Hello everyone! As summer approaches I can notice an increase in outdoor activities and public events, which means more outreach and exciting opportunities to talk about conservation and the slough! This whole weekend was filled to the brim with activities, specifically Youth Outdoor day on Friday and Saturday and IMBD on Sunday!!
The Youth Outdoor day event was held at the Santa Cruz Fairgrounds, and was mostly for private schools, where we had a large quantity of high school students come up to us and share their interests while at same time educating them more about conservation efforts and unique habitats located nearby. On Saturday, the event was open to the public and had A LOT MORE children that wanted to play the games provided, while I educated the parents and increased awareness of the natural areas that surround them.
Sunday (everyone’s favorite day) was IMBD- INTERNATIONAL MIGRATORY BIRD DAY at the Elkhorn slough! While it is officially on May 14, which also happens to be Mother’s day, I got there bright and early to set up and transform the Visitor center to a station for innovative discovery of migrating species! (I initially had it outside, but it got a tad too windy to keep out there ) :/
We had different booths set up with coloring pages, games, and even Mother’s day cards with birds on the them, as well as a bean bag toss and fun face frames. We also had a corner with information about migration in general as well as the status of different birds and their migratory paths, and a few walking tours available for the public. Most of the time I talked with visitors about why it is important to be aware of bird migration, because we don’t actually realize how much human impact negatively affects migratory species; which is roughly 40% of the bird species worldwide. (Thank you Audubon for that information) 🙂
Many birds don’t even make it to their breeding grounds, and as an annual trip many do, its important to raise awareness to the things WE can do to help minimize negative impacts; and that is why IMBD is so important. From watching the kids fall in love with bird feathers, to adults modifying their bird feeder or being mindful of keeping cats inside; we can all do something to help out our feathery friends along their way; because every small step counts.
So even though this weekend was so busy, I love working in the outreach environment, because I feel I’m learning so much on how to tailor and deliver information that is relevant and important to different age groups. It never ceases to surprise me how we as educators and conservationists, are really interpreters of a silent yet beautiful language; of the whisper of the willows, the gurgling of a stream… the roar of the ocean. We speak the language of preservation for generations, accompanied by the song and chatter of birds and people alike. And it comes down, to connecting; whether connecting ecosystems to ecosystem or ecosystem to people.. or people to people, Youth Outdoor day, and International Migratory Bird day, and any day really- is a chance to improve, to learn, to grow, and to change for the health of the place we live in, while learning to enjoy it even more.
(And ps- apologies because my phone gave out on Sunday, so I owe all of you more pics!)