For several years, CAMN has been involved in a nationally-connected program to inform members of the public about the presence, needs and protection of birds we find in our city and suburban lives. Celebrate Urban Birds, a year-round project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, has partnered with over 9,000 community-based organizations, distributed more than 250,000 educational kits, and awarded dozens of mini-grants.
The City of Austin, through the Austin Nature and Science Center, is one such community partner. Each year, the City coordinates events around its Celebrate Urban Birds day, with activities held at multiple community sites. This year, that event was March 7. As it has done in past years, CAMN provided volunteers to help with the event.
CAMN member Peggy Murphy has been at the head of CAMN’s participation in the event for many years. Her tireless work behind the scenes involves hours of coordinating volunteers, being a liaison with City staff, and preparing the multiple activity kits CAMN uses to demonstrate birding concepts. In addition, she spends a long day at the events doing interpretation and outreach as well as cleaning up and caring for the kits afterward. Her example of passionate ownership for a big project or event is an awesome example of the CAMN spirit of volunteer giving.
But it doesn’t stop with Peggy. We counted at least 13 other CAMN members who came out to help in some way – staffing tables, helping with logistics, talking to kids and their adults. Perhaps the best way to express the impact of the CAMN member involvement – and how many members of the public were reached by CAMN’s effort – is just to quote Peggy’s note of thanks to the volunteers. She probably says it best.
Thank you all so much for making this year’s Celebrate Urban Birds events at the Elisabet Ney Museum and the ANSC such a success. It’s a lot of work for everyone involved, but it’s also a rewarding experience. I hope you feel that way, too.
Doing these outreach programs is one of our core responsibilities as Master Naturalists, and it’s gratifying to see our members offer to help with these big events. The City of Austin has planned this event every year for several years now, and they genuinely appreciate what we do to make it successful. Plus, it’s a way for us to show our appreciation for their generosity as our major sponsor.
Here are the totals for our public contacts.
- Bird Bistro at the Elisabet Ney Museum: 50 young people, 60 adults
- Eat Like a Bird at ANSC: 156 young people, 103 adults
- Migration Challenge at ANSC: 38 young people, 27 adults
- Bird Bistro at ANSC: 67 young people, 45 adults
All those numbers [Editor’s note: 311 young people, 235 adults] represent conversations we had with someone about birds – their behavior, the challenges they face, their adaptations, and how we can help them. I think we can be proud of that.
I know it’s a lot of work to make these programs happen, and I especially appreciate those of you who stepped up to set up the activities, clean up afterward, and help me load my car. I spent the day yesterday cleaning up the kits, and they’re all ready to go again.
Please know how much you are appreciated, and take some time to bask in the glow of a job well done.