Wednesday, 30 October 2013

When I grow up

What do you want to be when you grow up?
This is a question asked to every young person multiple times over the course of their adolescent life. It's a superb question designed to spark the imagination of young minds and hopefully create a drive and passion in them to work hard throughout their education to become what they dream.
It's a question that has no correct answer, and allows a child to literally pick anything in the entire world.
When I was younger I can't quite remember what I said, but I think it was something like being a train driver or Superman (the obvious two choices!). One thing I can remember however, is that when I was asked this question, the birdwatching seeds had just been planted in my mind upon seeing my first Jay visit my garden and knocking me for six when seeing its phenomenal barred black and azure primary coverts.
The point of this is that the question of 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' can have any answer based on what that child aspires to at that moment in time. Some children may well follow up on this dream and work incredibly hard over their life to succeed in what they want to do and never veer off that path.
Has that happened to me? Well I can certainly say for sure that I don't even work for the Daily Planet, so I'm not even half way to Superman, however I guess there is still a very small part of me that would enjoy being a train driver, I mean who wouldn't!?
My dreams of my future path changed hundreds of times over the course of my education from engineer to sniper (genuinely!), but one thing that has remained on the same path from the time of that first question was asked is my interest in birds.
I have now harboured an interest in birds for the last 15 years which I feel is remarkable considering I have been introduced to a lifetime of possible interests and career paths. This surely must show that I was either secretly very stubborn on my path to bird watch, or there is something quite uncanny about how birds and wildlife can affect a young persons life if they get that right spark at the right time.
So I will ask you this: Why do you like birds?
I will have a go at telling you why I like birds over pretty much anything else in this world. For a start, it's a universal hobby. You can literally plonk yourself anywhere in the world and you can start bird watching, from the depths of the deepest jungle, to the centre of one of the biggest cities in the world, New York.
I visited New York in October 2011 and was astonished by the number of tame birds in the most remarkable of places such as Yellow-breasted Chat, Ovenbird and Grey Catbird hopping around the ice rink in Bryant Park and even a Hermit Thrush seemingly trapped in the terminal for the Staten Island Ferry.
Hermit Thrush I rescued from the Staten Island Ferry terminal in New York
Yellow-breasted Chat at Bryant Park.
That very first Jay I saw was so powerful in my mind that I couldn't sit there just accepting that a stunning bird was visiting my little bit of the world. I had to visit the library as soon as possible and work out what an earth this remarkable exotic bird was visiting my bird table and where is the nearest zoo for me to take the bird back to.
I have had an interest of all species of wildlife for periods of time, particularly with Lepidoptera and Odonata during the midsummer months as this is when birdwatching in Britain is at its quietest, but there has never been that unbroken flame inside me like there is with birds.
Birds can fly, so with the exception of Ostrich, Kiwi, Kakapo etc, pretty much any species of bird has the theoretical chance of occurring in Britain, no matter how small that chance may be (obviously endemics of Indonesia probably have next to no chance, but the point is that there is a chance!) so the twitching side of me is eternally excited.
I genuinely believe that being a British birdwatcher is like winning the lottery of birdwatching life. In a European context, we are the best country for rare vagrant birds turning up from North, East, South and West, so you never know what will be in the next bush.
Blue Tit: he best resident British bird?
However, there are two main reasons why I believe this bold claim:
1. The breeding birds. We have some unbelievable common resident birds such as the Blue Tit. This is a species that we all take for granted because they are so ubiquitous, but you can be a bed ridden birder for the rest of your life, yet you could still enjoy the stunning beauty of the charismatic little Blue Tit just outside your window being aggressive towards everything.
2. After reason 1, there may not need to be a reason 2, but after attending the migration festival at Spurn Bird Observatory this Autumn, I realised that one of the main reasons why Birdwatchers put the great in Great Britain is that even when the bird numbers are not that enormous and the expectations of those pesky Easterliers never come into fruition, the good humoured conversation and contagious passion shared by almost every birdwatcher in Britain makes for a day to remember 365 days a year.

John Lennon remembers this from primary school; '“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life.”

No matter what I do during the day, no matter what my mood is, my day can always improve by sharing a moment with a bird.

