Jr. Birding Pt. II

Continuing with my efforts in hosting some local Jr. Birder programs this summer, we had our second activity a couple of weeks ago.  The second activity focused more on the basics of bird ID:

Activity 2: “Bird Identification: Getting Started”
Saturday, July 12th; 10:00am-11:00 am; Bobolink Trail, (Near East Boulder Rec. Center-Trailhead starts off Baseline Rd.)
Learn the basics of bird identification!  We will talk about identifying birds based on their silhouettes or beaks, along with the learning how to properly use binoculars.

Screenshot 2014-07-29 11.07.01

English Flyer

 

Spanish Flyer

Spanish Flyer

While there were only a couple of kids there, it was still great practice and experience to lead an environmental activity.  The two activities I led were: “What is a Bird” and “Bird Topography” which are both free and downloadable from the EFTA http://www.birdday.org site (Links are below the pictures)!

 

 

 

 

 

“What is  Bird” – http://www.birdday.org/2011materials/whatisabird.pdf
“Bird Topography” – http://www.birdday.org/2011materials/BirdTopoActivity.pdf

The pre-made lesson plans helped me feel a lot more comfortable in leading the activities along with the Jr. Birder books that I’ve been using as an additional guide (also found through EFTA’s site).
My only hesitation in leading these activities is the fact I am not an expert birder, and I’ve learned how to handle questions I don’t know usually with a response like, “That is a GREAT question!  Let’s write that down and we can look it up later”.  However, when leading activities for young children, you would think you wouldn’t need to be an expert, right?  In my case, I had 6-year old Owen, who truly is a mini master birder!  While I did teach him some things, such as the bird topography activity and what specific parts of birds are called, when it came to the actual bird walk he really knew every single bird we sighted along with many calls!  He stumped me during the entire bird walk and there were many times he would confirm his bird sighting or call with me and I was not entirely sure on some of them.  Some little kids never cease to amaze me!  It was very good practice in leading an activity with a kid who knows a lot about the material, and I hope he learned something new from me.  For the meanwhile, I’ll try to learn more of the local birds to hopefully stump my friend Owen next time! 🙂 Here are some of the birds that we heard and saw:

 

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Jr. Birding

About a week and a half ago, EFTA headquarters office hosted our first Jr. Birder activity!  We offered this activity in conjunction with a nature day put together by Americas Latino Eco Festival (ALEF).  As part of the upcoming ALEF festival in September, there are various programs focusing on the theme of nature and migratory birds.   The idea behind this particular activity was to have a multigenerational (a senior care group, Circle of Care, joined families with children to participate in the day’s activities) nature day to learn, draw, and appreciate the nature and birds at Sawhill Ponds.  Each participant was given a nature journal to observe nature and draw or write anything that inspired them.  These nature journals will then be put on display at the Americas Latino Eco Festival in September.

photo 1-1We started our activity with our friend from City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, Dave, who led a bird-walk throughout Walden Ponds.  We brought extra binoculars and had fun stopping to let people track down the circling hawk in the sky, Red-winged Blackbirds in the cattails along the pond, and even a Great Blue Heron across the pond.  The bird-walk ended up being a little longer than we anticipated (a little over an hour), so by the time we had walked to find a shady spot to do our kid activity, the kids were already a little anxious to go back to the picnic area for snacks.  However, they did a great job with our song map activity!  We had the kids sit in a spot where they could listen to the sounds around them, and the idea of the song map activity is to mark down where you hear a sound in relation to where you are sitting along with marking your surroundings.  The kids did a great job!  We heard a nest of baby birds in a tree, airplanes flying above, and a flock of geese flying into the water for a landing.   I really enjoyed gaining more experience in working with kids and hosting kid activities, and I feel more prepared to lead the next one!

Birds Abound Around You-song map activity

   Birds Abound Around You-song map activity

Example of activity

Example of activity

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Summer Goals

As the start of summer officially begins (this Saturday, June 21st!), I am reflecting on the past months of my internship here with Environment for the Americas along with the goals I have for the final stretch of my internship.  The wrap up of our International Migratory Bird Day: Walk in the Wild event is giving us a lot of ideas and inspiration on how to make it even better and bigger for 2015.  Overall, the final numbers are that we had over 300 participants and raised over $1,400 for habitat restoration at Walden Ponds!

Screenshot 2014-06-19 13.55.31

2014 Boulder County, CO International Migratory Bird Day: Walk in the Wild report

Find the full report here: 2014WalkathonBoulderReport

Also, the other in-office intern, Djavan Nascimento, created this awesome video of our event: (Djavan can do anything media/art related!)

