Conservation Award

PLEASE NOTE: This is an archive article from 2010. It may contain out-of-date information.

Andy Ednie (left) receives the Conservation Award from Del. Audubon
president Mark Martell. Photo by Fred Breukelman.

Andy Ednie was awarded the Delaware Audubon Society Conservation Award at the Annual Meeting on November 12, 2010.

The words, "This is Birdline Delaware," are heard over the airwaves every week from 1450 WILM News Radio. 1.5 million listeners have received the latest information on birds, their conservation and culture through the radio every week for the last 12 years from Andy Ednie. Andy is a homegrown conservationist, a native Delawarean who has spent most of his life in the state. He currently lives in Claymont with his wife Jana.

When his father was transferred by DuPont to Nashville, Tennessee, Andy's first recollection of nature was seeing a Red-headed Woodpecker at his bird feeder. He began birding as a teenager on the Brandywine Creek State Park Census under the tutelage of Winston Wayne, who taught him the finer points of ecology. He also became involved with Russ Peterson's campaign for Governor, and the Coastal Zone Act while in high school.

Andy was concerned about the lack of national recognition for the State in the birding community. He was asked to co-compile Delaware's seasonal reports for American Birds, now North American Birds, published by the American Birding Association. He held that position for 25 years, advancing Delaware's recognition as a prime birding area in the country. He also compiled the Audubon Christmas counts for Elkton, Middletown and finally Bombay Hook, for the last 15 years.

His involvement with collecting seasonal reports introduced him to Armas Hill, compiler for the Philadelphia Birdline out of the Academy of Nature Sciences in Philadelphia. Eventually, "Birdline Delaware" was set up at the Delaware Museum of Natural History for birders to get a weekly report on the changing seasons in Delaware. Sally Hawkins and Allan Loudell, then from WILM, approached Andy to put the "Birdline" on the radio and to address issues of interest.

Andy says there is no greater delight then birding in Delaware, whether it's Brandywine Creek, Bombay Hook, or Thompson's Island at Rehoboth Beach. Being on the radio is also a joy, especially getting to play bird songs like the White-throated Sparrow, possibly the best songster in North America, and Andy's favorite bird. It's also a challenge to address issues like urbanization, use of pesticides, and over hunting into topics for a weekly special feature.

Andy is a nurse practitioner for E. Russell Ford, M.D. in internal medicine. He is a graduate from the University of Delaware, with a master's from Widener University and an NP diploma from Wilmington University. His study as a medical professional corresponds to his love for the environment. Lynn Frink, founder of Delaware Audubon and Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, taught him that all life is sacred and provided a role model for using birding as a science.

To manage stress, Andy often takes to the field to spend some quiet time observing nature. "Over urbanization not only stresses the environment but also humans. Birds act as a barometer of not only ecological health but also the health of mankind. By awareness of our surroundings, we are able to assess the status of our own society."

Andy testified for Delaware Audubon in the effort to make Texaco accountable for its violations of the Delaware River. Together with the Natural Resources Defense Council 3.93 million dollars in fines were brought to Delaware.

"Birdline Delaware" is broadcast on WILM 1450 radio on Wednesdays at 7:30 am and 6:30 pm, and the transcript is sent out Friday evenings on the DE-Birds listserv. You may subscribe to De-Birds here.

For a complete list of previous Conservation Award recipients, click here.