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Founders' Award

Bird Fest

Mark Oswood

Mark Oswood

Mark Oswood is the recipient of 2022 Founders’ Award for Leavenworth Spring Bird Fest (LSBF) as a volunteer.

Mark is retired (emeritus) biology professor, from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He holds a PhD in Zoology from the University of Montana. He is a freshwater ecologist, specializing in streams and rivers. His major research interest is the ecology of aquatic insects, particularly biogeography and adaptations to high-latitude environments. Since retiring, Mark has done occasional lectures, field trips, and workshops in stream ecology and aquatic entomology. However, his main interest in education has been through North Central Washington Audubon Society, leading the "What’s that Bird?" program for elementary school students. Mark has served several offices in NCWAS, including president.

Mark has been part of every LSBF, starting with the inaugural year in 2003. 

  • In the early years, he volunteered at “Bird Fest Headquarters,” at the Gazebo in downtown Leavenworth, getting people checked into field trips. 
  • Mark set up and manned a North Central Washington Audubon Society (NCWAS) information table at every Bird Fest, always at the headquarters – starting at the downtown Gazebo, and then at Barn Beach Reserve, and later, at Wenatchee River Institute.
  • Mark and Gerry Smith led “Bugs and Birds” Field Trips for several years of LSBF. The first trip was at a nearby stream undergoing habitat restoration.  For two years, the trip was held at a private property with a pond.  Mark focused on collecting and showing the variety of macro-invertebrates at the site, and Gerry focused on bird identification.
  • Mark set up and led “What’s That Bird?” – an interactive activity on the grounds at WRI, part of free Saturday drop-in activities during several years of LSBF.  Mark created “What’s That Bird” where replica wooden birds are fastened to trees and shrubs using ladders and drills to position the life-sized wooden birds. People use loaner binoculars and a photo field guide to identify the species. Mark remembers that co-awardee, Karen Haire, was instrumental in helping him brainstorm and evolve this activity, starting at Salmon Fest and the first LSBF.
  • He served on the Bird Fest committee for one year, and served as the liaison for NCWAS to the Leavenworth Spring Bird Fest for several years, starting in 2003.
  • He staffed the National Audubon Society Traveling Exhibit of Bird Photos exhibit in recent years, at WRI during several years of LSBF.