In partnership with the Spanish Action League of Onondaga County (La LIGA), Open Hand Theater (Syracuse, NY), and with funds from the Smith Lever Foundation, Celebrate Urban Birds and the bilingual after school Nuestro Futuro (Our Future) collaborated on a wonderful youth development project focused on connections among humans, birds, and their habitat in urban environments.
Children learned about birds, habitat, and urban green spaces to create a diorama of their neighborhood. They met once a week for two months to create the artwork. Youth created bird origami and they took their crafting to the next level in an educational representation of the relationships between landscapes and avian wildlife in urban spaces. The 3D mock-up of their neighborhood with markers for where they spotted birds allowed them to see how they don’t have to go to the park or the zoo to see animals as long as there’s enough green space!
In the slideshow by Marta del Campo below, the children are looking for birds in local parks and making bird origami with the help of bird guidebooks.
Early on, they all picked the local bird that they wanted to be: the most popular by far was the Blue Jay, but others include the Rock Pigeon, American Crow, Peregrine Falcon, and even a couple Flamingos (thanks to the Syracuse Zoo)!
Every Tuesday in May and June 2014, the children had workshops led by Celebrate Urban Birds and staff from the two partner organizations. During these workshops, youth worked to complete their art project, the fantastic 3-D representation of their neighborhood, and their selected birds. They also learned about their birds and made posters with the information they wanted to share with their community at (slideshow photos by Marta del Campo):
Youth visited Webster Park to watch birds using green spaces in the city, Onondaga Lake shore to watch shorebirds, and other local green areas in Syracuse. During these visits, youth learned to use binoculars, where to look for birds, and picked up materials such as sticks, leaves, pebbles, grass, and sand to enrich their art project with natural items. They also worked on their art project outdoors to enjoy the fresh air and get inspired by the passing by birds (slideshow photos by Marta del Campo):
On June 25th the kids presented their artwork and talked about what they had learned about their birds in English and Spanish. It was fantastic! They were teaching their own families and neighborhood friends about birds, habitat and more (photos by Marta del Campo):
On June 27th, youth, educators and parents traveled to Cornell to learn about the university. During the visit, youth presented their projects and their selected birds, walked on campus, visited libraries, the Johnson Museum of Art, and much more. They had a fantastic time in their visit, and hope to return sometime in the future. Great job! Check out some of the photos taken by Marta del Campo during their visit to Cornell:
Thank you Nuestro Futuro!