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With the snow coming down outside it seems difficult to think about birds and butterflies...but that's exactly what one Ohio couple wants you to do.
Kenn and Kim Kaufman have both held a lifelong love of the outdoors and wildlife and have successfully turned their passion into a career. Kenn has written dozens of books on birds, butterflies and mammals as well as a very popular series of nature guides. The Kaufmans travel the world teaching about the importance of birds and butterflies and how even the smallest act can make a big difference in the habitat for these creatures.
"Because gardeners control what happens over such a large area of the planet, if we could convert the gardeners to caring about wildlife, it makes a huge difference in overall diversity. We have so many different kinds of migratory birds that come through Ohio and anyone's backyard can be great habitat for these migrants if they just take a few steps to take care of them," said Ken.
Youth education is also very important to the Kaufmans. Kenn's wife, Kim was instrumental in creating the Ohio Young Birders Club, an organization that works to get kids outdoors and remind them of all the wild treasures that are waiting for them out there.
"It's a statewide club, we have local chapters forming and we're taking young people out at least once a month on these incredible adventures, not just with birds. If the young people want to look at snakes or insects or wildflowers we look at all of those things," said Kim who is also the Executive Director of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory.
One such thing the Young Birders Club annually attends happens right here in Ohio and is one the biggest birding events in the world.
"It's right up on the shores of Lake Erie in Northern Ohio in Oak Harbor and we have a 10 day birding festival called The Biggest Week in American Birding. Even if you aren't interested in birds and everyone should be, it's a great place to come and meet people from all over the world."
Ken's books are available anywhere you can buy books and Kim is always looking for more youth to join the birders club. To find out more you can visit the club's website, www.ohioyoungbirders.org. Also Ken and Kim are regular contributors to "Birds & Blooms" magazine if you would like to keep up with them that way.