Joan Hernandez had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a youth workshop: Birds, Careers, and Conservation at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Members of the organization Terra Peninsular A.C. in San Quintín, Baja California, Mexico, nominated him based on his talents, his caring for his community and natural surroundings, and the positive impact he could have on his own community after his return. Before embarking on his journey, Joan was selected to join the Nature Photography Youth Club: Huellas Volcánicas.
Upon his return to San Quintín, he was tasked with informing his fellow club members all about his experiences. With the support of Terra Peninsular A.C., a local organization dedicated to community work and conservation in the region. Together they applied for and won a Celebrate Urban Birds mini-grant to support Joan’s action plan in his community, a project he called Ecosystems at Risk. Through the youth club, Joan reached and engaged other youth and adults from his community about the wonders of nature and environmental conservation. He also shared what he learned about Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s resources, citizen science, nature sound recording (Macaulay Library), educational materials, eBird and Merlin apps that facilitate bird observation and help conservation efforts, and much more!
One of the first club’s activities for the youth was attending a workshop facilitated by the well-known documentary photographer Alex Espinosa. In this workshop, the youth learned about the practice of digital and documentary photography, and how to apply their newly acquired skills to their resources and projects. Alex returned a couple of months later to follow up and advise the club members on their projects. Joan chose to explore the boulder extraction in San Quintín, and how it is affecting the habitat loss of shorebirds in the region.
Later, Joan presented his project Ecosystem at Risk and shared his experience as a participant in the youth workshop at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. He also spoke about what he learned about photography and audiovisual tools for communication and community work. Later, members of the club were invited to participate in the collective exposition Rise, in the United States. They were a true inspiration for other youth in their community and beyond!
The exposition was also presented in the Idyllwild Arts Academy in California, USA. In this case, the club showed about 15 photographs that highlighted the landscapes and natural beauty of San Quintín. Joan was among the attendees, and also shared his experience as a recipient of a Cornell mini-grant. Check out some of the images included in the presentation below!
Recently, the club participated in the 5th annual Bird Festival in the San Quintín Bay, where they shared more than 300 artworks and media. They also presented their personal views of the landscapes of San Quintín. This was a beautiful content to share with the community at the festival! Throughout the activities, Joan inspired young photographers while promoting environmental awareness. Youth clubs like the Huellas Volcánicas Nature Photography Youth Club are an inspiration to other youth in the region. Joan and Terra Peninsular A.C. members hope that others get inspired in the years to come, so keep a lookout!
By: Natalie Bonilla and Julia de Almeida Luna