Letter to the Editor: ‘Rebuked Birders’ Respond

In response to ‘Birders Rebuked’ (Finger Lakes Times April 8, 2008), the Eaton Birding Society (EBS) would like to take exception to the negative portrayal of the club by members of the Seneca County Economic Development Corp (EDC).Since its founding in 1932, EBS has been dedicated to promoting the appreciation of birds and nature through educational programs, hosting speakers, field trips, and financial support of projects relating to ecological enhancement.In the effort to fill out a varied and regular schedule of field trips, a written request was made by EBS for access to the Seneca Army Depot for a field trip at a time acceptable to the EDC. It was made in the formal manner requested, and was cordial even to the extent that we invited members of the EDC to join us if the request was granted. We did not know what to expect in response, but since we have a weekend trip planned to Fort Drum in June, where birders are not only allowed, but welcomed, it seemed plausible that access to the SAD would be possible.Our only agenda was to have an opportunity to see what birds might be inhabiting this oasis of ‘wilderness’ surrounded largely by farmland. I cannot think of a group that would be more careful of the property, and would leave no trace that we had been there.Denial of access was always a possibility, but the manner in which we were publicly berated without explanation, (“They have abused us. They should not be allowed within 5 feet of the depot.”) seems irresponsible and slanderous in the eyes of our members, especially considering that we have never had any dealings with the EDC or the IDA prior to our simple request for a field trip at SAD.In light of the fact that the EDC members must to be confusing us with some other individual or group, and our continued interest in seeing the birds there, we would like the EDC to reconsider our request in the same light as originally made.Steven BenedictPres., Eaton Birding Society, Inc.

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