My speed went from 50 to about 100mph in roughly 2.2 seconds flat! Things were moving at a normal pace…which was until this week! Somehow I went from a normal schedule of participating in surveys, purchasing materials, helping out where I could, and piecing together the upcoming festival, to SWFL surveys, the startup of fall shorebird surveys, purchasing time ending, finalizing festival plans, delivering donation letters, taking on a new volunteer and training her, safety training, the wetlands opening to the public, and so much more.
This chaos is the chaos I can truly say I love! I absolutely love being busy 100% of the time. I am often told to stop working because even when the day has ended I am still working. I guess it is safe to say I am addicted to work. I am becoming more sad every day to see my time at work slowly ticking away, but I am more excited than ever because our festival is that much closer. Plans have finally been approved, the word is spread, and fun is unfolding. It is a bit much for me to handle, and I know that if I wasn’t such a self-starter and motivator, that Deisy and I would have never been able to pull off such a big event, but I feel we have found our common ground of working together and actually completing the tasks that need to get done. It is the best feeling to see our bosses faces when they ask us to get something done and we are both able to say that’s already done and taken care of. It is even a better feeling knowing that they want us back for years to follow.
School is right around the corner and this means I will be a full time student, work study worker, full time employee, and full time event coordinator…. SI SE PUEDE!
Over the past few weeks I’ve been able to observe some of the obstacles that the Black Oystercatchers, or BLOYs, face. It has been an eye-opening experience that really allowed me to see how many challenges other species face when it comes to reproduction.
It’s a little difficult to not get attached to the chicks, especially when we’ve observed their journey from parent’s nest building behavior, to eggs, and to chicks. Unfortunately, the birth of a chick does not equal reproductive success. The small chicks are still very vulnerable to many predators and are entirely dependent on their parents for protection. This vulnerability meant that most of the chicks that we saw hatched ultimately disappeared. There are only a few chicks left out of a lot of mating pairs. It became typical to see a pair of BLOYs with a chick or two one day, and then suddenly gone the next. Some pairs re-nested, but only to face the same outcome.
Hopefully the data that is being collected will convince people that Black Oystercatchers need more protection. They are a vulnerable species that have been forced to share their territories with humans. The least humans can do is offer protection during their breeding season.
Currently, there is one particular pair of BLOY chicks that have been becoming quite popular with locals and tourists alike in Pacific Grove. These chicks have garnered attention due to the specific place in which they are currently being raised, among the harbor seals. A lot of people stop by to observe the hauled-out harbor seals and among them is a family of yipping Black Oystercatchers. The juxtaposition of these huge marine mammals with these tiny, funny-looking birds is quite a sight. I think this has been bringing a lot of attention to the birds and they are becoming more familiar to the crowds that gather.
Last week Mianna and I had the opportunity to present to a group of high school students during the Summer Latino Leadership Summit. Our presentation was based on something Mianna and I both found important…something we both lacked in skill until we learned about it during our EFTA training in San Diego.
To be more exact, 30 second introductions. We were able to give this group of 11 high school students the confidence required to become great at introducing themselves. They learned about eye contact, posture, proper handshakes, using strong words, what words not to use, and how to keep a smile on their face. After, each person had the opportunity to practice four times with a different person. There first time was filled with ‘umms’ and constant lingering eyes, but by the last time they were on-point. I hope they will take what we taught them for the future when it comes to job interviews, school interviews, and cover letters.
I have also spent this week at the office preparing for our big event on September 13. I won’t say much about yet, but it’s going to be amazing! I can’t wait to bring hispanic families together to participate in a educational, yet fun experience.
“Diversity in the world is a basic characteristic of human society, and also the key condition for a lively and dynamic world as we see today.”
— Jinato Hu
A main part of this internship has involved workshops and discussions about diversity and inclusiveness in the natural resources. Our first discussion about this was together as a group, back in February during our weeklong “Celebrate Shorebirds” intern training in San Diego. Natasha Kerr- Program Coordinator and Dr. Sue Bonfield- Executive Director, presented on their National Science Foundation funded research on Latinos and the barriers to their participation in science education along with how to improve outreach to this audience.
Along with the research presented by Sue and Natasha, we also had roundtable discussions about this topic. It was really interesting to hear from all my fellow interns about their perspective on diversity and inclusiveness for Latinos in the natural resources. The trend in the ’80’s for the government agencies was to increase diversity in the workforce by hiring women…and it has now shifted to culturally increasing diversity. It is really interesting, and not surprising, that this movement has gained a lot of momentum over the past several years with organizations such as LatinoOutdoors and Hispanic Access-who was a 2013 EFTA intern, Lesly, will be going on a weeklong excursion to see six national parks with a group of fellow Latino students!
Continuing with the trend of learning more about diversity in the natural resources, a couple of weeks ago I attended a conference hosted by the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education (CAEE) on how to better have diversity and inclusiveness in environmental education. The day’s discussion was centered upon their recent agenda to have a diversity and inclusiveness plan on how environmental organizations can increase diversity in their workplace. The common agenda goals set on this plan are to:
Increase the awareness of the value of diversity and inclusiveness in the environmental education field
increase inclusiveness skills among environmental educators
increase the diversity of environmental educators
increase the diversity of the audiences being served by environmental education
This movement to make our parks and open spaces more culturally and ethnically diverse is one I feel we can all be on board with…our parks should represent how the rest of our country looks: diverse!
Engaging Latino audiences in partnership with the Americas Latino Eco Festival during a bird walk at a local wildlife refuge.
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.
We 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!