moderated A Note About the Ages of Birders and Trip Leaders

Frank Vanslager


Yesterday I picked up my copy of the January Scientific American Magazine.  Its cover story was, "ACTIVE BODY, ACTIVE BRAIN.  How exercise keeps the mind sharp", and "... Exercise leads to beneficial changes in the adult brain, including the birth of new neurons and increased connections among existing neurons."

For some time now I've campaigned for more bird walks aimed at adults -- not children; the young get totally involved in getting good jobs, with getting married, with raising a family (which takes a lifetime), and only when their young are independent and they're nearing retirement do mature adults find time to think again about experiencing the great outdoors.  We need leaders who can LEAD and PUSH these adults, who can tell them when to start, and when to pause, when to stop talking and listen, and that the leader will keep them together for a 3-hour walk.  The leaders need not even be good birders.  I, personally, will take a good leader over a good birder any day.

Most mature adults need the exercise, not on a mindless treadmill, but with walks along trails new to them, and with interactions with new people, and new birds, and new plants.  They need to be pushed to keep moving for 3 hours and to go to see things -- not to sit relaxed and let life and birds come to them, because what's coming to their mind is less and less, until their very essence slowly but surely fades away. They should "Do not go gentle into that sweet night.  Rage, rage against the dying of the light."  Dylan Thomas.

Merry Christmas.

Frank Vanslager

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