-Zac Hinchcliffe 
When Zac's not counting birds on patch, he's usually ringing birds on his regular Bangor site or is depressed that he does't have the money or time to twitch the latest big thing. Zac is 21 and currently studying a Research Masters at Bangor University and investigating Welsh Twite; adding a touch of science to his birding.

Monday, 28 October 2013

7 lifers in 2 days! The North-east coast with Anthony Bentley

Monday 21st - Tuesday 22nd October 
After a long night shift, 6:00am came along and it was time to head off for my slog of the North east coastline. A two day trip; I had planned to get a few lifers. Leaving work, I had the chance of 5 lifers on the first day, and with a wind and rain the feature of the night before I was confident in connecting with some of these birds.

My first site, Spurn Point, delivered what it promised. After parking up and putting on layers and layers of clothes I headed towards the canal walk where a DUSKY WARBLER had spent the last few days. Upon arrival there were two other birders already present and I quickly got onto the bird giving nice views. Next I went over to the “Numpties” to do some Vis-mig. There was a fair movement of Goldfinches with some Chaffinch and Lesser Redpoll moving south as well. A brief look at the sea provided 22 Whooper Swan south and a small flock of Common Scoter. After a walk around The Warren I connected with the BARRED WARBLER that had been present for quite some time. The second lifer of the day! Sadly views were brief and the bird only showed in the open once. A Merlin was seen on two occasions giving the local passerines bother. The rain came in so I decided to get off to my next location.

I was hopefully of connecting with a SIBERIAN STONECHAT at Scalby Mills, Scarborough. Especially as I dipped a county bird a few weeks back! I was the only person on site for most of the time and struggled to find the bird. It was a large area with plenty of hiding places. A group of four birders turned up, they had been before and knew where the bird showed. After five minutes of their arrival the bird was found. A lovely looking bird that I though would be the nicest of my trip…
Siberian Stonechat (Saxicola maurus)Scalby Mills, Scarborough©Jack Bucknall
Next on my hit list were the WESTERN BONELLI'S WARBLER and PALLID SWIFT at Hartlepool Headland. After a long drive on some less than ideal roads in less than ideal conditions I made it to St Hilda's church at about 3:30. Knowing the swift wouldn't be seen until it came into roost, I had a go at finding the Bonelli's Warbler. After 10 minutes, I was on the bird, with brief views nobody else getting onto it. This happened a few more times, and as a young birder, I felt like other birders were doubting me. There were a few Chiffchaffs present and those were the only thing the other birders could get onto. So it was time to get the camera out to photograph it. I got onto the bird further away from where the others were looking and it showed well, although never fully in the open. The other birders did manage to get onto the bird eventually! It was getting darker so I focused on watching the Pallid Swift coming into roost. The bird came into the area of St Hilda's church at 6:00pm and flew around for a few minutes before roosting under the slits on the church out of view. I was happy to tick it but still wanted better views. A great day beating my previous record of 5 lifers in one day.
Western Bonelli's Warbler (Phylloscopus bonelli), Hartlepool Headland
©Jack Bucknall
Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus), Hartlepool Headland
©Jack Bucknall
Next morning I was back at the headland by 07:50 but the Pallid swift had already departed and didn't stick around. So I wandered around searching the area, not finding much. I then picked up the Swift flying over the Houses south of St Hilda's! The bird showed very well zooming past down to ten feet! It was extremely hard to photograph in the murky conditions but after some time I had shots I was happy with. I tried to locate the Bonelli's Warbler for visiting birders but it was just too windy and the likelihood that the bird was hiding away deep in a bush or had left overnight. I was ready to leave for RSPB Saltholme.

