I would be remiss if I did not express how very fortunate I feel to have the space, the time and the support to do this journey. My family and friends are such a blessing to me — most especially my wonderful and loving husband, Paul and our three beautiful children. Paul’s unconditional love and encouragement are what make this Big Year journey of birds and healing possible for me. And my children have been an endless source of ideas for my journey and have blown the wind into my sails.
Paul never once has complained about picking up the ‘slack’ of navigating the parenting of our three children while I’m birding…. ‘Slack’ – in case you’re wondering- includes oooodles of dishes, several Mt. Everests worth of laundry, and countless carpooling trips that should be eligible for frequent flyer miles. He never once has hesitated to step up when I float the idea of going out in the field. He is simply a saint and I love him more than he could ever know.
Also, I cannot be more grateful for the support of my birding buddies near and far around the world.. This includes those I know well, those I met recently, those with whom I just reconnected after decades, and those who will be strangers-turned-friends by the end of this journey. You’ll learn I simply love that part of an experience like this!
I am particularly thankful for the kind and very generous support and encouragement of Kevin Loughlin and Greg Miller from Wildside Nature Tours. I’m grateful to my uncle, David Stekoll, for serving as my birding buddy throughout this journey and for always making a family reunion even more fun by going out birding with me.
They say there is ‘no place like home’ and I feel fortunate to have been adopted by many members of my local Howard County Bird Club. I am indebted to them for their time, expertise and encouragement as I plan and begin this adventure.
Lastly, I’d like to thank my high school chemistry teacher and mentor, Tom Halliwell. His love of nature is infectious and he’s the most skilled and enthusiastic teacher I know. I’m thankful to Tom for leading me on my life path, for his unconditional support over the years and for all he has taught me about our natural world.