Youth Celebrate Birds in Northern Chile

December 1st, 2017
Canela, Coquimbo Region, Chile

Thanks to the hard work, passion, and creativity of the members of the Red de Observadores de Aves y Vida Silvestre de Chile (ROC) and a Cornell Lab of Ornithology mini-grant, students from the Chilean towns of Canela and Huentelauquén in Northern Chile are learning more about their local birds through the arts, gardening, and citizen science. This year-round program’s series of activities for youth has been a total success! Young people are increasing their knowledge about the birds in their region, and understand better the importance of conservation in their community. We’ve shared some of their extraordinary activities below:

April 13, 2017: Using eBird

Students had the opportunity to become expert users of eBird, an online platform where anyone can enter bird observations from anywhere in the world! Brenda, a 5th grade student at Juan Antonio Ríos de Huentelauquén Norte school, told us about what sparked her interest in joining the program: “I chose to participate in this program because I wanted to know more about the birds that are always in my backyard. I would like to go outside with my family and know the names of birds that I see!Martin, a 5th grade student at Canela Baja primary school said: “I wanted to be a part of this awesome program because I love science! I want to help my planet and it’s really fun learning about our planet as well as how to help it.

The program was a fantastic experience for everyone involved!

July 24, 2017: Student Drawing Contest

The Student Drawing Contest of “Celebrate Urban Birds” would not have been possible without the help of the Red de Observadores de Aves y Vida Silvestre de Chile (ROC), the Departamento de Educación de la Municipalidad de Canela (CanelaEduca), and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The themes included birds seen in everyday life, bird conservation, and the different birds seen in gardens, on roofs, and in plazas. Participants in the contest became more interested in their local birds and explored the value of bird conservation in cities and towns of their region. The students did a marvelous job capturing the beauty of the birds in Chile.

It was a fantastic event; everyone in the local community became involved in the drawing contest! Not only the children from the region of Coquimbo were invited, but all interested students in Chile. The Red de Observadores de Aves y Vida Silvestre de Chile (ROC) succeeded in promoting the message of using the arts as a way to protect wildlife from Chile. The artwork of the winners will be part of an educational group e-book. The e-book is fantastic! The students had the wonderful idea to share their artwork with their community with the help of the educators. Their passion for promoting bird observation and environmental conservation led to the creation of a magnificent book! If you would like to read it click here!

October 2, 2017: Planting for birds and the community

The students the Canela Alta and Baja schools involved in the Ornithology workshops have begun to beautify and plant food for the local birds in the green areas of their community, as well as the Centro de Salud Familia (Family Health Center) Garden in Canela Baja. Students have seen that their actions have positive effects on the conservation of urban birds and improve the community they share.

Because it is spring in the Southern Hemisphere, the students have gone outside more and more lately! The majority of the students have observed the Giant Hummingbird and the White-Crested Elaenia and entered their findings in eBird. Isamar, a 5th year student in the Canela Alta primary school has said: “This activity has helped me learn so much about birds! I can now distinguish different bird songs, and  I know the importance plants have in helping migratory birds come to Canela [a commune of Coquimbo].”

By observing their local birds more closely, participants have taken better care of their environment now that they know it serves as a habitat for birds. Students were excited to use eBird as they saw the value of participatory science in helping the birds.

October 10, 2017: Students presented at the 2nd Local Meeting about Science and Technology

Representing the town of Canela, four students and their teacher César Piñones participated in the 2nd Local Meeting about Science and Technology, which was hosted in Salamanca by Par Explora-CONICYT Región in Coquimbo and the Colegio Cumbres de Salamanca in Coquimbo. Hundreds of people from the region as well as community leaders came from Canela, Salamanca, and Los Vilos came to see the scientific investigations the students have been working on for months. Everyone viewed and appreciated the new works by Planetario Móvil del Observatorio Interamericano Cerro Tololo, the digital application CHILE MIO, and presentations in the science fair “Creando Ciencia Consciencia.”

The students from the Juan Antonio Huentelauquén School, and Brenda, Ignacio, Alicia, and Dorinda from the Padre José Herde Pohler high school of Canela, represented their community in this important local educational event. Brenda and Igancio titled their research “Natural History and the Conservation of the Tawny-throated dotterel in the Ramsar site, Las Salinas of Huentelauquén”. Their work was so fantastic that they won the first place!

At the end of the event, Brenda said: “My investigation was about finding something that fills me with questions. I began to try to find answers to every question I had and I made many hypotheses. This event taught me that you can never give up and that sometimes, failures are good because they stimulate the development of more questions.”

The other students presented their research, “The Rural World in Comparison to the Wildlife in Canela.” Their work was so interesting that they advanced to the Regional Meeting Meeting about Science and Technology, which will be held in the city of La Serena. They will join the students of Huentelauquén Norte school on this exciting trip to La Serena.

Dorinda affirmed, “We collected a lot of data in the rural areas of the community. I am so glad the history of our local birds are not lost.”

After the event, the students talked with their proud families and peers about their fantastic experience. Congratulations to the students, teachers, and ROC for every wonderful thing you have contributed to your community and for helping the local birds!

November 27, 2017: Students from Canela represent the region in the National Congress of Science

The students were filled with joy as they attended the XV Regional Congressional Education of Science and Technology, organized by PAR Explora de CONICYT Coquimbo and the Catholic University in the North (la Universidad Católica del Norte). Local Schools with important scientific discoveries came together to present their finding to their community! The day was filled with science, as the students had a chance to speak with scientists about their careers as well as their scientific investigations. After presentations and expositions, some students were awarded for their presentations. Among the students were Alicia and Dorinda who will have the chance to take their message of bird conservation to the Tenth National Congressional Education of Science and Technology! In the Tenth National Congressional Education of Science and Technology, 54 of the best Educational science projects from Chile will come together in Arica, Chile with projects also coming from Argentina and Mexico.  For Alicia, this experience has been outstanding. She has said, ” I am so lucky to have experienced this with my classmates. I love that people now know a bit more about our local birds”.

During the month of November, the Celebrate Urban Birds initiative with ROC was a part of the XII Congressional Chilean Ornithologist Conference in Santa Cruz, Chile. It was apart of the theme “Integrating Ornithology in Sustainability and Social Responsibility around Biodiversity”.  Everyone at the conference was able to see that all the vents have led to children seeing the importance of birds. The curiosity of the children is directly from bird observation, drawing birds and group discussions.

This project is a demonstration of what can be achieved when organizations like the ROC and scientific institutions like the Cornell Lab of Ornithology come together.


To view, the educational group e-book made by the students click here!

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