The Follow “Art and Culture” Foundation (Fundación Sigua “Arte y Cultura”) organized the second bird festival, “Celebrating the Urban Birds” in the Miguel de Cervantes Saavendra Park in David City, Chiriquí Providence, Panama. The festival promoted the conservation of the natural beauty of Panama, displaying the beautiful birds residing in the region. The festival was a total success! There was music, painting, environmental educational activities, and bird observations with the community. Everyone had a great time!
The festival began with a few words from the amazing coordinator Katherine Araúz- Ponce. She invited all the participants to dive into the activities as they teach about the natural ecosystem around them and how the ecosystem impacts the lives of the birds in their community. Ada Conception, a representative from the office of the Mayor of the City of David, arrived and emphasized the importance of supporting these efforts to conserve the green areas of the city. She also announced that the Education Department and the Office of the Mayor of the City of David are teaming up to promote educational, cultural, and environmental activities for the community.
Both the younger and older students enjoyed the fun educational activities in the BirdSleuth International curriculum. They observed birds using binoculars and telescopes. They used the materials with illustrations of the 16 focal species in their region to help them! The children observed many species of birds including: Rock Pigeon (Columba livia), Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus), Ruddy Ground-Dove (Columbina talpacoti), Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus), Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus), and Orange-chinned Parakeet (Brotogeris jugularis).
There was also had a photography contest and a drawing contest. The participants were able to draw or show the pictures of the urban birds they observed during the bird observation activity. Many children, older students, and adults took part in the painting activities, and attended the traditional music, dance, and monologues presentations given by people in the community. Adopt Panama’s Rainforest (Adopta Panamá Rainforest) and the Follow “Art and Culture” Foundation (Fundación Sigua “Arte y Cultura”) hosted activities focused on painting participants’ favorite urban bird and then giving helpful information about the birds the particpants drew. Finca Hartmann and Landis Private Reserve hosted a workshop where participants could paint their own bird mask or even receive a temporary henna bird tattoo! We had wonderful support from Down Syndrome Foundation of Love (Fundación Síndrome Down Ojitos de Amor) and leaders from the Special Olympics (Olimpiadas Especiales). They were a big help in helping all participants take part in the activities. The Naturalistas helped by displaying their photography exhibition and selling bird souvenirs.
The Center of Biodiversity Reproduction and Conservation in the Autonomous University of Chiriquí (El Centro de Reproducción y Conservación de la Biodiversidad Animal (CRECOBIAN) de la Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí (UNACHI)) with students from the science high school of Pablo Emilio Corsen (Ciencias del Colegio Pablo Emilio Corsen), presented their photography exhibition as well as vídeos about their participation in “World Bird Observation Day”. They displayed the creative and colorful bird feeders they made from recyclable materials!
Students from the Bird Detectives from the Lajas and Finco Paraíso High school club (Detectives de Aves del Colegio Secundario de las Lajas y Finca Paraíso) showed their beautiful bird pictures, artist creations, and murals. All of their artwork was based on the theme, “Appreciating our Surroundings while Observing Birds”. After showing their amazing artwork they discussed the types of birds they have observed and identified. They talked about stopping birds from being trapped in cages. They also showed off their first mural from their first experience in the “World Bird Observation Day” and talked about the amazing birds they observed that day. “The Onlookers”, students from the Tourist school of the Autonomous University of Chiriquí (Escuela de Turismo de la UNACHI (Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí)) as well as the students from the Renaciemiento college (Colegio de Renacimiento) presented a display of information and photographs about the activities they have to continue the bird conservation efforts in their community. This inspired participants to continue the efforts to maintain the conservation of birds and their habitats!
Presentations on the creation and improvement of the local habitat were given by the organization, Reforesting Central America in Chiriquí (Reforestando Centroamérica en Chiriquí (REFCA)). Cochea Garden shared information about the importance of creating and conserving habitats, and reforesting with native species. “I recycle with the Giselle Morhaim Rug (Yo reciclo con el Tapete de Giselle Morhaim), RHM Bags and Boquete RRR” highlighted the importance of the 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) as a way to contribute to the conservation of local nature and help the local birds.
The winners for the photography and the drawing contests were named! The photography winners were: Abel Rodríguez (1st place), Nathalie Camaño (2nd place) and Rossana Palma (3rd place). The winners of the drawing contest were: Mario León “Aves del Sol” (Birds of the Sun) (adult), Jorge Tejada “Aves Urbanas” (Urban Birds) (youth) and Johan Randy Serrano “El talingo el ave negra con mala reputación” (The Great-tailed grackle with a bad reputation) (child).
