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DOS October Meeting: Holly Merker “Ornitherapy: Why watching birds is not only fun but good for you”

October 19 @ 7:00 pm 9:00 pm EDT

Learn why getting your daily dose of Ornitherapy is just what the doctor ordered.  We’re pushed and pulled in many directions, no matter our age. If we allow birds and nature to slow us down, we are practicing “selfcare”. Research shows that exposure to nature actively reduces stress, depression, and anxiety, while helping build a stronger heart and immune system.  Birds are gateways into deeper experiences with nature, magnifying these benefits. Through observation, we can learn not only about birds, but gain insight into our own lives while exploring our connection to the world around us. This fosters stewardship and bolsters conservation. Within the program, we’ll delve into our connections to birds, how to practice Ornitherapy for optimal benefits, and learn about the latest research in the power of nature for overall wellbeing.


Holly Merker has a background in art therapy, but today uses birds and nature towards the same goal of wellbeing by delivering nature-based wellness programming to people of all ages.

Holly has been a professional environmental educator and birding instructor for the past two decades, working for: National Audubon, the American Birding Association, Hillstar Nature, and many other organizations. Passionate about connecting young people to birds, she co-founded the Frontiers in Ornithology Symposium, and has facilitated many young birder groups and teen birding camps. Dedicated to bird conservation, she has been state coordinator/reviewer for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird Pennsylvania since 2005.

Holly is lead author of the book Ornitherapy: For Your Mind, Body, and Soul (Crossley Books, 2021) which guides readers into explorations that optimize the wellness benefits birding can provide us.

In her free time, Holly spends every possible moment practicing Ornitherapy herself, which she credits in helping her defeat breast cancer, restoring her health mentally and physically.

Holly served as an Officer on DOS Council for six years in the role of Secretary and is thrilled to present to a DOS audience.


The venue for this meeting has yet to be determined. More information soon.