Upon the completion of the event, we sent a survey out to participants and there was a lot of interest in EFTA offering some summer Jr. Birder educational programs this summer!  Our first Jr. Birder activity will be next Friday, June 27th at Sawhill Ponds with a nature walk hosted by City of Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks and Americas Latino Eco Festival.  (If you are unfamiliar with Americas Latino Eco Festival…check it out; it is largest Latino themed Environmental Festival in the world: http://americaslatinoecofestival.org/) After the nature hike, I will lead a bird-related activity from our Jr. Birder booklets…I hope we have some kids attend!  There will be a total of 3 activities throughout the summer and I am really excited to get some more hands-on experience in leading activities with children.  Stayed tuned for more updates of my sure-to-be-great summer here in the EFTA office!

Jr. Birder booklet-lots of great activities to do with kids!  (You can find at: http://www.birdday.org/shop?page=shop.product_details&category_id=64&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=696)

Jr. Birder booklet-lots of great activities to do with kids! (You can find at: http://www.birdday.org/shop?page=shop.product_details&category_id=64&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=696)

 

Boulder’s International Migratory Bird Day: Walk in the Wild

As an intern in the Boulder, CO Environment for the Americas (EFTA) office, one of my main responsibilities is to coordinate Boulder County’s International Migratory Bird Day: Walk in the Wild event which is held at a local wetlands wildlife habitat area.  I am happy [and relieved] to report that the event went great!  This was the 4th year of the event and based off the reports from all the previous years, it seems that our event here in Boulder grows more and more every year.

Some of our favorite comments about the event include:

            Mommy, let’s go find some more birds! (a newly engaged birdwatcher)
This was a great event. (Parent)

Thank you guys so much for putting on a wonderful event! It was great fun for our who family and we will definitely attend again next year–Mom of two

Thank you for hosting such a fun event.  My scout had a great day helping and my daughter enjoyed all the activities!  (Parent)

Overall, preparations for this event started around this past January and some of the details I needed to coordinate were:
-Confirming educational organizations to sponsor an education station at the event.  We had nine organizations (including EFTA) in attendance!
-Obtaining donations from local stores to support us in our raffle…the raffle items we had this year were GREAT (including Patagonia fleece sweaters, Colorado Rockies tickets, Denver Zoo tickets, and many gift cards).  The main goal of the day, besides hosting an outreach event for families to learn more about the nature and birds at Walden Ponds, is to raise funds to support habitat restoration in the form of wildflowers, shrubs, and trees.
-We are still counting, but so far, we have raised over $1000!
-Advertising the event to ensure people actually attended!
-This was was one of the most nerve-racking details to confirm.  The morning of the event we had all the EFTA staff members, education station sponsors, and birds….then we just were anxiously awaiting people to show up!  The start of the event at 9am rolled around, and sure enough, families and birders started strolling up the trail, yay!  Much to my relief, all of my efforts in advertising the event through our local newspaper (the Daily Camera), online event calendars, and facebook weren’t futile!  We actually had an attendance of around 300 people…the most to date over the 4 years of hosting this event.

2014 Walk English flyer 2014 Walk Spanish flyer

I look forward to next year’s IMBD!

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Outreach

As May draws near, in particular International Migratory Bird Day, the Environment for the Americas headquarters office in Boulder, CO has become quite busy!  Everyone (the 4 of us, 5 including Sue’s puppy, Delta) is busy typing away, talking on the phone, or organizing IMBD materials to be mailed out.  I am still in the process of finalizing details and donation requests for our IMBD: Walk in the Wild event that will be on Saturday May 17.  I am crossing my fingers that everything will come together by then.  We  have an excel spreadsheet that outlines the details of our food sponsors, cash sponsors, and other donations, and it is a little disheartening to see the ratio of yellow rows (people who have yet to respond or commit) to green rows (people who have responded or committed).  I’m confident that the event will go smoothly!

Another aspect of preparing for our IMBD event is ensuring we participate in ample outreach to actually inform locals of the event and to entice them to come.  As part of our outreach efforts to the local Latino community, I will be attending a family night meeting on May 1st at Centro LatinoAmericano para Las Artes, Ciencia, y Educacíon (CLACE) (Latin American Center for Arts, Science and Education).   CLACE is in collaboration with a local community center called Red Oak Park that is home to 59 single family units, with over 70% of the, being Latino.  Basically, on the family night I will introduce myself and just talk about our IMBD event and encourage them to come participate (…and this will give me a chance to practice my  Spanish!).

The Family Learning Center is another local community center that is doing amazing work!  I started volunteering with their high school program last night where low-income, multicultural students come for homework help every Wednesday night.  I felt a little awkward being the “new tutor” at their program last night, but I was able to put my biology skills to some use and aid in some homework help.  Boulder is, in general, a very affluent town and it can be easy to overlook the need-based programs, which is why I am so happy to be able to give some of my time to an organization in Boulder that is working with these kids.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying the Spring weather and will remain busy here at the EFTA headquarters!