In November 2018, the first ever Festival of Migratory Birds and Shore Birds of Coche Island was held in Venezuela! AveZona, a Venezuelan organization dedicated to the conservation of the natural environment and birds of the area organized diverse activities with the goal of getting participants interested in learning about the birds of the island and the importance of bird conservation and their ecosystems. The three-day festival was part of a larger project to conserve the local birds and monitor them in the island.
First Day: Educational Activities for the students of Bolivariano Napoleón Narváez High School
On the first day, the 9th-grade students participated in a wide variety of activities. They also listened attentively to Sabino Silva (Bird Observer in the area) and Gianco Angelozzi (Shorebirds Specialist). The students were able to learn about the birds that live on the island, especially shorebirds and migratory birds, with the help of the experts. This activity helped establish a collective participatory science project to better understand the presence of birds on the island. Printed material was also distributed free of charge for the activities, such as identification cards that helped students name the most common birds on Coche Island. There were also stickers with shorebirds on them.
Second Day: Observing Birds
Early in the morning, there was a bird observation trip to Bahía el Saco. For the activity, the children were divided into two groups of approximately 19 students each. The participants had the chance to learn how to use binoculars and telescopes with help from the guides. They were also able to identify aquatic birds and shorebirds that were present along the route. It was incredibly exciting to see the participants apply the knowledge they had acquired the previous day.
Third Day: Migratory Birds and Shore Birds
In this celebration, AveZona brought more than 1700 people together! In fact, there were students from all six educational institutions on the island as well as their teachers and parents.
The activities were kicked off with a welcome from Josmar Esteban Márquez of AveZona, who also spoke on behalf of Celebrate Urban Birds, and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. Afterwards, Danalbert Morillo, a member of the Union of Scenic Oral Narrators (UNOes), gave a magnificent presentation where he told the story of how birds first developed colored feathers. Then the Titeres Tin Marin group presented their work called “The Boy from China“, a story of hope for birds. In the beautiful and meaningful tale, a young boy who hunts birds stops doing so thanks to the awareness of the audience and the Character Don Cotorra.
Tradition and heritage were promoted through various activities including the songs and dances. The educational institutions prepared typical cultural events on the island called “Diversiones” and established connections with birds through the same.
The children also let their imagination fly with art activities, such as the creation of a 7-meter-long banner inspired by a story about birds.
A special thanks to those who helped: Ana Ruiz, Alejandra Romero, Daniel Serva (photographs), and the school municipality San Pedro de Coche, the ministry for the popular power of education (MPPE). Thank you so much to the financial support given by Celebrate Urban Birds!
Page Created by Ashley Calderon and Edited by Sanjna Das