Smiling faces. Excited whispers. Curious glances.
Balboa Park, San Diego
A fantastic program was hosted by WordBeat Center (WBC) in Balboa Park, downtown, San Diego, CA. What better way to learn about nature than by being outside? Kids of all ages spent time outdoors interacting with group leaders in fun and engaging hands-on activities. These activities were split into a couple different topics such as the Outdoor Children’s Classroom and a series of Wildlife and Bird-watching Exercises.
The Outdoor Children’s Classroom taught the kids about saving seeds and solar ovens. They learned the importance of seeds, the pollination process, and even the development of fruits! Another exciting thing the kids were able to see was solar cookery. They were taught how to make solar ovens out of cardboard and aluminum foil. Burgers and veggies from their very own garden were cooked in these ovens too!
The Wildlife and Bird-watching Exercises were super interactive and fun ways to demonstrate how close nature is to their very own, inner city communities. During periods of ten minutes, bird species were identified, counted, and tallied up. The children participating in the second week of program had the good luck of spotting a particularly interesting set of birds. They heard and quickly found two wild Red-crowned Parrots in a tree nearby. The kids happily squealed and giggled as they observed them. Shortly afterwards, however, they saw another type of bird quickly approaching. It was a HUGE Red-tailed Hawk and it was flying straight at the wild parrots! The whole group began screaming and shouting at the hawk, trying to divert its path. The parrots flew away frantically and the hawk flew over the group. Everyone was able to breathe a big sigh of relief.
Although a main focus of the program was to educate children of all ages on the importance and accessibility of nature in their communities, there was a cultural learning activity as well. This activity fostered leadership and expression. Kids had the opportunity to become group leaders in an African drumming exercise while playing a popular drum and dance rhythm, “Kuku”. The drumming exercises helped improve their math skills and taught them attention and listening skills. During the dance they learned to mimic the movements of birds and an additional exercise to maintain their bodies healthy. These activities helped integrate math, science and art.
The program organized by WorldBeat Center taught kids of all ages how easy nature is to interact with and enjoy. Makeda Dread Cheatom, one of the group leaders, was overheard explaining the importance of this topic. “That’s why nature is important! Ya gotta get off and away from the television!” The kids went home happy and informed at the end of the day.
100 year anniversary
WorldBeat Center’s activities don’t stop here, however! The organization is celebrating the 100th year anniversary of Balboa Park with tons of activities planned for the community. A main event being held soon is Nature Fest, which will feature many fun bird watching activities, in conjunction with the 100th year anniversary of Cornell’s Lab Ornithology. It will be held on the Spring Equinox of 2015 in the International Peace Garden in Tijuana in conjunction with WBC’s sister organization, Casa del Tunel.
Related Links for Cultural Events
If you want to learn more about WorldBeat Cultural Center’s Outdoor Children’s Classroom please click here.
The children were greatly impacted by the activities and lessons presented at program. Here is a girl’s statement about what she learned while at WBC’s program.
If you want to learn more about the African drumming activity the children took part in, please click here.
Check out all the wonderful outdoor activities at WBC in this awesome thank you video they made for Celebrate Urban Birds!
Thank you WorldBeat Cultural Center. You are fantastic!