Jason Ward (pictured, left)—Bronx-born birder and host of the Birds of North America web series—will speak twice at the Ohio State Columbus campus on Tuesday, Feb. 18: first, from 7:15–9:30 a.m. as featured speaker at the Environmental Professionals Network (EPN) monthly breakfast program.; then, from 7–8:50 p.m. at a screening of episodes of Birds of North America as part of Ohio State’s Environmental Film Series.
‘Dedicated to spreading my love for wildlife’
Born and raised in the South Bronx, “I grew up around drug use, gangs, and crime that occurred so often it was normalized and often an afterthought to those who lived around it,” Ward writes in “From Birding in the Bronx to Birding on Your Screens, It’s Been a Journey,” an article on Audubon.org.
“You’re probably wondering how I managed to steer clear of the volatile ecosystem that seemed to engulf anyone that it touched,” Ward writes in that article. “Well, little eight-year-old Jason had a secret—a secret that kept me safe and occupied. I loved animals.” (Read the full article.)
Since seeing his “spark bird,” the bird that turned him into a birder—a peregrine falcon he saw from a window of the homeless shelter where his family was living—Ward says he has “dedicated my life to spreading my love for wildlife to as many people as possible.”
In addition to hosting Birds of North America, he is the founder of Tricky Bird ID on Twitter and is a Fund II Apprentice with the National Audubon Society.