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93-year-old Piedmont birder receives state honor

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BURLINGTON, N.C. -- You could say she always had a bird’s eye view of things, doing what she could to get our region’s bluebird population thriving again.

Frances Outhwaite is credited for establishing the Cedarock Park Bluebird Trail in Alamance County and has continued her work over the years with the Burlington Bird Club.

“What we were doing is we were trying to bring the bluebird back,” Outhwaite said.

“It was good for the park, good for the people to learn about nature and about a native bird that was nearly extinct in North Carolina before that, or in our area really where it was, so we really brought them back,” she said.

Her decades of work recently earned her The Order of the Long Leaf Pine award after being nominated by the club.

“Oh it feels wonderful. I want to take it to bed with me. I want to cuddle up to it,” she joked.

Outhwaite, 93, doesn’t work or drive anymore, but she still attends Burlington Bird Club meetings and gives occasional talks related to bird education.

She also volunteers with Meals on Wheels and helps with the newsletters at the Kernodle Senior Center.

Outhwaite is also a World War II veteran, serving with the Canadian Women’s Army Corp.

She is originally from England, but moved to Burlington in 1986.