In the car park at Hartlepool Headland another birder asked if I had been to see the HOOPOE at Bishop Aukland. I knew about the bird but had no directions. He kindly told me the location and roughly how to get there. After some driving around, I eventually found the site. I got onto the bird as soon as I got there, watching the bird preen on a brick in the open. There were 4 photographers on site and as a group moved closer. 1 of them split from the line and walked 2 metres ahead of us. That flushed the bird. Some people don't have a clue! The bird was then difficult to find and showed well but at a distance. I had a flyby which was brilliant! The best looking bird of my trip by far. And my 7th Lifer in just 30 hours! Rain set in, I was completely knackered so decided to head home. A great trip to the North East. One of the best days birding I've had and one I won't forget in a hurry.
Hoopoe (Upupa epops), Bishop Aukland, Durham©Anthony Bentley
-Anthony Bentley
Anthony is a 20 year old Lincolnshire-based birder. Birdwatching started as a small hobby with him, not taken seriously at all, but now Anthony is listing, twitching and photographing anything he can get too!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Guest blogger: Jonny Rankin

Firstly with thanks to NGB for letting a last generation birder offer up a post to the Next Generation! The ethos behind NGB is solid and any celebration of nature is good news, especially when done by the young. As such I am delighted to be writing this.

A video I did for the RSPB last year offers a handy introduction to myself…

Just like Jonny from The RSPB on Vimeo.

Now we are acquainted I’ll continue.
Whilst I do go birding – in the traditional sense – it is also engrained. I put the bins round my neck when I walk the dog and mentally list on car and train journeys. If they haven’t already these obsessive behaviours will befall NGBs too – I am sure!
To me birding is as important and habitual as listening to metal and riding my bike.
Birding, especially over the last five years has been all about adventure. It has taken me 4170m up in the eastern Himalaya and high into the Arctic Circle well past 70° north. Closer to home it has led me to make truly great friends, meet my MP, write magazine articles and do guest blogs! All of which I enjoy very much… 
Another aspect that has developed more recently is fundraising, specifically for the RSPB and the multi partner Operation Turtle Dove. Through a Big Bird Race in 2012 (read about that on the Birdwatching Mag Site) and running my first half marathon earlier this year to date £600 has been raised. Along the way I also picked up a Turtle Dove tattoo!

A permanent Turtle Dove; a dream for future British summers
For next year three friends and myself are planning our most ambitious fundraiser to date. A 300 mile walk from Lakenheath RSPB to SaltholmeRSPB. We have called this journey Dove Step and hope to complete the distance in just 13 days, this requires covering up to 25 miles a day whilst also carrying our tents and other equipment.
I did a trial walk this weekend gone, covering the full daily total of 25 miles (40km) sadly it rained heavily and I had to complete it with very wet boots, this resulted in some pretty spectacular blisters which were complemented by some particularly unpleasant chaffing elsewhere! It was the furthest I have ever walked in one go. To be honest it is massively intimidating thinking about doing it thirteen consecutive days in a row!
So, we feel it is a worthy challenge and a good way to demonstrate our dedication to helping Operation Turtle Dove. Turtle Doves are such a good flagship species to campaign for; they are cross-continent migrants, declining farmland birds, targeted by hunters overseas and already in the public conscious through literature, songs and even art.
Do follow our progress on the Dove Step blog as we prepare and ultimately undertake the walk itself.

I will also be checking back on the NGB blog and Twitter feed and look forward to reading your adventures through birding, ringing, photography, art, fundraising, whatever path your birding takes you down!

-Jonny Rankin 
Jonny is a birder, metalhead and rider. Sometimes all at the same time! The first two activities have been with Jonny since birth and he has ridden since he was 14. He came up trumps this June by finding the Suffolk Pacific Swift, enjoyed by many.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Coming of age

