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Southern Ocean Birding Group

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Monthly Guest Column
Oct. 2017

My name is Christopher Sayers, and I was your 2016 SOBG scholarship recipient. I wanted to let you know how I have been doing! My freshman year at Cornell was amazing, and also quite eventful. Last year was mainly focused on completing general course requirements; however, this upcoming semester I will be taking classes that are more pertinent to my major. I am most excited for Field Methods in Avian Ecology, which will teach me all about bird banding! Aside from doing well in all of my classes and making the Dean's List, I had the pleasure of competing in the World Series of Birding with the Team Redhead Cape May County team and I also got a job working as a curatorial assistant at the Macaulay Library of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Through my involvement at the Lab, I was also offered a paid summer position working as a field technician. 

For the past 8 weeks I have been helping a Cornell PhD candidate with his dissertation research in central Pennsylvania. The project is focused on the management of timber harvests in Appalachia in order to benefit Golden-winged Warblers. I was responsible for conducting point-count and vegetation surveys; however, I learned skills like radio telemetry and orienteering as well. It is by far the toughest job I have ever had, but I'm glad I persevered until the end. I now have a much better understanding of true field work. Below are some pictures of me in the field.

Since returning home, I have started working as a naturalist at Island Beach State Park. I am enjoying being so close to the ocean again! The fall semester starts on August 22nd, and as much as I love relaxing at the beach I am excited to start my sophomore year. I would like to express my gratitude yet again for awarding me your scholarship, it has gone a long way in helping me complete my degree. I hope all is well with SOBG, and I hope to be hearing from you soon. 

Best Regards,
Chris Sayers