Shaver’s Creek to hold annual competition, fundraiser
Bird watchers, rejoice.
Shaver’s Creek will hold its annual bird watching competition — the Birding Cup — Friday and Saturday.
The event, which has been going on for nearly 20 years, is Shaver’s Creek’s main fundraiser for the year, said Joshua Potter, the environmental center’s marketing coordinator.
The Birding Cup is comprised of teams that have 24 hours to spot and confirm as many birds as they can in Centre County and the six surrounding counties, said Potter. The event starts Friday evening and ends Saturday evening.
Teams are encouraged to get people to pledge for them. For as many birds as the team finds, the sponsors donate that amount of money to Shaver’s Creek, Potter said. The competition can get intense — this year’s team to beat will be the Wing Nuts, Potter said.
The Wing Nuts first started competing in May of 1999, as seniors at Penn State, and have been participating each year since, team member Chris Rebert said.
Rebert, Class of 1999, said his team had a tough day the first time it participated in the Birding Cup.
The team had to suffer from neck pain from looking up birds all day long, he said. The team also had problems with directions and where to find the birds.
“We had a lot of help from the staff of the creek to find the birds,” Rebert said.
Despite being new at the competition, the team decided to keep coming to Shaver’s Creek for the annual event, and for the last three years, they’ve won the overall prize.
“We had a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s a reunion for us now.”
The members of team Wing Nuts are located many miles away from State College, and Rebert said they always learn something new each year.
“We always want to find something new, and we challenge ourselves to see birds we only see once a year,” he said.
The Wing Nuts said they now know which birds to look for, where certain birds live and what to expect, Rebert said. The team is looking forward to covering only Clinton County this year.
Though they aren’t expecting their biggest list of birds, they are expecting to have a good time.
“We like to come to the area because it’s like a vacation for us,” Rebert said.
During the Birding Cup, Shaver’s Creek is also hosting a native plant sale for the first time. The center is partnering with the Pennsylvania Native Plant society, who will be selling native plants and organic foods. A portion of the proceeds from the sale will also go toward the center, Potter said.
Bill Hofmann owner of Keystone Wildflowers in Robesona, Pa., will be one of the vendors there.
He said he’s looking forward to the sale and promotes people planting native plants in their own gardens.
Hofmann said it helps the ecosystem, and also helps with keeping pests away by bringing in birds.
“It’s just astounding, and it’s continually amazing every year how the native plant landscaping has improved my own property,” he said.
There will be 10 vendors at the plant sale, and Potter said it will be a chance to bring together different aspects of nature.
“It will be a celebration of the interrelationship between native plants and birds,” Potter said.