Hello, you’ve got mail!

From: Passenger Pigeon

To: Me and You!

I’ve been thinking lately, that many of us don’t know that birds are truly the messengers of the natural world. When you think of a bird messenger, if you’re like me at least, then you think of a pharaoh from ancient times, in his robes made of the finest silks and gold, delicately placing the characters of an urgent message on a papyrus scroll, which he then rolls up to give to his falcon as it flies off into the distant desert sunset. Very Hollywood right? But in reality while historically there has been some “avian delivery,” the real message that they bring is more subtle and of greater importance.

They are, in some cases, the sole indicator of the overall health of an ecosystem; a task that is so perfectly achieved by them. Everyone has heard of the ‘canaries in the mine’ reference, so it’s known that birds are greatly affect by there surroundings. With that being said, do you wonder how many researchers are looking at the responses that birds are having to the environment?

Well many actually, I was lucky enough to be able to sit in on a Webninar hosted by Allison Vogt, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Ken Rosenburg, Cornell Lab of Ornithology where they went over the NABCI State of the Birds Report for 2014. For those of us who don’t know what the State of the Bird Report or the NABCI are, let me shed some light. The State of the Bird Report is one of 5 yearly reports that goes back to 2009, which uses data from citizen science groups like North American Breeding Bird Survey and the Audubon Christmas Bird Count to analyze the populations of birds in distinct ecological habitats as a way of understanding the trends of the populations in those habitats and the environments themselves. NABCI is a congregation of federal agencies, conservation organizations and others that together work to maintain happy and healthy bird life in North America; and thanks to all the hard work and collaboration we now have a “report card” as Allison put it, for how effective our conservation efforts are. There are people looking at the affects of our environmental manipulation on birds, and while many species are in decline there are still some hope.

So I encourage you to read the report if you haven’t already, it isn’t technical, long or confusing; it’s main audience is policy makers and the general public. Learn about what habitat you belong to and the severity of the decline of species. Understand how appropriate governmental policies can bring about change for birds, the environment and yourself. Don’t let the messages that our feathery friends are sending go unread.




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

From Alaska to Cali, Colombia-Following The Birds (Desde Alaska a Cali, Colombia-Siguiendo Las Aves)

(Traducción al español esta abajo de la sección en ingles)

Wow! I have been given the honor to work with the CALIDRIS Association from mid September to early November! Calidris is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) based in Cali, Colombia. Originally formed by biology students fresh out of college along with the guidance of their former ecology professor, Dr. Luis Germán Naranjo. The organization was inspired to expand their knowledge on shorebirds who annually migrated to Bahía de Buenaventura, Colombia. After four years, Calidris soon realized the need to expand their efforts in order to have a greater impact on the conservation of Colombia’s avifauna.

Since 1993, the Calidris Association was iniciated and continues to contribute immensely to the expansion of knowledge on Colombia’s bird diversity. They have succeeded thanks to their continual effort in the expansion of research, identification and conservation of critical habitat, and promoting stewardship through amazing environmental education programs throughout Colombia!

 Inspired? I know I am!

Currently I am in my hometown of Lennox, California. Where I am preparing for my big trip to Colombia. I have never traveled to South America, so these past few weeks have been a bit overwhelming with emotions and unexpected surprises. For example, learning that I needed to get vaccines to travel… Wow, that’s scary and pricey! Thankfully my parents are very supportive of my career goals and were willing make the sacrifice to help me. I don’t know where I would be if it were not for my parent’s support! Hopefully I can soon be able to pay them back since my father turned 65 this year and no longer has the energy he once had in the past.

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I have also been busy reviewing literature and learning the birds of Colombia. I just received my bird guide on the birds of Colombia in the mail a few days ago, and WOW the biodiversity is incredible! I am excited to have the opportunity to expand my knowledge of migratory passerines along with shorebirds! I feel beyond blessed for this opportunity, and I am extremely grateful for the Calidris Association for allowing me to be part of their amazing organization. I also thank Environment for the Americas for organizing yet another amazing opportunity that allows me to continue learning, and growing as a biologist.

Stay tuned for more updates from my new adventure as I follow the birds from Alaska to Colombia! I will be posting weekly bilingual blogs throughout my internship with the Calidris Association!

