Skip to content

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).

Smiling Faces, Excited Whispers, & Curious Glances in San Diego, CA

2014 November 26
by Laura Pineda-Bermudez

Courtesy of WBC

Courtesy of WBC

A fantastic program of fun outdoor activities was hosted by WordBeat Cultural Center (WBC) at Balboa Park in San Diego, CA. 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. These activities were split into a couple different topics such as the Outdoor Children’s Classroom and a series of Wildlife and Bird-watching Exercises.

Courtesy of WBC

Courtesy of WBC

In WBC’s program, there were super interactive and fun ways to demonstrate how close nature is to their very own, inner city communities. During periods of ten minutes, bird species were identified, counted, and tallied up. The children participating in the second week of the program had the good luck of spotting a particularly interesting set of birds.They heard and quickly found two wild Red-crowned Parrots in a tree nearby. The kids happily squealed and giggled as they observed them. Shortly afterwards, however, they saw another type of bird quickly approaching. It was a HUGE Red-tailed Hawk and it was flying straight at the wild parrots! The whole group began screaming and shouting at the hawk, trying to divert its path. The parrots flew away frantically and the hawk flew over the group. Everyone was able to breathe a big sigh of relief.

Courtesy of WBC

Courtesy of WBC

The Outdoor Children’s Classroom at WBC in San Diego taught the kids about saving seeds and solar ovens. They learned the importance of seeds, the pollination process, and even the development of fruits! Another exciting thing the kids were able to see was solar cookery. They were taught how to make solar ovens out of cardboard and aluminum foil. Burgers and veggies from their very own garden were cooked in these ovens too!

The program hosted by the WorldBeat Center taught kids of all ages how easy nature is to interact with and enjoy. Makeda Dread Cheatom, one of the group leaders, was overheard explaining the importance of this topic.

Courtesy of WBC

Courtesy of WBC

“That’s why nature is important! Ya gotta get off and away from the television!” The kids went home happy and informed at the end of the day. If you would like to see more fun and beautiful photos of the WBC program, and learn more about the WorldBeat Center activities at San Diego, CA click here. Or, Check out all these wonderful outdoor activities in this awesome thank you video they made for Celebrate Urban Birds!

Thank you WorldBeat Cultural Center. You are fantastic!

Celebrating Birds (and Aristotle?) in Tacacorí, Costa Rica

2014 September 26
by Seth Inman and James Zainaldin


img_20140724_080707_933About fifteen minutes downhill from Xandari by foot, the primary school at Tacacorí serves first through sixth graders from the local community. Xandari has collaborated with the school on multiple occasions in the past, and also regularly cares for their grounds (mowing the lawn, etc.). This semester, third and fourth graders don’t have an art class in their normal schedule, so it seemed a perfect opportunity for James and me to go over and do a week-long art project with the kids.
Of course, I stuck with what I know best for art projects with young children, and decided upon papier-mâché and painting on little cardboard canvases, just like I had done in the James and I went to the third and fourth grade classes during their Spanish classes and for about an hour and twenty Galápagos a couple years ago. minutes each a day we showed them how to use newspaper, glue, and a balloon to create the body of a bird. Then, with recycled cardboard from Xandari, we gave them canvases to paint on as well as the materials to make beaks, wings, tails, and feet for the birds.camerazoom-20140724081539629

It’s hard to take photos when your hands are covered with watery glue or bright paint, but James and I used our phones to snap some pictures of the kids’ creations to share here.


The second half of the week, Seth and I were split up because of the kids’ conflicting class schedules. I took fourth grade on the last few days, and he worked with third grade.
In his Poetics, Aristotle elaborates an aesthetic theory partly on the basis of μίμησις (mimēsis), or “imitation.” According to Aristotle, humans are “mimetic” beings, that is, disposed to imitate nature and other human beings. Art’s basis is precisely in the imitation of the world around us, of events and things both serious and comic. Imitation is pleasurable for human beings, Aristotle says, because as a kind of learning it satisfies our natural curiosity and desire for knowledge.

upload_zps8445763eThe kids at Tacacorí corroborated Aristotle’s observations in two ways: first, by showing their great enjoyment and enthusiasm at imitating nature (vis-à-vis birds); second, by showing their natural tendency to imitate whatever kind of exemplar Seth or I put up on the board. For this reason, the birds that the kids painted and worked on in the last couple of days tended to diverge. Penguins came up in my class for some reason, probably because of the shape of some of the balloons, so a fair majority of the fourth grade class ended up working on penguins.

Check out the wonderful photo gallery bellow!