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Claudia Phelps Wilds

Claudia P. Wilds, linguist, ornithologist

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Claudia P. Wilds died Sunday, June 8, 1997, at the Washington Hospice, Washington D.C.

She was 65.

A memorial service will be held from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, 1997, at the Audubon Naturalist Society headquarters. Burial will be private

A native of Aiken, Ms. Wilds was the daughter of the late Dr. Robert Henry Wilds and Eleanor Phelps Wilds. She was a graduate of St. Timothy's School in Maryland and earned her bachelor's degree in English from Radcliffe. She received her master of education degree from Harvard and did post graduate work in linguistic and educational statistics.

A noted linguistic, author and ornithologist, Ms. Wilds was employed by the State Department in 1958 to conduct foreign language training and testing programs for foreign service personnel. She later worked for the Center for Applied Linguistics and was a consultant in language testing for the Peace Corps and other government agencies.

As a member of the Audubon Naturalist Society in Chevy Chase Md. Ms. Wilds was a popular lecturer and field trip leader. She was the society's volunteer "Voice of the Naturalist," a birders' telephone hot-line reporting on rare or unusual bird sightings, for 12 years.

Ms. Wilds was the author of "Finding Birds in the National Capital Area." She worked on the National Geographic Society's field guide and was one of a group of authors to produce "The Audubon Society Master Guide to Birding." She also wrote articles for the "Naturalist News" and "Birding." She was working on another book - which will be completed by a colleague - at the time of her death.

Ms. Wilds served on the board of the American Birding Association and was an associate editor of the association's magazine. She was a member of the Maryland Ornithological Society, where she served on the board of directors and worked as chairman of its State Records Committee. She was also board member of the Virginia Society of Ornithology.

Ms. Wilds interest in shore-birds led her to a long-term commitment to monitor migratory shore-bird populations at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia as part of a larger study organized by the Manomet Bird Observatory and the Canadian Wildlife Service to locate the main concentrations of birds migrating along the Atlantic coast and to determine what areas needed to be protected.

She was the recipient of the Audubon Naturalist Society's highest honor, the Paul Bartsch Award, in 1992. She also received the Ludlow Griscom Award from the American Birding Association.

Surviving are two brothers, Sheffield P. Wilds, Kerrville, Texas, and Dr. Preston Lea Wilds, Norfolk, Va.; a half brother, Louis T. Wilds, Augusta; and a half sister, Julia Wilds Williamson, Aiken.

Memorials may be made to the Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund, or the Audubon Naturalist Society, 8940 Jones Mill Road, Chevy Chase, Md., 20815.

Aiken Standard, Aiken, SC, June 11, 1997, page 2

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