It's 11:55pm on October the 22nd
and I turn 18 at midnight.
So what? 19 million people plus will be acknowledging their birthdays too. A significant figure will also be the same age as me. At 0:00 hours, we'll be able to (depending on our country's laws) get married, divorce, vote. We can place bets, get a license to own a monkey and drive an ice cream truck. 
Wonderful, again: so what?
18 is the age you're an adult. That means I'm an adult now. An adult who eats Fab ice-lollies, slides down the banisters at M&S and still thinks ET is the scariest film he's seen. I mean, I don't even have a telephone voice yet.
But it's indisputable. On the 23rd of October, I become a grownup.
My head sizzles with hundreds silent unanswerable questions about this fact. The biggest sits at the front of my mind, spelled out in a thick, black font:
How will becoming an adult change me as a birder?
Yes, I can now buy a pint after twitches (two if I've dipped) and am able to get Mullarney and Zetterström immortalised onto my skin in ink, Tristan Reid style, but does it change the way I can identify myself?
Am I even a young birder anymore? I've been one all my life so far, for the first 10 years as a bird-watcher and for the last 7 as a birder. When do I stop?
Probably not for a long time, as with the current birding demographic, you could still be considered 'young' at 35. Indeed, Ive seen sprightly septuagenarians scale fences or spring to the ground to photograph a close wader. Young at heart is perhaps a more appropriate measure. So I don't have to worry about that. 
Will my attitudes to birds change? I doubt it. I never suffered from that most heinous of birding illnesses, the 'teen lapse (Avesovirus girlsandboozii)', Gannets still hold me in raptured veneration and I punch the air every year when the first Swifts return to my roof in May. I do find myself edging towards the twitchier persuasion, and this year has seen me travel to waifs my earlier birding self would never have thought of.
Birds will never be anything less than feathered scraps of awesome in my eyes. Should the day come when I overlook the Sanderlings swarming the beach for something else, you have permission to smash my scope. Ticking should only be done by vis-mig buntings.

Crossing that blurred line in the biology textbook from tadpole to frog has provoked one of those worldly-aware moments in me. Looking back on my time on this epic spinning petri dish quickly turns to thinking about the lives of the birds that have made mine.
As I turn 18, those two year-tick Hobbies I saw in early summer are now picking apart dragonflies in the Zambezi Basin. The aforementioned Swifts which fledged from my roof will be carving up the air over their mystery Sub-Saharan home.
As I type, scores of Redwing are crossing the North Sea in the pitch black, murmuring Brents are settling down along windswept estuaries, having been above the Arctic Circle only weeks before, and god only knows where that Bridled Tern; which granted me 4 hours of beaming, dreamy-eyed viewing, is now.
I worry for the male Redstart I ringed, fledged this summer and making his first journey to his African wintering quarters. I am reassured that it is autumn by the appearance of Common Gulls on my school field. I am delighted that I can vis-mig from my bedroom window again, as the lines of bouncing Pied Wagtails drag along mipits for the ride. I am so many things because of birding.

This hobby, this infatuation has taken me to some amazing places, got me in some close scrapes (a Montenegrin farmer brandishing a shotgun, anyone?), introduced me to an amazing bunch of people and, oh yeah, got me onto some quality birds.
Those quality birds make up probably less than 3% of all the worlds 10,000 odd species, and that, to me, is wildly exciting. Im feverish at the thought of seeing Ivory Gulls on some freezing coastline or clapping sight of a Crab Plover pottering on a sandbar. Imagining a Sunbittern flashing those mosaic wings gets me giddy and Im close to tears thinking of glimpsing an antpitta. Any antpitta.
In what other hobby can you predict so much enjoyment for the future? Certainly little boredom can come out of it. It'd be easier to moonwalk with MJ than to see every bird on Earth, and that's without all the new discoveries and more lumps and splits than an ice cream parlour causing reshuffles in taxonomic lists almost weekly. It's an ever-changing, beguiling world, and it's not just one I want to be involved in as a hobby.

Turning 18 makes that confusing, uncomforting, career-tunnel; which late teens are propelled into, even narrower, with a tangle of advice, pressure and unhelpful comments echoing from all sides. I can see how it'd be awful for those who are unsure of their path, but I'm decided. It's birds for me. Other wildlife too, but mainly birds.
A cheesy quote; fridge-magnet and 14-year-old Facebook status standard, tells us to "Never do what we love for free". It sets heights loftier than a Capuchinbird lek, but I reckon, I dearly hope, that this can be my case.

I look to the Martin Garners and Yoav Perlmans of the world, striding on the forefront of ornithological discovery.
I look to those who have made birding their business: tour companies, Angel Paz (+ Maria) and co, paid to share their world with eager customers, educating and inspiring locals and tourists alike.
I look to every single conservation worker; from those negotiating with global superpowers in stuffy boardrooms to the mud-splattered few, tramping across some Eastern mudflats. Be it filling out another Blue Tit nest record card or discovering a new tailorbird species in Cambodia's capital, I can only hope to be anywhere like these lucky people are at the moment.

