By Mirna Borrego / Education and Community Outreach Officer
This article was translated by Gaël Courtin
Working closely to bird conservation gave me the opportunity to discover places that I had never imagined, to meet people from who I learned a lot and to reaffirm that birds need us as much as we need them, in this trip I got to know people with a genuine noble and positive interest in the caring and appreciation of birds but not only this, I had the opportunity to be with Joan, in a trip he will not forget for sure.
On April 26, 2018, we nominated youths from the community of La Chorera, in San Quintín Bay. Among hundreds of youngsters from Latin America and the Caribbean, Joan Hernández was selected to participate in the workshop “Birds, Professional Careers and Conservation”. Joan is an enthusiastic teenager from the community of La Chorera and a member of the Huellas Volcánicas Photography Club.
The workshop was an initiative of the Celebrate Urban Birds program of the Cornell Laboratory. It is a project of participatory science created in 2007, in the Laboratory of Ornithology of the Cornell University. Its main goal is to integrate people from all ages to participatory science, the esteem for birds and conservation efforts.
Thanks to the help of Marta del Campo, and the director of the Celebrate Urban Birds program, Karen Purcell, we took part in the workshop with the blessing of 3 days of snow, surrounded by colourful trees and a warm welcome, we visited the laboratory accompanied with experts who led us to an exploration of the laboratory’s taxidermy collection and we spoke about extinct migratory birds and those that are at a risk of extinction, we learnt about scientific illustration, recording of natural sounds and its implementation in investigation and monitoring.
We had a chat with the other travellers from Latin America who were doing their doctorate in the laboratory, we visited the MacaulayNatural Sound’s Library, we did a night walk by the SapsuckerNature Sanctuary and in a snowy atmosphere we observed colourful birds doing their wonderful show with a whitish landscape at the background.
The most useful part of this experience wasn’t the place we visited, but the great people we met, youngster with their supervisors coming from Chiapas, Yucatán, Valle de Bravo, Puebla, San Luis Potosí and Puerto Rico, people who share the interest for birds and who have performed citizen science projects from different models of communitarian organization, who struggle to spread the importance of being close to birds and who now made us part of a network of publishers involved in the community.
I was close to Joan during the development of his project, resolving his doubts and learning together, I’m sure that this experience resulted in making us more aware of nature conservation and bird conservation, during the workshop, they gave us tools for the development of communitarian projects that strengthen the identity of the community and moreover promote the appropriation and responsible use of natural areas.
After this experience we are committed to do a follow-up and came back home to start a project with the funds of Laboratory of Ornithology.