I’ve had a lot of time to reflect, sitting in the backseat of a car instead of driving. A lot of time staring out the window at the gorgeous British Columbia landscape.

One of the greatest things this trip has done is to provide me the opportunity to enter birding culture – but not impose an order or sense of how I should be in that culture. Birders are of a very narrow monoculture. Even outsiders entering it sort of have to conform to some standards. But, ultimately, being able to travel north with Jean, we’ve been able to look at birding from a fresh perspective. We’ve been able to meet hundreds of people who are established in their own way within bird conservation and enthusiasm about birds. Jean and I are very much able to begin to establish or be the new culture. The “millennial birder,” if you will.

Not only that, but I can’t wait until my final presentation. I can’t wait to tell U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service what worked for me and what didn’t, such as the signs and details of a refuge designed for a boomer generation that just doesn’t work for me.

This trip has also left me wanting to establish myself as someone within the conservationist movement dedicated to education and inclusion.

It’s still to early to know where I will go in this life. But I’m finding it.

Also, I’ve been able to spend a lot of time on this trip really looking at how the last 100 years have played out for migratory birds. Ultimately, great strides were made for them.  But the issues facing them today—bird strikes on infrastructure, disorientation from lighting, loss of habitat—are so different than the issues of 100 years ago. Not only that, but the community of people ready to take on their protection is so different and needs to be an incredibly inclusive unit with fresh ideas and thoughts for the next 100 years.

I’m having a great time with the Canadian Ambassadors, looking forward to this next week and everything I’ll learn.


Christian McWilliams

Christian studied International Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University with an interest in global environmental conservation, and has lived most of his life between Spain and the United States. Internship experiences during his studies have taken him up and down the East Coast of the US, and had him spend over a year in Mumbai. He enjoys keeping up with global and domestic news, volunteering, and a well made cup of coffee.

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