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The American Birding Association has five awards to recognize the many kinds of contributions dedicated individuals can make to the cause of birds, birders and birding. The awards and the categories of achievement they recognize are as follows:
Given for a lifetime of achievements in promoting the cause of birding. Since ABA is centered on the activity of birding, it is appropriate for this organization to give an award which honors individuals who have, by various means, advanced the cause of birding. Roger Tory Peterson furthered the study, appreciation and protection of birds the world over. His contributions have been recognized worldwide and he has received two nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. Because Roger Tory Peterson is probably best known as someone who has promoted the cause of birding, it is appropriate that this award be given in his name.
Given for making significant contributions to birder education and/or bird conservation. This award recognizes outstanding efforts in birder education, bird conservation or in the management or preservation of habitats on which birds and birding depends. It is presented to an individual in either area or to someone who has achieved in both areas. ABA considers that the quality and scope of Chan Robbin's work make him an outstanding person after whom to name the award.
Given for a distinguished service to ABA. It is awarded to any member who has given long and useful service to the organization, either paid or as a volunteer. This is a way for ABA to honor those individuals who have devoted many hours and considerable energy to the good of the organization. The name of this award was selected to honor Claudia Wilds because of her many contributions to ornithology and to ABA.
Given for excellence in publications pertaining to field ornithology. The award is given specifically for publications on the subjects of field identification and bird distribution in North America. It is given to either authors or artists. This award recognizes professional achievements in field ornithology literature.
Given to individuals who have dramatically advanced the state of ornithological knowledge for a particular region. This may be through their long-time contributions in monitoring avian status and distribution, facilitating the publication of state bird books, breeding bird atlases and significant papers on the regional natural history of birds. This may also be through the force of their personality, teaching and inspiration.
This newest ABA Award was established by the ABA Board in 2013. It honors those who, like the late Betty Petersen, have made great strides in expanding diversifying and strengthening the birding community and those who have worked to build a support network for conservation. It recognizes that major contributions are often made by those who work behind the scenes, organizing and facilitating progress. While conservation is a key element, the focus here is less on ornithology and more on the skill of supporting and connecting people, reinforcing the fabric of our bird conservation community.
The nomination and selection process is the same for all awards. ABA Awards will be presented at ABA sponsored or cosponsored events or at appropriate birding venues. Which awards and how many of each will be given each time is the decision of the ABA Board of Directors. There is no requirement that each award must be given every year and more than one of each award could be given in the same year if the Board so desired.
Nominations can be made by current members of ABA in good standing, including staff and board members. The general membership is strongly encouraged to make nominations. Please use this form to submit your nominations. The nominations deadline is December 31, 2015.