Local resident wins prestigious bird award

2014-02-17T00:00:00Z Local resident wins prestigious bird awardHeather Augustyn Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
February 17, 2014 12:00 am  • 

CHESTERTON | Dr. Kenneth J. Brock, long-time resident of Chesterton, has been awarded the ABA Ludlow Griscom Award recognizing Outstanding Contributions in Regional Ornithology.

Local birder and past recipient of the award himself, Geoffrey Williamson nominated Brock for the “dramatic advancements he has made to the state of ornithological knowledge for Indiana as a whole and especially the broader Indiana Dunes and Lake Michigan ecosystem.”

“It really is an honor," said Brock. "Some of the biggest names in birding have won this award."

Probably the most well-known recipient, the first recipient, was Roger Tory Peterson

Brock has been a fixture of the northern Indiana birding scene since 1970, when he moved to the area upon accepting a faculty appointment to teach geology at Indiana University Northwest in Gary where he taught for 32 years before retirement.

Among Brock’s contributions to the documentation of all birdlife in the state of Indiana is the publication in 2006 of the definitive CD-ROM Brock’s Birds of Indiana, authorship of the book Birds of the Indiana Dunes, and authorship of numerous articles on Indiana’s birds, especially in the Indiana Audubon Quarterly.

“His impact on our understanding of birdlife in Indiana has been tremendous and will be lasting,” said Williamson.

Brad Bumgardner, interpretive naturalist for the Indiana Dunes State Park said, “Ken’s study of the lakefront migration phenomenon, both spring and fall, is landmark. So much of what he has learned and taught us has made expert birders and advanced ornithologists out of so many people that began as casual bird enthusiasts.”

Brock still goes birding with groups each Saturday and he cites among his birding highlights viewing a white-winged tern, the first sighting in the Midwest in 100 years in 1979 near Hammond; and viewing a kirtland warbler in his own backyard, one of the most endangered species in North America, in 1981.

He says he has met most of his birding goals over the years and now likes to just “kick back and enjoy the birds.”

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