Conservation is a Process

Los Angeles Audubon has definitely slowed down this time of year, but it continues to surprise how much work still needs to get done. Conservation work is never ending. Education is never ending. Learning is never ending. Sometimes I feel like I have a breather, and then I realize my mind is sparking back and forth with numerous ideas of what to do, what to teach, and what to learn. My teacher once told me that was the mind of a scholar, but sometimes I think that’s the mind of a fidgeter.

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Taking some down time to sketch Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia )

These past two weeks with Los Angeles Audubon have been a blur with code switching from habitat restoration, to education programming, snowy plover monitoring, and now least terns, and out of nowhere I realize it is mid July and no longer June. And I am wondering where time is flying, and that one year has passed since I graduated from university, which means I only have four years left to think research and apply to graduate school (yes, I am taking a five-year gap…max).

There was a lot of reminiscing taking place this week, in a good way. A lot of thoughts going through me of who I am and want to become. Aside from all the outdoor work (which I love doing), sometimes I forget how much I also enjoy doing passive work. This week Stacey (my supervisor) challenged me, wait let me back track. So Latino Conservation Week is coming. Latino Conservation Week is the week long event of outdoor activities throughout the nation that promotes Latino inclusion in outdoor activities such as hikes, walks, conservation talks, backpacking, etc. Lots of cool stuff! Well Los Angeles Audubon decided to take part and sponsor an event for this week, and Arely and I were put in charge. I love coordinating things and programming events, and advertising, so I created a flyer and sent it to Stacey for it to be approved. Sometimes I forget Stacey is an artist and appreciates art because she sent back my flyer and asked “if the images in the flyer were mine or where did I get them from?” Of course, I didn’t draw them, and of course she asked me to draw them and that it would be neat and cool to use my art in the flyer. I am not going to lie, at first I was a little taken aback and wanted to neglect for multiple reasons: 1) art takes time, lots of time, especially if you’re a perfectionist (*raises hand) 2) there was lots of things to do ex. snowy plover monitoring, habitat restoration, and actually planning logistics of the event 3) I like to paint, not necessarily draw unless it is doodling. After a five minute process of neglect, I shifted the focus of my mind to a positive one, and told myself “Hey, it’s a challenge. Go for it. You know you can draw.” And in fact, the process of drawing reminded me so much of how much I enjoy passive exercises and how much I need them. It allows me to collect my thoughts and focus solelyon the paper and pen.

Tying this back to conservation work, I think for a little while, I was surrounded by nature, but was not in nature. I have a crazy sun tan going on right now, dirt stains on my pants, but I don’t remember what plants I touched, smelled, or looked at. I don’t remember what birds I saw or heard aside from the snowy plover fledgling I am monitoring (which in fact should be fledging anytime now!). I realized there is so much conservation work that needs to be done, and I am passionate about it, but I am really going to miss out if my focus is an end product and not a process because in fact, conservation work is never ending.

Oh and I am also challenging my perfectionism.

 

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Final product of my drawing project.

Tania Romero
t41romero@gmail.com

I value learning and stories. There is something very magical in sharing, listening, and discovering. In love with life, birds, community building, y escuchar y hablar el idioma español.

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