Your birds, my birds, our birds

At the sake of being redundant from my last Oregon update, I’d like to make a quick statement to kick off my comeback to the world of WordPress:

My favorite thing about birds is that they are everywhere.

Through EFTA, I’ve had the extreme privilege of virtually meeting Nury of the Eduardo Umaña Mendoza School outside of Bogotá, Colombia. To say the woman is an inspiration is an understatement: her energy and drive to motivate children to be passionate about nature via the study of birds is unmatched by few. In fact, the entire school is possessed by bird fever. The teachers take every opportunity to integrate birds into their curriculum. Students do math equations by multiplying the number of birds in a flocks, use birds as subject matter for art projects, and conduct plays on migratory birds for a month-long celebration of International Migratory Bird Day. These initiatives are coupled by monthly visits from university students coming from downtown Bogotá, a trip that takes about an hour and is only possible by car. Each month these up-and-coming biologists volunteer their own time and money to travel to the outskirts of Bogota and take the elementary students out on bird walks through their school garden. It is refreshingly mind-boggling to witness institutions with so little financial resources accomplish so much. Nury and her team are a testament to the fact that big things are achievable, as long as you put your mind to it. Natasha, our Program Coordinator, had the chance to visit the school last September and was really impressed with their creativity and enthusiasm for environmental education. I hope someday to be able to share that experience!

For now, here is a flavor of a day in the life of a Eduardo Umaña Mendoza School student. This video was prepared by Nury for an exchange with an elementary school in Oregon. I’ll be going to the school on Wednesday to present the video, make toilet-paper-tube birds with the children, and film their response.

Back to my point about birds: the cool thing is that the birds seen by our Colombian friends are also seen by our Oregon students. The Shorebird Sister Schools Program illustrates this by pointing out Latin American countries that host shorebirds winter habitat. Hopefully, this video exchange will bring this concept to life by drawing on the cultural connections inherent in the movement of migratory birds.

This is the theme of Eduardo Umaña Mendoza’s blog, “http://www.ourbirdsareyourbirdstoo.blogspot.com/2013/05/a-little-bird-told-me.html”

I’m excited to see how my fellow Oregonians react, and send their greetings to our Colombian friends!

Until next time, bird on!

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