Wild Birds Unlimited Offers Scholarships to Audubon Summer Camps Nationwide

Backyard Bird Feeding and Nature Specialty Franchise Puts Underserved Children in Touch with Nature

May 18, 2012 // Franchising.com // Carmel, Ind. – The average young person spends more than 53 hours per week connected to electronic media – more absorbed in the digital world than the natural world – and Wild Birds Unlimited and the National Audubon Society are taking action.

For the sixth consecutive year, Wild Birds Unlimited, the original and largest franchise system of backyard bird feeding and nature specialty stores, and Audubon, a more than 100 year-old conservation organization, have partnered to provide scholarships to underserved children attending National Audubon Society summer camps nationwide. Wild Birds Unlimited Pathways To Nature for Kids allows young people to connect with nature and gain a desire to preserve it for future generations.

Jim Carpenter, CEO and Founder of Wild Birds Unlimited, said the idea to partner with Audubon to offer camp scholarships came from the Richard Louv book entitled, Last Child in the Woods. In the book, Louv describes it as Nature-Deficit DisorderTM among our nation’s all too wired youth. “We discovered that under privileged children have even fewer opportunities to connect with nature in a summer camp environment than do children in more privileged families,” Carpenter said. “By providing children with an opportunity to experience natural surroundings in these camps, we’re building what often becomes a lifelong passion for nature and conservation.”

Sixteen-year-old Blaine Clark of St. Louis, MO just earned a much-coveted Hog Island, Maine Audubon camp scholarship. He wants to study ornithology or botany when he enters college and credits bird watching trips with his mother to sparking his love of nature. The $900 Wild Birds Unlimited scholarship he earned will fund nearly his entire camp tuition. Clark volunteers at a bird sanctuary in his free time and is looking forward to the five day trip this June. “I’ve had a great passion for birds my whole life. Helping the environment, birds and the ecosystem is really fulfilling to me,” he said.

Pathways To Nature for Kids has granted the National Audubon Society $235,000 for scholarships since 2007, helping more than 1,250 kids age 6-17 attend Audubon summer camps. In 2012, $25,000 in scholarships will be awarded. With this Wild Birds Unlimited grant, at least 125 underprivileged children will have the opportunity to learn more about the natural environment. Parents and caregivers should apply now to give their children the opportunity to attend one of these camps. Scholarship eligibility is determined by each Audubon Center.

“Our partnership is one that makes me proud, both for its longevity and for the substantial results it produces to introduce deserving children to nature and plant the seed for them to become the nextgeneration of adults with a love of birds and a conservation ethic,” said David Yarnold president and CEO of the National Audubon Society.

About Wild Birds Unlimited

Wild Birds Unlimited is the original and largest franchise system of backyard bird feeding and nature specialty stores with more than 275 locations throughout the United States and Canada. Wild Birds Unlimited specializes in bringing people and nature together with bird feeding and nature products, expert advice and educational events. Visit our Web site and shop online at www.wbu.com. To learn how you can open your own Wild Birds Unlimited, visit www.wbufranchise.com.

About National Audubon Society

Now in its second century, Audubon connects people with birds, nature and the environment that supports us all. Our national network of community-based nature centers, chapters, scientific, education, and advocacy programs engage millions of people from all walks of life in conservation action to protect and restore the natural world. Visit Audubon online at www.audubon.org.

Contact:

John Schaust
Chief Naturalist
317-571-7100 ext. 121

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