Dr. John Faaborg’s passion for birds and natural habitats was sparked by his oldest brother at the young age of 7. Bird-watching trips the pair took led John to his career path and life’s work in ornithology. For over 40 years at MU, John led students into the field to experience birds in their natural habitat in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and for 25 years to Nebraska to see up to 500,000 Sandhill Cranes roosting along the Platte River, one of the most impressive gatherings of large birds in the world. Field experiences are the very core of the critical skills our students need for real-world work in the areas of natural resources, ecology, and ornithology, but tightening budgets make their future uncertain.
Dr. Faaborg's former students have this to say about their experiences:
"John hooked me on birds in his very first ornithology class with his exceptional storytelling, passion for birds, and obvious love for teaching. …The birding trips John takes his students on open a whole new world. [They] help turn students into scientists." -Alicia Burke, Missouri Department of Conservation
"Field trips like the Crane trip are exactly the experiences most likely to spark students to connect classroom work with the world around them, and these opportunities should not be lost."
-Cara Joos, Science Coordinator, Central Hardwoods Joint Venture
"John’s enthusiasm for teaching and his genuine regard for his students was always evident, despite all-night van rides, difficult border crossings, heat, and bugs. As an academician myself now many years later, I realize John was providing “experiential learning” long before it was fashionable, and long after University budgets stopped making it easy to do."
-Katie Dugger, Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Oregon State University
"John’s passion for ornithological research and his willingness to take students on field trips truly shaped the course of my life. [From my first field experience in 1994], I now turn my attention to my high school classroom, sharing that passion for experiential field-based learning. I strive to carry his vision forward."
-Andrew Kinslow, PhD
Former students, faculty, staff, family, and friends and fellow bird lovers, please support the “John Faaborg Ornithology Field Experience Fund” to ensure current and future students can be inspired by nature and carry on the Faaborg legacy.