The Project

Spark Bird One Page

The People

The Spark Bird Project is led by Jenn Lodi-Smith, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs at Canisius University. She is also the secretary/treasurer for the Association for Research in Personality, associate editor of Journal of Personality, on the board of the Friends of Reinstein Woods, and mentors the WNY Young Birders Club

After spending a number of years looking for ways to intersect her passion for nature and her expertise in personality science, she got the spark for The Spark Bird Project while at Hog Island Audubon Family Camp when she learned about the concept of spark birds! Her spark birds are her kiddos who helped her notice birds and then fall in love with birding. Since then, she has had cool moments with a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, a fledgling Great Horned Owl, Black-capped Chickadees, Atlantic Puffins, and a friendly Black-throated Green Warbler.

Photo credit Andy Hebrank


Hello, my name is Genevieve Fontana, the creator behind the Spark Bird Project logo. I am honored to have been chosen for this project. I am currently in my senior year at Canisius University dual majoring in both Animal Behavior Ecology and Conservation as well as Digital Media Arts with a concentration in graphic design. I am specifically interested in how effective digital art can impact conservation efforts.

My love for birds has come from my relationship with my mom. We would spend all year long in our yard. Some of my most distinct memories are making snowmen during our cold Buffalo winters and filling the brim of their hat with black oil sunflower seeds, watching the wide variety of visitors come, including chickadees and cardinals.

If you are interested in checking out more of my work here is my portfolio

With ornithological consultation from Sara R. Morris, Ph.D., Professor of Biology, Canisius University Vice President for Academic Affairs, President-Elect of the American Ornithological Society, and Past President of The Wilson Ornithological Society (2015-2017)

With social media consultation from Janet McNally, MFA, Associate Professor of English & Director of All-College Honors Program, Canisius University.

Gear Freecycle

Did you upgrade to a better scope or outgrow a favorite birding t-shirt? Do you need to trim down your field guide collection or rehome some old bird feeders? Donate your gently used* birding gear! Gear can range from optics and cameras to books to clothes and warm weather gear to feeders, dvds, and more - anything potentially bird-related is fair game! All gear is inventoried with the WNY Young Birder Club

The WNY Young Birder Club, The Spark Bird Project, Feminist Bird Club, and Birds on the Niagara will work with community partners to redistribute gear to individuals who love birds but may not have the resources to afford birding gear and/or folks just starting their birding journey. Please contact one of these organizations if you would like to donate or receive birding gear!