Bird Festival in Milpa Alta, Mexico

April 14th – April 16th, 2017
Milpa Alta, Mexico

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, organizations, and 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 el Museo Regional Altepepialcalli (Altepepialcalli Regional Museum) de la Delegación Milpa Alta. Participants listened to a panel presenting information about the Mexican Programa de Aves Urbanas (PAU, Urban Birds Program), and other community organizations, which focused on bird conservation, biodiversity, citizen science, and the interaction of birds and the environment shared with the community. Thanks to the wonderful donations of ONU Medio Ambiente México, participants had the chance to preview the films that would be in the International Environmental Theatre Festival (FICMA).

Participants had a chance to better understand the threatening situations birds face in their everyday life and how people, as a community can help with their actions. 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 beautiful “Milpa Alpa’s Birds and Biodiversity” mural! People of all ages drew birds they loved to watch in their day-to-day lives, as well as beautiful images of their surrounding natural environment. People 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! People of all ages were able to find out cool facts about the birds they see every day. The event helped participants closely see the birds and form a connection that leads them to become active in conservation efforts.

The second day was another day full of exciting activities! It was held in the Centro de Educación Ambiental Tepenahuac en Milpa Alta. The festival started with a fascinating talk about tips on how to observe birds in a community. Those in the festival were encouraged to ask questions about ways they could watch birds. After the informative talk, the participants illustrated their favorite birds or any bird they were really interested in. They also viewed short movies about the environment. All the movies had a message about the importance of nature in human life, as well as in the birds’ lives. The audience discussed the message, as their illustrations entered a contest. The winners received prizes and were applauded by the audience.

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 close they could watch the birds, thanks to the binoculars and cameras available at the event. Thanks to the Red Conservación Biológica e Identidad Cultural (Red ACBIC), the importance of Maguey to the birds was discussed with the participants. The participants were able to be part of a Maguey’s reforestation activity, and better understand the positive effects the Maguey would have on the local birds and wildlife in Milpa Alta.

At the end of the festival. Everyone left feeling inspired! They left with ideas of how to improve their local environment for their own communities while at the same time, helping their wonderful local birds. The festival helped the community establish a close network dedicated to living a more sustainable life for everyone.

Special Thanks to:

UAMeros for the wonderful photographs of the Milpa Alta Birds as well as helping participants observe the local birds and 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, as well as bringing in the local Milpa Alta 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. Thanks to the Environmental Educational Center for the wonderful space the event took place in. Thanks to 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.

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