There is clearly information that parents want to know about YMOS and the World Series of Birding (WSB) Experience. The students will be coached, led, and supervised by George Radcliffe and supporting parents throughout the experience.

Transportation is always a sticky issue because much of the scouting and birding on the Big Day are done by car. A team usually consists of 3-5 youth team members, a coach, and a parent driver. One vehicle is used for the entire team because birds sighted, even from a vehicle, must be seen and confirmed by all team members. Safety is of paramount concern, and we try to minimize driving as much as possible. High school teams usually cover the whole state, usually meaning northern Sussex County until late morning and then moving to the southern part of New Jersey for the afternoon and evening.

It is always our goal to keep costs to students to a minimum. Costs include lodging for 4 nights, food, registration for the WSB, and the cost of attending the Awards Brunch on Sunday. A good pair of Eagle Optics binoculars and field guide will be loaned to any team member well in advance of the trip. Spotting scopes, field guides, and training CDs are also available for use by team members. The group conducts a March Birdathon each year to both practice and to raise money for the WSB. Usually enough funds are raised to cover at least lodging and registration.

Lodging arrangements are usually made at either northern or Cape May area motels. Parents will assign students rooms, and there is always plenty of parent supervision. Parents are always welcome, and we try to cover the rooms of coaches and parent drivers.

While we have had students join us later in the week, by far the best experience is for the student to go up with the group on Wednesday. Wednesday through Friday we are scouting the area, learning habitat, and learning bird identification by sight and call. Basically, the students find the birds they are going to see on the Big Day. An experienced birder could miss the scouting and still be an asset to the team on the Big Day, but a less experienced birder would find the Big Day overwhelming without participating in the scouting.

Any other questions can be addressed to George Radcliffe.

George Radcliffe is a retired middle school teacher with 38 years of teaching experience, 47 years running youth environmental education programs, and 17 years’ experience taking teams to the WSB. He is the Youth Coordinator of the Maryland Ornithological Society (MOS). He lives in Cambridge, MD with his wife Jackie.