Meet Fawn Bowden, newly-elected Chair of our Board of Directors, long-time volunteer leader, and mother of two young birders!
Current town: Riverside, Iowa
Hometown: Wyoming, Minnesota
Fawn with her daughter, Mieka, viewing Sandhill Cranes from the blind at Rowe Audubon Sanctuary on our IAYB weekend trip to Kearney, Nebraska, March 2015.
What sparked your interest in birds/nature?
My father and grandmother were/are both bird and nature lovers. My grandmother always had bird feeders up and filled and knew all about each bird that came to them. I'll never forget the first time she showed me a Crossbill that was at her feeder (she lived in NW Wisconsin) and that its beak was crooked like that on purpose. I also thought it was amazing that she seemed to have conversations with the chickadees, as they would always answer her calls.
What is your favorite bird?
That's a hard question, there are so many! Probably the Common Loon for it's beautiful call and plumage and because it's the state bird of my home state of Minnesota. The babies are adorable too. Also any sort of owl. They're often hard to find, so it seems special when you do see or hear one.
What is your favorite birding/outdoor space?
I've been exploring a new place each week with the kids during the stay-at-home precautions during the Covid-19 pandemic, so I think I may have a few new favorite places now! Pike Run Wildlife Area in Muscatine is pretty neat with some lowland woods and wetlands. Clemmons Creek Wildlife and Recreation Area in Washington County has pristine woodlands, prairie and also wetlands. Maskunky Marsh in Mahaska County can be a really good spot for shorebirds, if the water levels are low enough. Of course Cone Marsh is great and we live about 25 minutes away, so I do go there quite a bit.
Do you have young birders in your family?
Yes, two, Mieka, 12 and Henry, 11. Their desire to learn about birds ebbs and flows as other interests and activities come into their lives, but I'm hoping that they'll keep coming back to it with fondness as time/life permits.
Do you remember your first Iowa Young Birders field trip?
Yes! Mieka and I both remember it very well. It was to George Wyth SP to see Saw Whet Owls and see them we did.What has been your favorite Iowa Young Birders field trip thus far?
It's hard to pick one, but the Saw Whet Owl trip and the Sandhill crane trip to Nebraska were favorites.What motivated you to become a Iowa Young Birders Board Member?
I think it's important to support the things you believe in.Why do you feel exposing kids to birds and nature is important?
So they can come to know, hopefully enjoy and value the natural world. If they know it and love it, they will want to protect it and care for it. Plus, it's important for them to know that humans and nature are interconnected and interdependent.