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Community bird walk event to take flight at Westminster College

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Posted on Monday, April 22, 2024

Bird lovers and enthusiasts are invited to attend the 2024 BirdTok Community Bird Walk at Westminster College from 11:40 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. Friday, April 26, on the College’s campus.

Led by Westminster students, the event is open to anyone who wishes to connect with nature, observe local bird species, meet students and enjoy the company of fellow birdwatchers.

The bird walk is easy and casual and will begin at the dock on Brittain Lake on Westminster’s campus. Participants will be able to explore the beautiful surroundings of the College while learning about the birds that live in the area. Westminster is home to wildlife sanctuary spaces certified by the Bartramian Audubon Society of Slippery Rock, Pa.

“We’re excited to provide a space for students and community members to come together and appreciate the beauty of nature,” said Dr. Kerri Cornell Duerr, professor of the BirdTok cluster course and director of the Center for the Environment. “This event not only offers a chance to learn about birds but also to spend time outdoors with students and other members of our community. It’s a healthy way to spend your lunch hour.”

The BirdTok cluster class combines the biology of birding with digital media essentials, allowing students to explore the intersection between nature and technology. BirdTok gives students the opportunity to learn about the different species of birds found on campus while developing skills in digital media production.

“It feels nice knowing the different species when I see them around,” said BirdTok student Iresha Norris, a sophomore sports management major from from Sharon, Pa., and one of 16 students enrolled in the cluster. “The biggest satisfaction when identifying birds is when a friend asks me if I know a bird’s species, and I can tell them.”

Senior business administration major Kolton Banfi from Harrisville, Pa., will assist with the walk. He has studied bird biology and created social media videos about his experiences.

“Learning about birds has made me more invested in getting outside to study them and to learn more about these species that are in our everyday lives,” said Banfi. “It's a thrill, even if it’s a common bird to see.”

Banfi has a large social media following. He has served as a content creator and community journalist, sharing his birding adventures from the semester online in the Digital Media Essentials class partnered with the biology course.

“Our students have immersed themselves in creating creative birding-related content on social media,” said Bradley Weaver, School of Communication lecturer and student media adviser. “But now it’s time for them to share their birding knowledge and enthusiasm with community members in person. It'’ a unique opportunity to connect with our students.”

Bird Walk organizers recommend that attendees wear comfortable shoes suitable for outdoor terrain and bring their own binoculars, as a limited number will be available for borrowing. However, binoculars are not necessary for participation. Participants are also encouraged to download the Merlin App to their smartphones to help identify species.

While the event is free and open to the public, registrations are requested by emailing Duerr at For more information about the BirdTok Community Bird Walk, please email Duerr or call 724-946-7210.