Diversity in the Environmental Movement

“Pueden contestar en Español” a burst of hands go up as suddenly, students who were too shy to participate, began to raise their hands in excitement. I felt so proud to see so many children proud and enthusiastic about speaking Spanish. At the end of our program Lily and I handed out pamphlets about the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge in both Spanish and English. So many of the students asked for the pamphlet in Spanish that we actually ran out!

Learning how to do the Furs and Skulls lesson...after we had already taught it six times!

Learning how to do the Furs and Skulls lesson…after we had already taught it six times!

Going to these classes and teaching in both languages really warmed my heart. Growing up, I had a hard time in school because I didn’t speak English very well. I felt a lot of pressure to assimilate, and began to be a little ashamed of my culture and heritage. It’s been a long process to shake that feeling and be proud of myself and all the hard work my parents went through to be where I am now. Therefore, I was so relieved and thankful that the teachers at Harvey Scott work with such diverse students and encourage understanding about different cultures.

I’ve also had the great fortune to meet members of EPOC (Environmental Professionals of Color.) It is important, across different movements, for people of color (POC) to have a space to meet and talk. When I was in Los Angeles, I was involved in a group called LAFemmesofColor that shared similar sentiments about needing a space that was just for them. It is such an amazing experience  to be able to meet other people who share your same interests, understand some of your struggles, and have a similar cultural background, to work on problems in our communities.

I’m immensely grateful to be a part of these conversations. Meeting everyone has inspired me to continue thinking about how race and culture intersect with, and affect our relationships in the environmental movement.

Intercambio de Conocimientos en Colombia (Knowledge Exchange in Colombia)

(La traducción al Español está por debajo de la sección en Inglés) I have learned so much in just a week from living and working in Cali- Colombia with the Association Calidris (Asociación Calidris). On my first week of work … Continue reading

It’s Been Over Five Years!

It has been a very exciting week regarding the Least Terns! We have spotted Least Tern chicks for the first time in over five years and we have set up a fence within the exclosure to keep the chicks from going out of the exclosure. That will protect them from getting stepped on or ran over by a vehicle because they can be difficult to spot, even at close range. There haven’t been many crows landing within the exclosure either. Sometimes they fly over but the terns are quick to get them out of there.

The chick fence we set up covered a good amount of the nesting terns, but because of a shortage of fence, some terns were left outside the fence. The western part of the fence was made with wooden stakes and a thick plastic that was about three feet tall. The eastern part of the fence was made with wooden stakes and a smaller plastic tied to them. It was a lot of work but we had a few people helping so it went by pretty fast. We will keep monitoring the site and keeping an eye on the fence and chicks.

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Memory Trippin’

Wow. Five months have flown by faster than a diving Peregrine falcon. Now I’m here reflecting on the days when my mind wasn’t dominated by bird puns and dreams of field work. Five months ago I was still freezing in the bitter winter of Virginia, anxiously waiting to embark on this new adventure in my birding career. Today, I’m sitting in the kitchen of a student dorm made for biology geeks like me, waiting for my ride to the park, where I’ll watch scope out a colony of seabirds and chicks struggling to survive under the threat of hungry Bald eagles. I’m still cold here in the Pacific Northwest, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. This journey was beyond anything I could have expected.

They say a picture is worth a million words, so I’m not going to pester you with the surplus of extra text. Rather, I invite you: take a trip down memory lane with me…through this photo album.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nest Dragging

When I was told I would be nest dragging this week I pictured me dragging a a nest away from it mother. Well that is not what happened. We tied a long rope along our waists and walked ten miles in knee-deep water. As the rope dragged along the tall vegetation the nesting birds would flush. This would allow us to pinpoint the location of the nest. By the end of the days I was able to identify the nests of Red-winged Blackbirds, Coots, Western Meadowlarks, and Wilson’s Phalaropes.

Now that the amount of shorebirds at the wetlands has windled down to only a handful, I have focused my attention on another critical bird.. The South Western Flycatcher. These surveys take place from 4 a.m-6a.m. As an afternoon person, surveys this early in the morning where really hard for me. Although I was exhausted and ready go back to sleep, I enjoyed watching the sunrise that morning. After a five hour nap, I got up and prepared to go on an amphibian (frog) survey from 8p.m to 2a.m. The light from the full moon guided our way into the different survey areas. Although we where unable to see any of the frogs, we did learn to identify the calls of four different frogs: Chorus Frog, Great Plains Toad, Leopard Frog, and the American Bullfrog.

Nest Dragging

Nest Dragging

Red-winged Blackbird Nest

Red-winged Blackbird Nest

Nest Dragging

Nest Dragging

All Suited up!

All Suited up!

Western Meadowlark Nest

Western Meadowlark Nest

Wilson's Phalarope Nest

Wilson’s Phalarope Nest