The wonderful environmental organization Kuxtal Yaxkaba organized a magnificent Bird Festival in Milpa Alta, Mexico! The festival focused on sharing information regarding the conservation of birds and other forms of wildlife in Milpa Alta, as well as nearby areas. Most participants were locals, students, and members of community organizations, but the event was also perfect for people who wanted to learn about birds, their environment, and help in local conservation efforts. The festival lasted three days, with each day hosted in a different area of Milpa Alta, so everyone could have the opportunity to attend!
The first day began bright and early in the Museo Regional Altepepialcalli de la Delegación Milpa Alta (Altepepialcalli Regional Museum). Participants listened to a panel presenting information about the Mexican Programa de Aves Urbanas (Urban Birds Program), and other community organizations, which focused on bird conservation, biodiversity, citizen science, and the intersection of birds and the environment they share with the community. Thanks to generous donations from ONU Medio Ambiente México, participants had the chance to preview the films that would be featured in the International Environmental Theatre Festival (FICMA).
Participants had the chance to better understand life-threatening situations birds face everyday, and how human communities can take action to help them. Panelists motivated the audience to live a sustainable life for future generations, local birds, and for Mother Nature. After the informative session, participants had the amazing opportunity to work as a team to create a stunning mural highlighting “Milpa Alpa’s Birds and Biodiversity!” Community members of all ages drew birds they loved watching in their day-to-day lives, as well as beautiful images of their surrounding natural environment, and began to see how cool birds are!
At the end of the first day, there was a great surprise! The amazing Mictlán group presented an interactive exhibition of Milpa Alta’s birds! Participants, old and young, discovered interesting facts about the birds they see every day. The event allowed participants see birds up close and helped form a connection that will lead to more involvement in conservation efforts.
The second day was full of exciting activities in the Centro de Educación Ambiental Tepenahuac en Milpa Alta. The festival started with a fascinating presentation of tips on how to observe birds in a community. Audience members were encouraged to ask questions about ways they could watch birds. After the informative talk, the participants illustrated their favorite birds and birds of interest. They also viewed short movies about the environment, which shared a common message about the importance of nature in human and bird livelihoods. The audience discussed the message while their illustrations were entered in a contest. The winners received prizes and a big round of applause by the other festival attendees!
The third day of the festival was held in Pueblo San Juan Tepenahuac en Milpa Alta. Those attending the third day were able to practice bird watching in the outdoors! It was incredible seeing people of all ages excited over how well they could see the birds, thanks to binoculars and cameras available at the event. The Red Conservación Biológica e Identidad Cultural (Red ACBIC) discussed the importance of the Maguey (agave) plant to birds. With a newfound better understanding of the positive effects the Maguey would have on the local birds and wildlife in Milpa Alta, the participants were able join in a Maguey’s reforestation activity.
At the end of the festival, everyone left feeling inspired! They brought home ideas of how to improve local environments for their own communities while simultaneously supporting their wonderful local birds. The festival helped the community establish a close network dedicated to living more sustainably.
Special Thanks to:
UAMeros for the wonderful photographs of the Milpa Alta Birds as well as helping participants observe the local birds; CONAMBIO for helping facilitate the talk given by Biologist Tatiana Sánchez Rodriguez, Program Coordinator of Urban Birds in NABCI; The Monitorio Biologico of Milpa Alta group, who were so gracious in discussing the importance of the birds in Milpa Alta and bringing in local birds so the participants could see them up close; The Autónoma Metropolitana Unidad Xochimilco University, especially the Maestría Sociedades Sustentables for all the support in making this event a success; The Environmental Educational Center for the wonderful space the event took place in; ONU Medio Ambiente México and the town of San Juan Tepenahuac en la Delegación Milpa Alta for the tremendous support in this program. The event could not have happened without them.
Article by Ashley Calderón.