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Helen G. and Allan D. Cruickshank Education Award

The Helen G. and Allan D. Cruickshank Education Awards are given to projects that expand and enhance knowledge of Florida's native birds during primary and secondary education. This award is generally given to a Florida primary or secondary teacher to create or enhance teaching of classes on the scientific study of birds, to provide support for continuing education for teachers, or to otherwise promote education about native Florida birds in a public setting. The applicant should email the following to the Committee Chair by September 1st of each year:

(1) a two-page written description of the proposed use of the award

(2) a schedule with dates for proposed activities

(3) a budget

(4) a curriculum vitae

The recipient(s) will be announced at the fall meeting of the Florida Ornithological Society.

For questions concerning the Cruickshank Education Award, please contact the Committee Chairman.


Laura Wakefield, Ed Toothe, and Bob Paswaters—Neptune Middle School

Florida Rookery Project, an after-school program that teaches children how to monitor activities at a wading bird colony


Julie Poth—Boyd Hill Nature Park

Migration station to benefit school children


Linda Hartman—Roy Hyatt Environmental Center

Improvements to a bird viewing station on a 120-acre environmental education site


Gabe Vargo—Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

What bird is this? Hands-on educational display about birds of prey

Allan D. Cruickshank

Allan Dudley Cruickshank was a nationally known ornithologist who has been described as “a modern Audubon with a camera.” Cruickshank, a lecturer and teacher, was on the staff of the National Audubon Society for 37 years. He wrote and illustrated many magazine articles and a number of books on ornithology, some with the aid of his wife, Helen.

Pocket Guides included “Birds Around New York City,” “Wings in the Wilderness,” “Hunting With the Camera,” “Cruickshank's Pocket Guide to Birds,” “1,001 Questions About Birds” and “Summer Birds of Lincoln County, Maine.”

He was for many years the official photographer of the National Audubon Society, and his pictures appeared in more than 175 books and won awards in numerous exhibitions.

His interest began at the age of 10. He was on his way to West 23d Street to get a newspaper for his mother when he spotted a strange bird—clearly not a pigeon, English sparrow or starling—perched low on a willow tree near Eighth Avenue.

As the boy inched closer, the bird remained calmly on its perch and studied him. The bird, the boy was to learn, was a screech owl, as uncommon in the area as willow trees now are.

Excited by the experience, the boy started going uptown to look for birds in Central Park. And when his family moved to the Bronx, then largely rural, he was ecstatic over the specimens he found in woodlands, gardens and orchards.

It has been said of Mr. Cruickshank that he had “flown, climbed (and fallen), crawled and ridden into almost every corner of North Americt” to study wildlife in its native habitat.

He was born in St. Thomas, the Virgin Islands, on Aug. 29, 1907, to a Scottish father and a French mother; came to this country at the age of 2 and lived mostly in and around this city.

Mr. Cruickshank, who attended New York University, was former president of the Linnaean Society of New York, and a member of the Wilson Ornithological Club, the Nature Conservancy, the Wilderness Society and the Izaak Walton, League, among others.

With his wife Helen he received the John Burroughs Medal for 1949 for “Flight Into Sunshine.” He also received several other awards.

Helen Cruickshank
Helen Cruickshank

Helen Cruickshank authored, co-authored, or edited 12 books about birds. She won the John Burroughs Medal in 1949 for "Flight Into Sunshine," a book about the challenges and joys of a trip to Florida with her husband Allan to photograph birds in their habitats. She also won the Oppenheimer Award for best Texas book of the year in 1968 for "A Paradise of Birds." Brevard County honored both of the Cruickshanks by establishing a 140-acre sanctuary in Rockledge, Florida.