(AUGUST 8, 2023) FORSYTH, GA- The Georgia Forestry Foundation, in partnership with Georgia Audubon and Orbis, Inc., recently announced the launch of Georgia Bird Bookings. The program was created to facilitate connections between the birding community and forest landowners, especially those with working forests.
Georgia boasts over 22 million acres of privately owned working forests that account for more than 90 percent of the state’s forestland. In addition, private forests harbor some of the greatest biodiversity in the state, including forest-dependent bird species like the tanagers, warblers, and vireos. Providing access to these private working lands for birding is an easy way for landowners to gain an additional revenue stream while giving birdwatchers the opportunity to explore new birding locations.
“Birdwatching is a very popular activity that became even more popular during the pandemic,” says Jared Teutsch, Georgia Audubon executive director. “Birders are always looking for new places to go birding, and Georgia Bird Bookings will open additional lands for exploration, particularly in areas of the state that don’t have a lot of public lands. This is a win-win for birders and the landowners who sign up for this program.”
Georgia Bird Bookings is accessible through My Outdoor Agent™, a digital application that connects landowners looking to lease out properties, with outdoor enthusiasts looking for unique recreational experiences. Through the app, which is created and managed by Orbis, Inc., landowners can list available properties and include details such as available lease dates, lease terms, as well as bird sightings and species data in the area. In turn, users can search for available properties that offer access to recreational activities like birding.
“My Outdoor Agent was built for outdoor communities like birdwatchers,” said Clarence Neese, vice president and cofounder of Orbis, Inc. “We made sure it was easy to use and easy to access. You can do it all from within the app, including two-way messaging and secure payment processing so everything is turnkey.”
A study from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that in 2016, wildlife-watching enthusiasts generated $75.9 billion in revenue. With more and more people picking up outdoor hobbies over the last few years, that number has likely increased. Birders and private landowners are ideal partners, as sustainable forest management provides a wide range of forested habitats at different management stages across a given landscape. For instance, streamside buffers that are left to protect water quality provide great habitat for Swallow-tailed Kites and Hooded Warblers. Mixed forest stands also provide habitat for Pileated Woodpeckers, Red-shouldered Hawks, and Barred Owls. And a regenerating young forest is important for the Prairie Warbler and Northern Bobwhite.
“We are excited about this unique partnership that will give birders an opportunity to see species that they may not have seen on public lands, said Nick DiLuzio, vice president of the Georgia Forestry Foundation. “Ultimately, the economic return from this program provides a way to recognize landowners for their investments in stewardship while helping to keep forests as forests.”
For information on how to get your property listed on Georgia Bird Bookings, contact Nick DiLuzio, [email protected]. My Outdoor Agent is available by downloading the app through iOS or Android devices, or by visiting www.myoutdooragent.com.
The Georgia Forestry Foundation (GFF), established in 1990, is a 501(c)3 organization that focuses on the long-term sustainability of Georgia’s 22 million acres of private working forests. GFF seeks to educate and engage Georgians with the story of working forests and capitalize on our most important opportunities to capture carbon, filter water, provide wildlife habitat, create jobs and build sustainable communities. For more information, visit www.gffgrow.org
About Georgia Audubon:
Georgia Audubon is building places where birds and people thrive. We create bird-friendly communities through conservation, education, and community engagement. For more information, visit https://www.georgiaaudubon.org.
About Orbis, Inc.
Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Orbis, Inc. is a geospatial technology company providing solutions that help land asset managers and investors simplify the process of acquiring and managing large land holdings. For more than 20 years, Orbis has created custom solutions to solve challenges surrounding land transactions, land management and spatial data integration. Visit www.orbisinc.com for more information.