On September 25-27, we welcomed 17 active community leaders to our 2017 Grassroots and Community Leader’s Workshop held at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The focus of the workshop was to provide these leaders with resources and knowledge to engage their communities in conservation through birdwatching, the arts, greening and stewardship.
Each morning, the group enjoyed guided bird walks through Sapsucker Woods. David Bonter, Director of Citizen Science at the Lab, and his assistant, Sarah Dzielski ’17, demonstrated bird banding and some lucky participants got to release some of the birds. In the Museum of Vertebrates, Charles Dardia, Collections Manager, gave a tour of the many specimens of birds, fish, and reptiles kept at the museum. Some participants were surprised to learn that there were a variety of preservation techniques that are used to keep specimens in good condition.
The group also learned about nature journaling under the guidance of Holly A. Faulkner, artist and program aide in the Citizen Science Department. Participants learned how to implement the Lab’s projects, including Celebrate Urban Birds, Nestwatch and Feederwatch. At night, Stephen Kress, Executive Director of the Seabird Restoration Program and Vice president for Bird Conservation of the National Audubon Society led the group in a walk through Sapsucker Woods where they found two interesting species of moths.
The next day, the leaders were taken to Macaulay Library where they learned about the Library’s extensive multimedia collection. They also learned about the Lab’s Bioacoustics Research Program. Other presentations included eBird, Merlin, and the Lab’s Bird Cams.
After all of the activities, the group developed and discussed action plans for how to increase community engagement in birding and citizen science projects in their communities. One participant commented, “I feel like my tool belt is full and I’m now ready to use the tools to build a knowledge base for disadvantaged children.”
We are thankful for all of the people that made this workshop possible and for all the community leaders who joined us.