Monday, April 29, 2002

National Geographic BirdWatchers Society

My father-in-law recently received an invitation in the mail to become a charter member of the National Geographic BirdWatchers Society. Dues for the NGBWS are $2/month, billed annually (I guess that doesn't sound as bad as $24/year). The odd thing is, there is no mention of the fledgling NGBWS anywhere on the National Geographic Society's Web page. As a matter of fact, I couldn't find mention of the NGBWS anywhere on the Internet! Wouldn't you think that they'd want to promote this thing as broadly as possible?

As described in the promo on the back of the envelope, membership in the NGBWS entitles you to the following:

SUBSCRIPTION to National Geographic BirdWatcher newsletter

FREE GEAR GIVEAWAY--in each issue of National Geographic BirdWatcher

THE HIGHLY RESPECTED NGBWS LIFE LIST AWARDS--keep track of your sightings and earn rewards

UNIQUE PRODUCT TESTS OF BIRDING SUPPLIES--and you keep what you test--FREE

EXCLUSIVE MEMBERS-ONLY DISCOUNTS on birding products

Opportunity to GET YOUR PERSONAL BIRDING STORIES AND PHOTOS PUBLISHED

The cynic in me says that the National Geographic Society simply sees this as an opportunity to cash in on the booming interest in everything birds. They are certainly targeting their compaign toward novices. But maybe that's not all bad. If even a handful of the people who sign up go on to become avid birders or, better yet, advocates for bird conservation, I can forgive NGS for their crass commercialism.

Oh yeah, you also get a nifty-looking plastic membership card; it features a perched Great Egret on a dark blue backyard--vaguely reminescent of National Audubon's logo. And last, but not least, you get 3 stickers featuring a very bold, ninja-style cardinal. My grandson will love them!

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