You can also learn more about the Calidris Association from their amazing web page: http://calidris.org.co/


¡GUAU! ¡Me han dado el honor de trabajar con la Asociación CALIDRIS durante los mediados de Septiembre a los primeros de Noviembre! Calidris es una Organización No Gubernamental (ONG) con sede en Cali, Colombia. Originalmente formado por estudiantes de biología recién graduados bajo la dirección de su ex profesor de ecológica Dr. Luis Germán Naranjo. La organización fue inspirada a conocer mas sobre la aves playeras que llegaban a la Bahía de Buenaventura durante su migración anual. Después de cuatro años, Calidris rápidamente se dio cuenta que avía una necesidad de ampliar sus esfuerzos para tener un gran impacto sobre la conservación de avifauna en Colombia.

Desde 1993, la Asociación Calidris fue iniciada y continua a contribuir inmensamente a la expansión de conocimiento y conservación sobre la diversidad de aves en Colombia. Logrado gracias a sus esfuerzos dirigidos a la continuación de investigaciones, identificación y conservación de hábitat critico, y la promoción de corresponsabilidad con las asombrosas programas ambientales educativos a lo largo de Colombia.

¿Inspirado/a? ¡Sé que soy!

Actualmente estoy en mi ciudad natal de Lennox, California. Donde estoy preparándome para mi gran viaje a Colombia. Como es mi primera ves viajando a Suramérica, las semanas pasadas han sido un poco abrumador con los costos y sorpresas inesperadas. Por ejemplo, aprendiendo sobre la necesidad de vacunas para viajar…. ¡GUAU, eso es asustadizo y costoso! Mis padres son agradecidamente muy de apoyo de mis metas de la carrera y estaban dispuestos hacer el sacrificio para ayudarme. No sé donde estaría si no tuviera el apoyo de mis padres. Ojala muy pronto podré pagarles por todo lo que me han ayudad por que mi papá a los 65 años ya no tiene la energía que a un tenia antes.

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También estado ocupada revisando literatura y aprendiéndome las aves de Colombia. Hace pocos días recibí mi guía de aves de Colombia en el coreo, y ¡GUAU la biodiversidad es increíble! Estoy muy emocionada de felicidad de poder tener la oportunidad de ampliar mi conocimiento de los paseriformes migratorias en conjunto con las aves playeras. Me siento mas de bendecida por esta oportunidad, y estoy muy agradecida por ser parte de una organización tan increíble como la Asociación Calidris. También le doy muchísimas gracias a Environment for the Americas por otra oportunidad asombrosa donde puedo continuar mi aprendiendo, y creciendo como bióloga.

¡Alertos para más actualizaciones de mi nueva aventura siguiendo las aves desde Alaska a Colombia! Durante mi pasantía voy a escribir cada semana un nuevo blog sobre mi experiencia con la Asociación Calidris en español y ingles.

Para mas información sobre la Asociación Calidris vista su maravillosa pagina: http://calidris.org.co/

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!

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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)


IMBD at Elkhorn Slough Reserve

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Onn Sunday the 18th we celebrated International Migratory Bird Day at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve.

In preparation for the event Carlos and I were able to do some redecorating in the Visitor Center. We put up a lot of different pictures of birds on the wall; I tried picking pictures of birds that we see in the area so that visitors might be familiar with some of them. We also put up a big poster about migration, explaining what migration is and why certain animals migrate.

For the IMBD event I also decided to make something fun: bird cutouts so people could put their faces on a bird’s body. The birds I decided to make were an American Avocet, Anna’s Hummingbird, and a Mallard because they are birds that are often seen at the Elkhorn Slough Reserve.

Our supervisor Amanda A. also printed out information on “Why Birds Matter” and information about migratory birds in general that was available for visitors to take with them.

For the event we had coloring for younger children and paper-bag Heron puppets for older children.

Carlos and I also led a bilingual walk in the morning. We had 10 people on our walk, and it was pretty fun showing people the beauty of the Elkhorn Slough Reserve. It was really neat seeing how excited the two kids on the tour were as they were walking through the reserve. I think it was a good reminder that a lot of kids already have an interest in the outdoors and that we, as interns, can provide more opportunities for them to interact with the outdoors

That day we also had open lab so visitors could look at feathers and benthic invertebrates under the microscopes, which is something that is usually not available to the public but mostly to school groups. The people who I observed at the lab seemed to really enjoy and seemed to be fascinated by what they saw under the microscope.

Overall it was a good event. It was a preview of what it would be like to give walks all of the time. I feel like I still have a lot of information to learn about the reserve so I can adequately answers  questions from visitors.