Leica Stories: Ioana Seritan

By Jennie Duberstein

I first heard the name Ioana Seritan in November or December 2012, when I received a the electronic equivalent of a stack of ABA Young Birder of the Year contest submissions. I was (and am) one of the judges for the Conservation/Community Leadership module, and for her entry, Ioana started a blog to introduce people to birdwatching. She developed an amazing series of introductory videos and did everything from capturing and editing the footage to writing the script and doing the narration. I was blown away, to put it mildly, and couldn’t believe that a high school student had put together such a fantastic, professional resource. (Head over there and check it out for yourself–go back to the 2012 archives to see her videos, but the whole blog is well worth reading).

In the summer of 2013 I finally got to meet Ioana in person when she came to Camp Colorado, and all I can say is that the lovely young woman with the infectious enthusiasm for birds and natural history that you meet in her videos is exactly who Ioana is in person. I crossed paths with Ioana again this past January and took advantage of the opportunity to ask her a few questions about what she’s up to these days.

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2013 ABA Young Birder of the Year Ioana Seritan.

Where are you from?

I am from Davis, California.

Where are you a student and what are you studying?

I’m a first-year student at UC Berkeley, where I am majoring in Environmental Science.

What do you hope to do when you graduate?

My career after college is still totally a mystery to me. I definitely want to do something related to the environment and wildlife! Conservation of wildlife and environmental resources have always been super important to me.

How long have you been a birder?

I began birding around three and a half years ago.

What Leica optics do you own?

I own a marvelous pair of Leica Trinovid binoculars! Leica very generously gave these to me after winning the American Birding Association’s 2013 Young Birder of the Year Contest.

How long have you owned Leicas?

I have had these binoculars for almost a year, and I love them!

How did winning the Young Birder of the Year change your experience as a birder? Can you tell us about a few experiences you had as a result of winning the contest?

Winning the Young Birder of the Year opened me up to a whole lot of amazing experiences – I went to a summer birding camp called Camp Colorado and spoke about my experience to the other campers, traveled to Delaware to present at the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Young Birder Conference, and was interviewed for Birding Magazine. It has been a lot of fun! I’m so glad that I could represent the American Birding Association and meet so many of the ABA’s amazing members.

What is one of the most memorable birds or experiences you’ve seen through your Leicas?

That’s a hard one! I’ve seen a whole lot of cool birds with my Leicas. Probably my favorite experience has been sharing my binoculars with nonbirder friends here at UC Berkeley, so they can see the beauty of Townsend’s Warblers, White-crowned Sparrows, and Steller’s Jays for the first time!

Ioana (in the yellow sweatshirt) at Pawnee National Grasslands during 2013 Camp Colorado (Photo by Jennie Duberstein)

Ioana (in the yellow sweatshirt) at Pawnee National Grasslands during 2013 Camp Colorado (Photo by Jennie Duberstein)