Professors participate in birding festival

Three College of Business faculty members are participating in the 9th annual Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival November 16-20, 2005. Since 2001,
Dr. Karen Chambliss, Dr. Michael Slotkin and Dr. Alex Vamosi have been estimating the economic impact of the festival on Brevard County. This festival is
now ranked the third most significant birding festival in the United States by Pete Dunne, director of the Cape May Bird Observatory and frequent
contributor to the Wall Street Journal. The 2005 festival is expected to attract about 2,500 visitors, an increase of about 25 percent over last year. The
overall impact has grown from roughly $300,000 in 2002 to nearly $600,000 in 2004. At last year’s festival, the average economic impact generated by a
out-of-town registrant was approximately $950.00. The organizers of the festival, Laurilee Thompson and Neta Harris, use these economic impact estimates to
obtain grants and sponsorships, key funding sources for the festival. For several years Dr.Chambliss, Dr. Slotkin and Dr. Vamosi went to Hungary to
participate in an international project to promote ecotourism and develop a birding and wildlife event there. Hungary is home to one of the premier birding
sites in Europe. Birding is a rapidly growing form of ecotourism. It is estimated that more than three million people participate in birding and wildlife
viewing in the Florida each year. Avid birders will travel great distances to add a rare sighting to their check lists. The abundance of protected lands in
Brevard County supports a unique variety of ecosystems that attract migratory and resident bird species, including the endangered Florida scrub jay. These
natural treasures make Brevard County an ideal destination for birding enthusiasts, and a wonderful locale to host a birding festival.

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