18. And life's not really started at all.

-By Jonnie Fisk
Jonnie is an 18 year-old Yorkshire-based birder, invertebrate enthusiast and frustrated artist. When not being oblivious to every local rarity, he enjoys autumn vis-mig and being distracted by bugs. 

Saturday, 19 October 2013

This week in birding: 12th - 18th October 2013

For those not familiar with the format, as seen on the NGB Twitter account; at the end of each 'birder's week' (Sat-Fri) I post a cartoon mash-up of all the birding events of the past 7 days, from rares to unusual events. Not necessarily confined to Britain either...

This week: A death in Derby, bereavement on Bardsey and killer crossbill numbers.  

To see previous week's editions, visit

 -Jonnie Fisk

Friday, 18 October 2013

Raptors of Spain: Photographic portfolio by Oliver Reville

Eurasian Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus), Adamuz, Córdoba, September 2013
Bonelli's Eagle (Aquila fasciata), Jaén, September 2013
Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus), La Janda, Cádiz, September 2013
Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus), Benalup, Cádiz, September 2013
Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aquila adalberti), Adamuz, Córdoba
Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus), Jaén, September 2013
Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), Jaén, September 2013
Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), Jaén, September 2013
Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus), Sierra de la Plata, Cádiz, April 2013
Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni), Alcalá de los Gazules, Cádiz, April 2013
Eurasian Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus), Cortes de la Frontera, Málaga, February 2013

All photographs by Oliver Reville, a 24 year-old birder and photographer with a particular passion for Spain.

Photographs of Spanish Imperial Eagle were thanks to a Alpasin Wildlife Hides, more information can be found on the site specifically here and here

-Oliver Reville
Oliver is a 24 year old birder and photographer from North Norfolk. His passion is the wildlife of Spain and in particular its birds of prey. Oliver's other wildlife interests are Sylvia warblers, Wheatears, Reptiles and British orchids. His photographic inspiration is Markus Varesvuo and his book "Birds: Magic moments" first triggered his own interest in photography.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

What's the need for NGB? A word from the Chairman

In answer to the question -"Why do we need NGB?": a blog post by Matt Bruce, back in September 2013. You can find it here if you prefer to read it at its original source.

"Are there enough young people seriously interested in birding, and on a wider scale, conservation, to fill the very large shoes of the older generations?

Are these young people as keen, knowledgeable and experienced as those that are at the top of their fields were in their youth?

Who will be the next Mark Avery, Martin Garner or Andy Clements? Or even the next Peter Scott or John Audubon?

Just a couple of questions I have been thinking about recently. The young people of today will be making the decisions and doing all the work tomorrow. A lot of effort goes into conservation; money, time and passion, but if there is not a concerted effort to create and encourage interest among the younger generations, the effort will be wasted as the competence, ability and experience of the current working generation will not be replaced.

This bothers me. As a 22 year old man, I'll explain how my interest was developed:

I began birding with my grandparents from a very early age. My first word was duck. At age 4 I was calling Pied Wagtails "Baby Magpies" and my first memory is of a Black Grouse lek in Northumberland when I was 5. I continued to be carted off round the UK by my grandparents until I was 14, seeing birds such as Ptarmigan in the Cairngorms and Bittern at Titchwell, which I loved and will never forget. Even with this fantastic start down the bird watching path, I became a teenager. My interest was lost, forgotten in a swirl of exams, bullying, first girlfriends and sports. And that would have been it, had I not met Zac Hinchliffe and Chris Bridge at university, 6 years after my last birding trip with my grandparents.
The simple event of meeting someone else, my own age, who had a passion for birds, sparked that interest again! These guys were not just part time bird lovers either! Oh no! Chris had twitched the East coast 6 times from Bangor, North Wales in the past year alone, and both were trainee bird ringers.

Ever since I met those two, after responding to an email about Pied Flycatcher surveys, I have not looked back. I am now a trainee bird ringer myself, I have begun to casually twitch (I am a second day twitcher on a good day, a second week twitcher if the bird has hung around the rest of the time) and regularly patch my local sites. I am an avid user of BirdTrack and have attended events such as the UK's first migration festival at Spurn this year. I would like to think I am beginning to make a valuable contribution to the one thing that captivates my passion above all else: Birds.

