Authored by Jeff Beane
Wildathon time approaches again!
For those of you who know what this is about, please consider pledging if you can afford it this year. For those who don’t know what it’s about (and are interested), feel free to read the explanation below . . .
Once again, Wake Audubon Society is holding its annual “Wildathon.” This year, the “24 Hour Dream Team” (Jeff Beane, Ed Corey, Bob Davis, John Finnegan, Stephanie Horton) will be participating in its 16th consecutive annual effort.
This year’s effort is scheduled for Tuesday-Wednesay, 12-13 May 2015. As usual, in the name of maximum effort and self-abuse, we plan to participate for 24 hours straight (from early Tues. morning through early Wed. morning).
For those unfamiliar with this event, Wildathon is a fund-raiser. But we aren’t just begging for money—we’re willing to work a long, hard, 24 hours for it. The object is to identify as many vertebrate species (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes) as possible in 24 hours, and enlist sponsors to pledge a certain monetary amount per species (or a flat donation). We restrict our efforts to North Carolina, and will spend most of our time in the southeastern Coastal Plain and Sandhills.
The same rules as previous years will apply.
We will NOT count:
– humans or their domestic animals, such as cattle, horses, dogs, house cats, chickens, ostriches, etc.
– anything in captivity.
– “signs” such as tracks or nests–some portion of the actual animal must be seen or heard (i.e., known to be present during the event).
– Anything we are not certain about the identification of (to the satisfaction of our entire group).
– species that are heard and positively identified, though not seen.
– Identifiable eggs, larvae, etc.
– road-kills or otherwise dead vertebrates, or their readily identifiable remains, including “pieces and parts.”
– established, introduced, non-domestic species like European starling, Norway rat, redear sunfish, etc.
– any species we manage to detect by any legal, reasonable method (trap, seine, dipnet, telemetry, Anabat, etc.).
Our team’s proceeds will be divided between support for management of
Audubon’s NC Coastal Island Sanctuaries (20 islands between Cape Fear and Cape Hatteras that support more than 60,000 nesting seabirds and wading birds, as well as other wildlife);local Wake Audubon conservation projects; and the NC Herpetological Society’s two main conservation/research projects–Project Bog Turtle (conservation and research initiative focused on protecting the bog turtle (Clemmys (Glyptemys) muhlenbergii) and its diminishing habitat in the Southeast;www.projectbogturtle.org) and Project Simus (conservation and research initiative developed to gather information on the natural history, status, and distribution of the southern hognose snake and other species tied to sandhill habitats;http://ncherps.org/project-simus/ ).
If you can sponsor us, please reply to the email at the end of this blog as soon as possible with your pledge (there’s no need to feel pressured; we all get too many requests for donations, and we won’t be offended if you don’t sponsor us.) There are different ways of sponsoring. You can pledge a certain amount per every vertebrate species we record, or for herps only, birds only, etc.; or you can pledge a lump sum (e.g., $25 regardless of how many species we record); or you can pledge “up to” a certain amount (e.g., if you pledge $1 per reptile and amphibian species up to $30, and we see 40 species, then you would just owe $30, or if we only see 20 species you would just owe $20). No amount is too small; even if you pledge a penny per species and end up owing only a dollar or two, that will help, because we will (hopefully) have many sponsors. Every bit counts. If you don’t want to donate this year, just send some positive thoughts our way. We have especially enjoyed the more “creative” pledges from some of you in past years. If you work for a company that matches charitable gifts, you can have them match your pledge or donation. Wildathon donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
We expect to end up with somewhere around 200 species, but much will depend on weather and various other factors. A good day could yield more species; a bad day could result in fewer. Our best-ever total was 248 species (in 2014), and our lowest-ever was 155 (in 2000).
As always, I’ll send a summary of our effort and a complete list of all the vertebrates we observe to everyone who sponsors us.
Pledges will be due in early June. If you wish to send yours in early, you may send them to me (Jeff Beane, NCSM Research Lab, 1626 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1626), or give them to any of our team members, or to John Gerwin (Wake Audubon Treasurer). Make checks payable to “Wake Audubon.” You may also donate via PayPal through the Wake Audubon website (www.wakeaudubon.org) by clicking on the “donate” icon (down the lefthand sidebar). Be sure to indicate that your donation is for Wildathon. Please let me know if you donate this way, so that we can keep track of all donations.
In the past, some of you have indicated a desire to support the NCHS projects (Project Bog Turtle, Project Simus) only; if you want to do that, make your check out to “NC Herpetological Society,” indicate what the donation is for, and send to either me or Ed Corey. Please contact one of us if you have any other questions.
For even more information on the Wildathon, and an account of our 2002 event, see p. 16-19 of the April 2004 issue of Wildlife in North Carolina magazine.
Please send pledges to [email protected]
Those of you who have already pledged to sponsor us can ignore all this, and we sincerely thank you!