation started by Matthew (left) and Will (right) Gladstone of Arlington, Massachusetts, has already netted more than $20,000 in sales of blue socks to support Blue-footed Booby conservation. Photo by © Peter Gladstone.
“Blue-footed Boobies are super-cool birds and I think everybody should be able to experience just how awesome they are,” Will Gladstone said. “I thought, if they have blue feet, why don’t we just sell blue socks to raise money for them?”
In 2016, the boys launched the Blue Feet Foundation, got on the TV news, and started doing a brisk business selling their bright blue socks with a whimsical Blue-footed Booby design. People from around the world have purchased the socks at $12.50 per pair, and the foundation has raised more than $20,000 so far.
The bright blue socks sell for $12.50 per pair and sport a whimsical Blue-footed Booby design. Photo courtesy of © Will Gladstone.
With donations from the foundation, the Galápagos Conservancy hired a biologist to start a population study and conservation plan.
“We hope we go out of business,” Matthew Gladstone said, “because that means we’ve saved the Blue-footed Booby!”
The Gladstone boys’ story will be included in an upcoming book by National Geographic Kids titled, 100 Ways to Make the World A Better Place. Meanwhile, you can visit their website at bluefeetfoundation.com to learn more, buy socks for adults and kids, and cruise the photo gallery of Blue-socked People.
It’s easy to share a milestone. Just send a 250- to 350-word description to Conservation Milestones Editor Noah Strycker at noah.strycker AT gmail.com. Please attach several photos to help illustrate the story (high resolution if possible), and include the photographer’s name and caption information.
You can nominate someone else, or tell us about your own project. These milestones will be published in the 2017 issue of Birder’s Guide to Conservation & Community. The sooner we hear from you, the better. To be included, we must receive your information no later than March 1.
Join the American Birding Association at www.aba.org!