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Communications and Marketing

Lake Forest study: birding thrives in Lake County

Lake Forest economics professor and students studied birder habits in Lake County last summer, culminating in a report to the county’s forest preserve district.

Armed with a grant from the Lake County Forest Preserve District, Professor of Economics Jeff Sundberg last summer led three Lake Forest students Khayrulla Azamov ’15, J. Eliot Barber ’15, and Benjamin Labaschin ’16, in an evaluation of birders’ use of the preserves.
The project looked at which preserves were used most heavily and the features most valued by birders,” explained Professor Sundberg. “We also did some work on the economic benefit of birding activity, both because of the gains to resident birders and the economic activity generated by birders from other areas who visited Lake County in order to visit the forest preserves.”
Each student took on a portion of the data collection, which took place over the summer. Kayrulla Azamov ’15 collected data from a birding conservation network in Illinois called the IBET that birders use to share information about their sitings.
“I admire (the bird watchers’) will and determination to post on IBET about what they discovered after each walk,” said Azamov. “Most of these people have full time jobs and yet they find time to bird and post. It’s just incredible!” he added.

The work culminated in a report titled “Birding Economics: Activity and Preferences of Resident and Nonresident Birders in Lake County Forest Preserves,” which was presented to the LCFPD board in early November. 
For a copy of the report, contact Jeff Sundberg.