Later this month I will be getting onto an airplane with my red-headed daughter Phoebe Linnea to go to Florida for a bit. We'll be participating in the Space Coast Birding Festival in Titusville, FL as speakers/trip leaders. Yes, that's right, Phoebe is launching her career as a birding festival performer and, knowing her as I do, I feel certain that she will surpass me (and perhaps her mom, eventually) within a a short while.
Getting to split from the frozen wonderland of southeastern Ohio for the less-frozen sand-and-seascape of Florida's east coast has made Phoebe a much happier youngster during our recent string of snow days.
Liam is not so happy about this and he's gone into "extracting exclusive trip promises from the parents" mode. We're still sorting through the possibilities, but a dinosaur-viewing trip to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and a bison trip to North Dakota are strong candidates.
Phoebe and I will be giving presentations at three different schools in the Titusville area, plus at the Space Coast Birding Festival itself. After each talk, we'll go outside for a bit of birding. The topic for our talks is kids and bird watching salted with some stories from our work on The Young Birder's Guide to Birds of Eastern North America.
Phoebe's class at Salem Liberty Elementary School spent half of fourth grade, all of fifth grade, and part of sixth grade helping me to create the Young Birder's Guide. We'll talk about how the book was created, how the kids liked it, and about some of the other cool things we discovered along the way.
One of our early appointments during the trip is in Celebration, Florida, where we'll do an interview at Radio Disney on a show hosted by two young gals who are about Phoebe's age. It will be neat to see what Phoebe thinks of this crossroads of pop culture, teen sensation, and mass media.
Then I asked the inevitable question, since we'd be flying into Orlando:
"Phoebs, do you want to go to Disney World since we'll be right there?"
And she said immediately:
"NO! I want to see manatees!"
This ranks among my proudest moments as a parent.
I'm also looking forward to introducing my daughter to some of my friends from the birding festival circuit. She's already met many of them, but being the proud papa, I can't resist showing her off just a bit.
If you're planning to attend the Space Coast Birding Festival, please come to one of our public talks and walks on Saturday, January 30.