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A nurturing environment & safe haven with Casa del Tunel, Tijuana

2014 December 15
by Laura Pineda-Bermudez

Courtesy of Casa del Tunel

A fantastic program was hosted by Casa del Tunel in Tijuana, Mexico in August. There was also a wonderful program with Casa del Tunel’s sister organization, WorldBeat Cultural Center happening simultaneously. This is the second year there is a bi-national  program within the two organizations with a very similar curriculum. What better way to learn about nature than by being outside? Kids of all ages spent time outdoors interacting with group leaders in fun and engaging hands-on activities.



Courtesy of Casa del Tunel

In Casa del Tunel, there was a a strong focus on introducing local and cultural traditions through fun and enriching activities. Most of the children and adults participating are from El Cañon de Los Laureles in Tijuana, a neighborhood that faces ecological and economic challenges. They are exposed to violent environments with little connection to nature. This summer camp served to open their eyes and educate the kids on the importance and beauty of the natural environment around them. The children also explored dance and yoga while also learning healthy eating habits. During the lunch breaks, the kids were able to eat food that had been grown directly from their very own class garden. Overall, this summer camp was an enriching experience for both the children participating and all members the surrounding community who were involved.



Courtesy of Casa del Tunel

Courtesy of Casa del Tunel

During the program, the children were able to help out in Tijuana’s International Peace Garden. With so little places for birds in the city local and urban birds have come to visit the garden. The locals, many of which have never been so close and connected to nature, have been immensely moved by the transformation. Also, the excitement in the community has been unreal. Local birds are not the only inhabitants to the garden! Many migratory bird and butterfly species have become frequent fliers in the area. Some Funky Nests have even been spotted within the garden!!




If you want to learn more about Casa del Tunel’s events and activities, please visit the Facebook page here.

For more pictures on Casa del Tunel’s  summer adventures, check out the photo gallery below!

Inspiring Bird Art Through Haiku

2014 December 10
by Constanza Arévalo

Inspiration for creating art can be found just about anywhere. Sometimes all we need to become inspired is to take just a minute to thoughtfully observe our surroundings, absorbing the beauty that both nature and city life hold. Recently, we came across the bird-inspired haiku of the late Sydell Rosenberg (1929-1996). Though a native of New York City, Sydell found inspiration in the small nature-filled moments of her daily life, which resulted in beautiful yet simple haiku that often possess a touch of her urban environs as well. In addition to writing poetry, Sydell wrote short stories and even a novel. She was a charter member of the Haiku Society of America, founded in 1968 in New York City, and taught both public school and English as a second language.

Sydell’s sweet haiku were brought to our attention by her daughter, Amy Losak, who uses her mother’s haiku to help inspire others to create their own art. Haiku is an ancient form of Japanese poetry. In English it is usually characterized by a total of seventeen syllables contained within three lines of five, seven, and five syllables respectively- but it’s also fine to deviate from this format. It’s easy but can also be challenging! Recently Sydell’s bird haiku have been used in several visual art and music workshops for second graders, conducted at an elementary school in the Bronx, New York. Her partner in the development of these programs is Arts for All.

If you’re looking for a fun project to combine with the patient and attentive joy of bird watching, consider writing your own haiku- or any kind of poetry! All you need for this activity is a sheet of paper, a pen or pencil, and a bit of inspiration, such as Sydell’s haiku, for your own imagination to take literary flight! However, if you’re looking for a more hands-on project, we invite you to use Sydell’s haiku as a kind of guide to make colorful art. Sydell’s bird haiku, though straightforward in style, are so vivid that an image is sure to pop into your mind as you read them, making this a creative and  enjoyable project. Art projects which use these bird haiku could include painting, drawing, making a collage- or any other form of art you like.

Below is a sampling of Sydell’s bird haiku:


Even the starling

European Starling by Len Endy

European Starling by Len Endy

pauses before he jumps off

the sidewalk curb.


February: Jones Beach

a lone seagull finds

the beach all his own.



In a quiet cove

ducks abandon their formation

swimming after bread.



Crossing the wide sky

a blue jay is held briefly

Blue Jay by Michael Hogan

Blue Jay by Michael Hogan

in the window square.


Eleven wild swans

cut their flight in mid-ocean

to rest on a rock.


Hurrying to catch

the peacock’s feathers  spreading

in the camera.


Are you inspired yet? What are you waiting for? Go, be creative and discover your artistic side or share it with others!

Celebrating Birds in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

2014 December 5
by Constanza Arévalo
Courtesy of Green Jay Mayan Birding Club

Courtesy of Green Jay Mayan Birding Club

How often do you take the time to notice the variety of birds roaming your backyard and neighborhoods? The reality is that not enough people take notice of the beauty of the birds that fly by our homes on a daily basis. The Green Jay Mayan Birding Club of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico has been working hard to increase awareness of the great diversity of bird species that exists in the Yucatan. While raising awareness, they also teach the community about the importance of maintaining the habitats of these birds and the significance that this has for the local and global ecology. The club focuses on promoting a culture of bird watchers of all ages and from all cultural and economic backgrounds. Thus, the Green Jay Mayan Birding Club has a social and economic impact on the peninsula community of the peninsula by promoting the appreciation and the conservation of birds, as well as ecotourism. One of the greatest achievements of the club is that it has managed to bring the diverse people of the Yucatan together in one common goal- to watch and help wild birds. The influence that Green Jay Mayan Birding has had on the birding community of the Yucatan has also been incredible for environmental education and conservation. In times when the effects of global warming and environmental degradation are becoming so evident, it is imperative to want to discover and do more for the local environment and its species, promote, and help the creation and maintenance of habitats that help birds and other living creatures.

If you wish to learn more about Green Jay Mayan Birding Club, please visit its web page or visit its Facebook page (in Spanish).