Let’s Go Outdoors, one of our 2015 mini-grant winners, is an organization that seeks to raise family and individual participation in outdoor recreation, especially among people of color and/or urban communities. This August, they hosted a wonderful full-day event in the Awbury Arboretum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From 9A.M. to 5P.M., participants were able to experience birds through art, dance, games, and much more!
In the morning, the participants enjoyed a nature journalism workshop led by Dr. Carol Welsh which focused on birds and their habitats and needs. Each person received a small case containing coloring pencils/crayons/markers, water color paints, paintbrushes, and card-stock. They also received a small nature journal, a 4-Color Analysis explanation, and pictures of various birds. The children were so fascinated that they didn’t want to finish and kept working on their drawings even after Dr. Welsh had left!
Later on, Theatre and Me, LLC’s Marcus A. Siler provided an acting/theatre lesson with bird related themes. He helped participants with their acting talents and how to embrace their “inner bird” – from the sounds to the movements. The children loved to do the chicken dance, warble like a bird, and use nature as a backdrop for living. Participants said that they had “never thought about how birds move, act, and sound” until they had to try it out themselves.
The most successful activity was the 10-Minute Celebrate Urban Birds Group Observation. The participants were introduced to various species through the Celebrate Urban Birds’ Silhouette and Cool Facts Posters. They were also given and taught how to use appropriate-sized binoculars. Everyone, adults and child alike, was fascinated trying to locate birds in the area. It was almost like they were seeing birds for the first time! Many of them admitted that they never really looked for birds before, and that this activity inspired them to keep a watchful eye when they are walking to and from their destinations.
Throughout the day, there were rotating stations such as, flying a remote controlled Angry Bird Air Swimmer, making origami birds, “hunting” for birds (stuffed dolls!) in the arboretum, and matching birds with their pictures. Similarly, participants were able to win bird-themed prizes that included things like make-your-own birdhouse/bird-feeder craft supplies.
Overall, Let’s Go Outdoors’s event was extremely successful in increasing the community’s interest in urban birds. They were also thankful that they were able to go outdoors and learn more about the birds that surround them. They said:
“Thank you so much! It is wonderful that everything was free because people need to learn about the places that they can observe birds, which are really right in their backyards or out their front doors.”
Congratulations Let’s Go Outdoors for hosting such a wonderful event. Keep birding on!
You can check out more of Let’s Go Outdoors and their work here!