By Guest Blogger Jeff Caplan
Good question! My bird language mentor, Jon Young, charged me with a mission: “To protect birds for generations to come, we need get more diverse families and young birders into the flock!”
Over the past year I have been building a new nest to fledge a bilingual family bird festival. I shared my excitement with the class,“This month SFBBO volunteers will be flapping their way over the hill to Santa Cruz to kick off the inaugural BirdFUNfestival!
I could already see the skeptical curiosity in the teens' eyes. “What’s a Bird Fun Festival, and why would I want to go," they asked.
I gave my best pitch about the three-day event, which takes place Sept. 14-16. At the festival, kids and their families will get to: make bird masks; learn to sketch hawks, pelicans and ospreys; build bird feeders from recycled materials; pose for a Pinterest portrait; enjoy hands-on science and art; learn how to establish better bird habitat in their gardens; “fly” with the “mini-migration"; and join a bilingual bird walk on the San Lorenzo River to learn some bird language and make new connections to birds, art and history.
By the end of our walk, the teens were laughing and sharing their enjoyment of bird language. One said "Thank you for making this so accessible, I didn't have to memorize the names of the birds to be able to listen and learn about them, and my sister enjoyed the turrent spiders we were watching, too." That's a good beginning!
I said, “If you want to have more fun with birds, tell your smart phone to go to BirdFUNfest.org." The teens and more than a few of the adults dove back into their phones with smiles and curiosity.
Jeff Caplan weaves 30 years as a naturalist and a teacher of communication skills to cultivate a common language for connecting more deeply with nature and birds. He combines storytelling, citizen science and strengthening observation skills to inspire connection and stewardship among his audiences.
Wingbeat is a blog where you can find the most recent stories about our science and outreach work. We'll also share guest posts from volunteers, donors, partners, and others in the avian science and conservation world. To be a guest writer, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.