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Christmas Bird Count: In 1900, American ornithologist Frank Chapman asked birders across North America to go out on Christmas Day, count the birds in their hometowns and submit the results as the first “Christmas Bird Census.” His suggestion would create one of the biggest organized birding events in the world and a holiday tradition for over 50,000 birders each year. The National Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada will sponsor the 106th Christmas Bird Count (CBC), which runs from December 14 through January 5. The CBC is done in over 1800 localities across Canada, the United States and Latin America. Each local group of birders picks a day during that period, and then does their best to count all the birds within a set area. To contact a CBC organizer in your area go to either the National Audubon Web site at www.audubon.org, or Birds Studies Canada at www.bsc-eoc.org.

Penobscot River lecture: Catherine Schmitt, a science writer with Maine Sea Grant and the George J. Mitchell Center for Environmental and Wetland Research, will present a talk entitled, “Beneath the Surface: Uncovering the Environmental History of the Penobscot River,” on Thursday, January 19 at noon in Norman Smith Hall on the University of Maine Campus in Orono. Her presentation will explore the changes in the Penobscot's water quality, flora and fauna and human interactions over the past 50 years. Sponsored by the Mitchell Center, the theme for the spring 2006 seminar series is “Penobscot River Research - Looking to the Future.” The Center offers “occasional” lectures by renowned environmental and water resources professionals and researchers. The lectures are open to the public. For parking permits and/or directions, contact Ruth Hallsworth at hallsworth@maine.edu or phone her at (207) 581-3196.

Natural history conference: The Cape Cod Natural History Conference, sponsored by Mass Audubon/Wellfleet Bay, will be held March 25 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cape Cod Community College in West Barnstable. The full day conference features presenters from environmental organizations across Cape Cod, covering a diversity of natural history topics. Learn about local research projects, conservation efforts and local environmental organizations. Participants will receive a summary of presentations. For more information, phone the Wellfleet Bay office at (508) 349-2615 or email wellfleet@massaudubon.org.

Maine Coastal Waters Conference 2006 will be held Monday, April 10, at the Samoset Resort, Rockport, Maine. The event will focus on issues of concern to managers, researchers and those who love the Maine coast. Sessions will include: Our Changing Coast; Water Quality/Toxics; Coastal Habitats; Linking Land Use to Coastal Resource Health; and Diadromous Fish. Sponsors include Friends of Casco Bay, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Maine Department of Marine Resources, Maine Sea Grant College Program, Maine State Planning Office and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service-GOM Program. Information is available on the Maine Department of Marine Resources Web site at www.state.me.us/dmr/coastalwaters2006/.

© 2005 The Gulf of Maine Times