A Great Arctic Adventure Awaits Us
on October 1>
You've got to be tough to band shorebirds in the Arctic, and young Lukas Padegimas, our Three
Rivers Birding Club speaker on October 1, will tell us about his challenge and his satisfaction.
The Western Sandpiper chick in the photo is one of the birds in his study area.
The meeting will be held at the Phipps Garden Center, 1059 Shady Avenue in Shadyside. Doors will open
at 6:30 PM for socializing, a business meeting will begin at 7:30, and the program will start at 8.
Lukas says, "As 17-year-old me stepped out of the helicopter on a foggy afternoon onto the tussock
marshland of Cape Kruzenstern National Monument, AK, I looked around at the flat, gray, and seemingly
desolate frozen landscape and asked myself, 'What am I doing here?'
"The thermometer stated that the temperatures stood in the low 30s, but the wind chill made it feel
like the low teens. There went the helicopter, and here I remained to participate in this remote field
camp as part of a five-year study on nesting shorebirds for the Artic Shorebird Demographic Network.
The next two months of my life transformed a sheltered suburban kid into a man while the tundra awoke
from its slumber into the vast green nesting grounds of a remarkable variety of birds.
"Despite the hard work involved in operating at a remote field camp in the Alaskan Arctic, it was an
adventure of a lifetime."
Ever since he saw his first Scarlet Tanager at age 12 on a Sunday bird walk, Lukas has loved birds and
birding. Having caught the travel bug at an early age, he also dreamed of traveling into remote and
exotic places. Those dreams came true first an opportunity to join the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service in studying shorebirds at a remote field camp in Cape Kruzenstern, Alaska, and next as an
intern with Wildside Nature Tours to Ecuador.
Lukas's travels have taken him to the jungles of Ecuador, the Inca trails and deserts of Peru, the
classic world of European Russia, and the great cities of Western Europe. He is currently a student at
the Cleveland Marshall School of Law, but he says, "The future, of course, remains unwritten,
especially when an opportunity beacons a new adventure."