Student Programs

Upcoming Events & News

Upcoming Events


Monthly Student Programs Zoom Meetings

Please mark your calendars for the first Friday of each month for our WFO student member zoom meeting. First-time attendees are welcome to join the meeting! Membership is required for repeat attendance. All student members will receive an invititation to attend. Students with financial hardship may email Student Programs to request a free introductory membership.

Upcoming Program:

Caching In: The Benefits of Spatial Learning and Memory in Mountain Chickadees
Ben Sonnenberg • May 7, 2021 • 5 PM

Mountain chickadees are known to hide food items for future recovery and consumption. This caching behavior, and the birds' incredible ability to remember tens of thousands of cache locations, enables them to survive in the harsh winter months of the Sierra Nevada mountains. This dependence on food caches for winter survival makes chickadees a perfect subject to investigate spatial memory and the potential selective pressures driving the evolution of this cognitive ability. Using a unique Radio-frequency identification (RFID)-equipped feeder system, University of Nevada, Reno Chickadee Cognition lab is able to test spatial learning and memory in wild chickadees. Most recently, the lab has collected evidence that elevation-related climactic harshness is one of the selecting forces behind observed variation in memory in wild mountain chickadees.

Ben Sonnenberg • May 12, 2021 • 6 PM

Ben Sonnenberg is a 4th year PhD candidate at the University of Nevada, Reno where he conducts research in the avian cognitive ecology lab focusing on Mountain chickadees. His projects include monitoring the spatial learning and memory abilities as well as the reproductive investments of the long-term study population. Ben is a native of Bozeman, Montana and received a degree in Biology from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. He has worked around the country, including Washington, Nevada, Alaska and Connecticut, conducting avian related research and public outreach.

LOOKING AHEAD:
MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Don't miss out on the upcoming Student Program meetings and Ask the Expert via Zoom. Please tell a bird-loving friend about WFO and encourage them to join us.

Fridays at 5 PM – June 4, July 2, August 6, September 3, October 1, November 5 and December 3.

Wednesdays at 6 PM – June 9, July 2, August 11, September 8, October 6, November 10, and December 8.

Check out past Zoom meeting presentations here

Latest News


WFO Newsletter Opportunities
Quarterly Online Newsletter

WFO has created an online newsletter for all its members. This splendid document has a wealth of informative articles with several written by students. Click here to download the latest newsletter. Students are invited and encouraged to submit their original articles on any bird- related topic—limit of 300 words or less—and/or submit your bird photos, sketches, and field notebook pages to the newsletter. WFO members look forward to reading and seeing what the student birders are doing. Submit your work to: studentprog@westernfieldornithologists.org


Become a Student Member


Do you want to become a student member of WFO or renew your membership? Student memberships are just $10 a year.


Join/Renew Today!

Meet the Student Programs Committee Youth Council


Calvin Bonn is a 14-year-old birder from Redondo Beach, California, and has been birding since he was 8! He enjoys birding in his local parks because there are so many exciting discoveries — from nests to unusual behaviors to new birds themselves! He has a passion for bird conservation and wants to be a field biologist after college. He has done Least Tern and Snowy Plover surveys with USFWS and has studied the distribution of sapsuckers in his area.  He is very excited to be part of these new meetings!

Justina Martelli is a 17-year-old naturalist from Thousand Oaks, California. Having a strong passion for exploration of the outdoors, she is an avid photographer and takes field notes wherever adventure brings her. She is a California Condor ambassador and stays involved with the Pasadena and Conejo Valley Audubon Societies. She plans to study mycology and additionally focus on field work and research in college, taking birding and music (piano, guitar, and voice) along with her other studies as well. With much anticipation, she looks forward to the bright future of WFO!

Santiago Tabares is a 17-year-old nature enthusiast biking and birding around Denver, Colorado, and has been watching birds since he was 4! While birding, he obtains audio recordings and photos of whatever he encounters, including butterflies, reptiles, and all sorts of other critters. He has volunteered with the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies in bird banding, Denver Audubon, Hawkwatch, Monarch butterflies tagging, and co-founded the Denver Audubon Young Birder Club. He is very excited to be working with WFO to continue supporting young birders through these meetings!

Lara Tseng is an avid 14-year-old birdwatcher from Lake Forest, California. She has a passion for combining technology and conservation and hopes to study biotechnology. She has volunteered for the Cavity Conservation Initiative, Tree Care for Birds and Other Wildlife, Sea & Sage Audubon, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, along with other environment-related organizations. She is a Western Bluebird monitor and currently is doing a research project on eggshell consumption during the breeding season on these birds with the help of the Southern California Bluebird Club and has done past studies on eggshell consumption as well. As a fairly new member, she hopes to connect with other WFO students and is excited for what these meetings have to offer!