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TPWD News Release — March 17, 2006

Original Artwork in Online Auction To Benefit Bird Habitat

LAKE JACKSON, Texas — The online auction to raise funds for habitat grants awarded through the Great Texas Birding Classic is open through April 28.

An original watercolor of Black Skimmers was created by John O’Neill to be the artwork for the 10th Annual Great Texas Birding Classic. This painting is just one of the items available for bidding.

Original artwork by other Texas artists, optics, and nature related items are some of the other items available for bidding.

The Birding Classic is a competitive bird watching tournament created to raise awareness of the diversity of habitat and resulting multiplicity of bird species that exist along the Texas Gulf coast. This tournament, called the longest and wildest birding event in North America by organizers, is coordinated jointly by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory.

“The Birding Classic is one way anyone and everyone can contribute to conservation efforts,” said Carol Jones, tournament coordinator. “The National Audubon Society reported that almost 30 percent of North America’s bird species are in ‘significant decline.’ This year is the tenth anniversary and we will celebrate raising and donating a cumulative total of half a million dollars for habitat conservation over the past decade at the awards brunch on April 30.”

Jones said people don’t have to be a birder to help; anyone can make a donation or bid on one of the items on the online auction.

“Over the years, essentially every Texas coastal community, most optics companies, several major oil, gas, chemical and energy companies, and hundreds of birders have participated in this event,” said Cecilia Riley, Gulf Coast Bird Observatory executive director. “Their support has made the Birding Classic a huge environmental success and an economic asset for the Lone Star State.”

The online portion of the auction will conclude at noon, Friday, April 28. Final bidding will take place either by phone (for online bidders) or in person at the awards brunch on April 30.

The Gulf Coast Bird Observatory is a 501(c) 3 organization dedicated to conserving coastal habitat for birds through science and international partnerships.

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