Celebra las Aves, or Celebrate Birds, is not only the title of my internship program but also an important message for bird conservation awareness. This past weekend I got to celebrate birds in the best way possible, participating in two different World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) events to talk to the public about birds, their significance, and conservation.
One event was through the Greenbelt Land Trust, a nonprofit organization focused on “protecting and preserving ecologically, agriculturally, and historically significant lands” in the Mid-Willamette Valley in Oregon. The Bird’s Eye View program provided families an opportunity to learn about birds through fun and engaging activities. These included a bird tour around Bald Hill Farm, one of the Greenbelt Land Trust’s properties. The overall audience was composed of parents and their kids. It was a unique opportunity to do a bird walk with a small group and share some facts about the amazing migrating birds that call Bald Hill Farm home. The walk also gave me a chance to introduce Spanish words related to birds to the kids that were either interested in learning Spanish or were enrolled in Dual Language Immersion Schools. To my surprise, many of them were amazingly knowledgeable about all the birds and their adaptations. However, one of my favorite parts was seeing the parents participating in all the activities along with their children. I also enjoyed hearing everyone share what they learned during the bird tour. Experiencing these types of programs at such a young age will hopefully encourage new generations to continue celebrating and appreciating birds in the future.
The second program took more planning, but it was all worth it. For the first time ever, the Lincoln City Audubon Society hosted a WMBD Festival and invited different organizations and agencies to become a part of this important day. This was the perfect opportunity to build awareness about the long journeys migrating birds take in order to breed and find food sources. The event brought in all types of people. Some had years of experience, either birdwatching or participating in other bird festivals. For others, both local and from nearby cities including Portland, this was their first time learning about the different flyways and experiencing their first migratory bird day festival. For quite a few people it was also their first time learning about Environment for the Americas (EFTA). This was really exciting for me because it meant I could tell them all about my experiences so far. I shared how much I was enjoying being a part of an organization that has contributed so much to bringing awareness about bird conservation and the protection of critical habitats for these amazing creatures.
Just as I think every day is Mother’s Day, WMBD can also be celebrated 365 days a year!! With that said, let us celebrate the important people and wildlife that have made and continue to make a difference in our lives.