Wednesday, April 3, 2019

#Hike4Birds, Walking to Listen



#Hike4Birds

Whether you have been following along for the past year of preparations and planning or have recently heard about our trek, you likely know that the purpose of Come Walk With Us is to:

(1)    Get youth outdoors, engaged in nature, and experiencing wilderness through birding and nature watching! 

(2)    Inspire people to become inquisitive, curious, discover, ask questions, and to explore the world around them. 

(3)    Get more individuals to focus their online time towards becoming Citizen Scientists by reporting what they see outside their window, in their local park, along a trailway, or when they are out bird watching.

Now with all of that said, you might be thinking ‘wow, an expert on birding, birds, and all things bird is coming to my community!  This is what I have been waiting for, my life is now complete!’  But before you get too excited I will let you in on a secret...yes I worked at Bird Studies Canada, yes I know (in general) what birds look like, and yes in a pinch I can identify, name and talk about maybe 150  or 250 birds.... but beyond all of that I am by no means an expert on all birds across the nation.  Which means that in Canada with approximately 685 different species of birds spread across a vast nation of varying geographies, landscapes, ecozones, and climatic regions most birds are pretty much beyond what I know. 


So what does that mean for this hike?  Well, what it means is that I am coming across the nation to see lots of new things, spot new birds, build my life list, meet with regional experts, and local residents who have seen and who know the birds in their regions.  It means that while we are undertaking a #Hike4Birds we are Walking to Listen, and Walking to Learn from YOU.

Walking to Learn, Walking to Listen

 So hopefully, it should be clear by now, that we are not the experts in your region and we don’t intent to pretend to be...YOU are!  Even those who watch birds casually on their walk to school or work, or have set up a feeder in their own backyard know more about their own region and their birds than we ever would.  Sure we might have a nifty pair of binoculars and a camera, but – in my opinion – what really matters is on the ground experience, local knowledge, and regional input.  This is in fact why Citizen Science programs are so great and lead to wonderful discoveries! YOU are the experts, so while we are hiking to get youth and individuals outdoors and engaged with nature through birding, we are also Walking to Listen to YOU.  We want to know what birds and what wildlife are in YOUR area. We want to hear what YOU love about nature, what interests YOU, and what cool places there are in YOUR region.  We want to hear from YOU, and learn from YOU.   

In politics, economics, and yes even the sciences far too much comes from the centre without much regional input.  So on this hike while we hope to raise awareness and let people know about some of the important issues about Birds in Canada, the type of research which is going on, and the importance of protecting Canada’s Grasslands and Boreal Forest we primarily want to highlight the local.   This means that mostly we are going to point out the great work people in your own communities are doing to protect birds (yes there is awesome science going on across the entire country!) and nearby bird habitats!  Beyond all that, we want to connect with YOU to hear about what is great about the outdoors in YOUR area, what cool birds YOU have seen, and why nature is important to YOU.  What is YOUR best memory of the outdoors or on the trail?  What do YOU think would help wildlife and how do YOU think Important Bird Areas and regions likes the Boreal Forest can best be sustainably protected?

This is our country and as my favourite TV show says “we are all in it together” so since you have listened to us, we want to hear from YOU!  Citizen Science begins in YOUR backyard, YOUR parks, and YOUR school playgrounds!

This hike might be national in scope but it is local in focus.  For Citizen Science and sustainable Conservation programs to be successful, they must match local needs, address regional interests, and be supported by the individuals on the ground.   All of this only happens when people listen to one another.

So as I said, while we are #Hiking4Birds, we are Walking to Listen to YOU. 

See you on the trail...and keep an eye on your feeders and trees, I’m curious to know what you see!
 

 
#Hike4Birds #ComeWalkWithUs #BirdstudiesCanada #UltimateBirdHike #trekking #OurNature

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