Now would I be doing any of that had I not met others already involved? There are 10,000 people at Bangor University, and had I not replied to that email, I would not now be writing this blog about how I think more young people should be encouraged into birding, as I could have simply missed these two now firm friends, and never thought anything of it.

What I am getting to is that an interest, is just that. An interest can be dropped for something else, or become a bore. What cannot be lost, is an obsession. I am obsessed with birds. But as a child, with so many new things always in front of me, I was only interested, and I think that it is critical to maintain that interest throughout childhood for it to have a good chance of developing into an obsession.

The main NGO's are very good at entertaining children with nature, and they form the foundations, add the kindling for that fiery obsession that could one day exist. But it is not enough in my opinion. Once that fire is lit and the smoke begins to rise, the flame needs to be fanned. With out being rude, the RSPB's Phoenix group, which is aimed at teenagers, does not do enough to create an interest in the more serious sides of birding, and caters more to those with a passing interest in the cuddly and cute. It just isn't cool, and with young people, image can be everything!

To answer my initial questions, no I do not believe there are enough young people actively interested. You only have to visit your local nature reserve or bird group to see that anyone who considers themselves young would bring down the average age considerably. Nor do I believe as many of us young people with an interest have the same skills, in practice and in theory, or experience that young people had 50 years ago, when it comes down to the natural world. You can actually find a negative aspect of the ban on egg collecting, a past time of many youngsters in a time gone by, as very few people these days possess the skills to find and identify nests, a valuable field craft in bird science today. The next big names in birding, conservation and discovery are already out there, learning their way through, but is there something we can do to help them?

There are enough young people out there, with that interest in the back of their mind, just waiting for it to burn into a bright obsession, but no one currently is trying to help and encourage them to do so! The best thing on offer to young people has been the BTO's grants for those wishing to visit bird observatories. WE NEED MORE IDEAS LIKE THIS PLEASE!

If you agree with me in any way, please get in touch, and I would love to discuss a venture that I, along with other young people, am undertaking, in an attempt to address the age imbalance in British birding. Next Generation Birders is an active and growing group of 13-25 year olds who have taken it upon themselves to encourage other young people to join them in their obsession and passion. NGB (as they are also known) have plans underway to create a network of, and for, young people to increase the interest in serious birding among the younger generation of wildlife enthusiasts. The aim is to encourage various bird related activities from patching, twitching, and involvement in local and national birding, to recording, surveying, identification discussion and anything else that will benefit the growth of interest in birding among young people, with a massive focus on networking and making friends. NGB believes that there is great potential within the younger generations that no other organisation or group is yet tapping into and thus have decided to tap into it themselves!"

Matt Bruce -NGB Chairman

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

NGB Inaugural Post

Our fantastic logo by Andrew Mackay
Welcome to the Next Generation Birders Blog, a place where a range of talented young birders will be posting their views on birds, birding and related activities. 

NGB is made up of a community of birders between the ages of 13-25. Its formation stemmed from a thriving facebook group of young birders set up in 2011 which quickly formed friendships, bridged birding gaps and increased the avian knowledge of all those involved tenfold. 
Looking enviously at our friends across the pond with their Young Birder section of the American Birding Association, we decided to take matters into our own hands and create an organisation catering for serious young birders, a demographic we feel is largely neglected by the wildlife NGOs. 
Our aim was to build NGB into an organisation to support, promote and encourage young birders and the skills associated with birding, thus contributing to ornithology as a science, and birding as a hobby. We are, after all, the future of the pastime we love! 
NGB took off in September 2013; we have an elected committee to develop this exciting moment within British birding, a burgeoning official Facebook page, a very active Twitter feed and a fantastic member base, brimming with enthusiasm and brilliant ideas. We are progressing with the expansion of the group to benefit our members, and have various ideas for how we can do this, but we need more voices!
If you are interested in joining NGB, to benefit from the multitude of networking opportunities, chances to make new friends who share the same incurable interest and to broaden your bird-brimmed horizons, please email us at for a membership form or to inquire further. 

-Our Twitter feed can be found here, we follow back!
-Upon joining NGB, you can become part of our official Facebook  group:
Thank you for reading, 
The NGB Committee