Younger wildlife fanatics get much-needed tools in a model new program

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has just launched a program that will allow binoculars, telescopes, identification field guides, and more to be redistributed from those who no longer need them to those who need them.

The BTO Equipment Donation Scheme (EDS) is designed to help transfer bird watching equipment from those who no longer need it or wish to support others by giving it away to those who may not be able to afford or access the equipment but can would benefit from its use. Many seasoned game watchers upgrade their binoculars, telescopes and other game viewing equipment when newer and better instruments are released and there will be plenty of older binoculars, books and more languishing in closets across the UK. It is this kit that the BTO wants to put into the hands of a young game watcher in need.

Anyone can donate to the program, but to receive redistributed game viewing devices you must: be between 11 and 21 years old; an elementary or secondary school that wants to host Garden BirdWatch with one (or more) of their grade groups or has a club that focuses on nature or the environment; or a university group or society that focuses on nature or the environment.

Steppe Gray Shrike, Copyright Garry Bakker, from the Surfbirds Galleries

The system accepts working binoculars, telescopes, guides on birds and other taxa in acceptable condition. The system does not currently accept bird bell equipment or photo equipment.

The BTO would also like to hear from vendors of optical or other bird watching equipment interested in becoming corporate sponsors.

Samuel Levy of the BTO Youth Advisory Panel, who developed the program, said, “There are many young people who are passionate about wildlife and wildlife surveillance but simply don’t have the resources to purchase expensive game viewing equipment. This scheme has the potential to make a huge difference, and who knows, it may inspire even the next Chris Packham or David Attenborough. “

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