Danna Gómez from the Pablo Emilio Corsen School and one of the participants of the drawing contest, saw birds as a sign of peace: “Birds live in places of peace and do not fight with each other. The Cervantes Park is a place in the city where the trees allow birds to arrive. The Tangers, for example, come to this place to brighten the atmosphere of our city… ”
Spectators enjoyed listening to the UNACHI String Group, followed by the Angel Wings dance group. The amazing poet Bolivar Barrio Itzi Rivera performed “El Talingo“, giving us an insight into the loss of habitat due to urban planning. Then a group of children and youth from the Projection Team Jorge Almengor (Conjunto de Proyecciones Jorge Almengor) and the School Group of Rincón de Gualaca (Escuela de Rincón de Gualaca), wore cultural clothes and danced different traditional dance pieces. At the end of the afternoon the musical group Green Haze and the band Area 51, entertained the event participants with cheerful and entertaining music.
At the end of the festival, everyone went home happy and inspired to create more green areas in their cities! They also expressed interest in participating in future events.
To find out more about conservation activities in Panama and take part in this environmental effort you can follow the Facebook page: Detectives de Aves-Panama.
Thank you to the collaboration and support from the City of David Municipa, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the volunteers, and everyone who participated in the festival for the second year! We would like to thank all the groups, clubs, organizations, companies, artists, volunteers, and everyone who helped make this event such a success! These include: Follow “Art and Culture” Foundation (Fundación Sigua “Arte y Cultura”), Panama Bird & Wildlife Photos, Sistemas de Producción Sostenible y Conservación de la Biodiversidad (SPSCB/Ministerio de Ambiente), Hiedra y Bambú Landscaping, Finca Hartmann “Shade Grow Coffee Bird Friendly”, Landis Private Reserve, Café Candelita, Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) in Panamá, Quetzales Lodge and Spa, Boquete Tree Trek Mountain Resort, Fundación para las Artes Montilla e Hijos, Tania Cabal, Set Net Comunications Nicaragua, Brecni Guerra Wildlife Photography, Silver Nite, and Culturama y Foto Ponce. We would like to also thank the collaboration between Junta Comunal from Santa Clara in Renacimiento, Henna Chiriquí, Make Art, Cheryl Branz, ACERCOMP, and Transportistas IGM. The participation of the Center of Reproduction and Conservation for Animal Biodiversity (Centro de Reproducción y Conservación de la Biodiversidad Animal (CRECOBIAN)), students from Licenciatura en Comunicación y Tecnología Audiovisual y Escuela de Turismo de la Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí (UNACHI), the Ministerio de Educación Regional de Chiriquí, the Colegio Pablo Emilio Corsen, Colegio Secundario de Renacimiento, Centro Básico de San Mateo, Adopta Panamá Rainforest, Los Naturalistas, Reforestando Centroamérica (REFCA), Fundación Síndrome Down Ojitos de Amor, the leaders of the Special Olympics, RHM Bags, Cochea Garden, Boquete RRR y Yo reciclo con el Tapete de Giselle Morhaim (Radio Cristal 740 AM). The companies that helped support this event include: Radio Chiriquí 106.9 and 103.3, 95.7 Top, Ondas Chiricanas Estereo, Blast Chiriquí 104.1, the Education is First in David Program (La Educación es Primero en David) in Super Z Stereo and Telemetro Chiriquí Noticias. All groups and particpants: Infoplaza Las Lomas, Muchachas guías, el Grupo Scout 87 de Chiriquí, club de observadores de aves “The Onlookers”as well as Birdsleuth International clubs.
Finally, a special thanks to Mabel, Ada, Brecni, Carlos, Daniela, Katherinne, Enoc, Ericka, Johana, Juan, Miguel, Junta Comunal, Cheryl Branz, Manuel, Adelayde, Tania, Miguel “Siu”, Ariadna, Eduardo, Varinia, Anthony, Marlenis, Jorge, Brosis, Olmedo, Anayansi, Marieth, Yasmín, Lirieth, Cheryl, Nahomi e Ismael.
Photographers: Varinia Sagastume, Eduardo Pacay, Katherine Araúz-Ponce, Nicol Martínez, Raúl Ponce, Neblina Verde