Researcher to Study Economic Impact of Birdwatchers in Ohio | Ohio Sea Grant

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Researcher to Study Economic Impact of Birdwatchers in Ohio

12:00 pm, Mon March 1, 2010 –

The average birdwatcher in Ohio is a Baby Boomer with an average individual income over $50,000, often with at least one college degree. With numbers like those, the state’s 2.4 million birdwatchers are obviously an important segment of Ohio’s $39 billion tourism industry, but until now, no one has studied exactly how much they impact the state’s economy. In the coming year, however, Ohio Sea Grant researcher Philip Xie plans to find out, and the information he uncovers could be used by resource managers, conservation groups, local officials, and tourism organizations to create new programming, improve and preserve natural areas, and entice new visitors-and their dollars-to the Buckeye State.

Xie, Associate Professor at Bowling Green State University, will focus his study on six sites along the shores of Lake Erie, from Toledo to Conneaut. "Using a 50- or 60-question survey, we’ll ask if they’re from out of state or in state," he says. "How much are they spending to travel? How much on food, accommodations, and equipment while they’re here? Lastly, we’ll ask for feedback on what they like and what they’d like to see improved." By talking to many different bird enthusiasts to pinpoint their expectations, Xie’s research can help resource managers, local governments, and tourism groups hone their facilities and programming to satisfy a variety of visitors.

Frank Lopez, who manages Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife, believes the study will also give communities the hard data they need to back up their conservation efforts. "In Ohio, conservation and land-use decisions are generally made at the local level, so giving the decision-makers a full picture of the economic value of wildlife resources and habitats could lead to improved or additional access to public lands," he explains.

Preliminary data from this study will be available in spring 2011.

To read more about this Ohio Sea Grant-funded research, visit .

ARTICLE TITLE: Researcher to Study Economic Impact of Birdwatchers in Ohio PUBLISHED: 12:00 pm, Mon March 1, 2010 | MODIFIED: 1:12 pm, Tue April 28, 2015
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Stacy Brannan-Smith
Authored By: Stacy Brannan-Smith
Communications Specialist, Disability Rights Ohio

Stacy Brannan-Smith has worked in the communications field for more than a dozen years and was Associate Editor at Ohio Sea Grant from 2008 to 2010. She currently serves as Communications Specialist at Disability Rights Ohio, the federally designated protection and advocacy agency for people with disabilities in Ohio, where she oversees the organization’s media relations, social media, website, branding and general communications efforts. She lives in Worthington with her husband, Adam, and her son, Henson.