Appeal for Birding Conservation Donations

Dear Birders,

As many of you may know, the ‘Champions of the Flyway’ is an annual event
that takes place in Eilat, Israel. This year the event is on March 28th.
The event takes the form of a Big Day – essentially a midnight-to-midnight
race to see which team can record the most species over that time. But more
importantly, the race is used as a vehicle to raise funds for the
protection of important bird migration flyways. Over 25 million birds are
illegally slaughtered by hunters and trappers along these routes each year,
and the Champions of the Flyway contributes significant funds to projects
combating this. This year the anti-hunting projects of BirdLife’s affiliate
in Turkey, Doga, is the beneficiary. Teams from all over the world gather
in Eilat, itself a migration hotspot, to help the conservation of migratory
birds. South African teams have participated in this event for the last few
years, and have competed incredibly well in the fundraising aspect,
especially considering that we compete with much stronger currencies in the
dollar, pound, and euro. We have also traditionally competed well on race
day, especially considering that many teams are much more familiar with the
Palearctic species present there.

This year the South African representation takes on a youth flavour. Our
team, the Birding Ecotours ‘Youth Africa Birders’, is made up of John
Kinghorn, Werner van der Walt (both Johannesburg), Jessleena Suri, and
Andrew de Blocq (both Cape Town). None of us iolder than 25, and we are
representing not only our country but also the Youth Africa Birding
movement, of which John is the Chairman and Werner is the Vice-chairman.
This movement encourages birding as a hobby for the African youth. We are
especially motivated to contribute to Doga’s work this year, since a
central part of their already-successful project is educating the younger
Turkish generation about the negative effects of hunting, and to convert
them to bird enthusiasts rather than hunters. We have been preparing for
months now by studying books on Middle Eastern birds, listening to calls
sourced online, and perusing multiple local blogs to make sure we stand the
best chance possible of competing on all fronts. We are hoping to show the
birding establishment that we youngsters can mix it with the best of them!
In addition to competing on race day and in the fundraising competition, we
are also aiming to abide by our team slogan and #BringTheGees to Eilat!

The success of past South African teams has been primarily because of the
support of the birdwatching community. Past responses to calls for funds
have been met with overwhelming generosity, and we are hoping that you will
support this very important cause again this year. We are aiming to raise
€3500 (plus minus $3700) as a team
​ which will go directly to BirdLife International’s Turkish affiliate.​
If you are able to spare some funds you can be assured that this is a very
worthwhile cause – no donation is too big or too small! Official donations
to the cause go through the JustGiving link on our official team page,
which can be found on the event website
​ as well as at the bottom of this email​
. If you wish to assist us in getting ourselves over there (costs amounting
to approximately $1200 pp), then please
​do feel free to contact us for more information.​

Even if you are not able to assist us, please feel free to follow us on our
social media! We will be posting relevant, informative articles, team
profiles, and you will be able to live this incredible experience
vicariously through us. :)
On twitter as @youthafricabirding
Official team page

Just giving link :

Our sincere thanks in advance to all of you! Please do not hesitate to ask
any further questions. We have attached our official sponsorship letter for
your perusal.

Yours in Birding and Conservation,

John, Werner, Jess, and Andrew

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