Why did I put the words “Festival” and “finished” in quotes?
First of all, it wasn’t a traditional one-day festival, but a month-long series of fun and educational -series ofspaces for community members to come together and learn about—and take positive action on behalf of—migratory birds like warblers, thrushes, and tanagers. We explored the whys and hows of these species’ biannual migrations, as well as the ins and outs of different citizen science projects such as the Motus Wildlife Tracking System of Birds Canada and eBird of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, designed to involve the public in collaboratively collecting data used to better understand the movements of all birds. To acknowledge the importance of creating and stewarding bird habitat, we worked with the Monitoring Brigade of San Vito on the care and maintenance of one of our forest restoration projects. In addition to local activities, we organized a migratory bird drawing contest for all elementary school-aged kids in the country, and invited the Costa Rica Motus coordinators to speak to a national and international audience through our Facebook Live platform.
These official Festival activities may have ended, but we intend to keep the spirit of the celebration going. Beyond building knowledge and action skills, environmental education must emphasize social bonding and opportunities to simply have fun wow-ing at the wonders of nature, without worrying about its fate. We like teaching people how to, say, include the tricky-to-identify warblers on an eBird list or reflect on how humans can make migration safer for the thrushes. But we LOVE watching a group share a collective moment of “wow!” over the sight of, say, a Summer Tanager, flaming red in the sunlight.
In sum, the festival is not truly finished because we want to continue connecting people through the joy of observing birds. And that “work” has no end—which is good news, since it is so much fun.
We would like to extend our deepest gratitude once again to all of our amazing sponsors and collaborators, including Swarovski Optics, San Vito Bird Club, Cape Cod Bird Club, the Municipality of Coto Brus, Osa Conservation, Motus Costa Rica/Proyecto Cerulea coordinators Ernesto Carman and Paz A. Irola, the Monitoring Brigade of San Vito, and all of the participants in our local activities as well as the national migratory bird drawing contest. Thank you to Randall Jiménez, the Community Outreach Coordinator at Finca Cántaros Environmental Association (FCEA), for coordinating this celebration, and to Yolanda Morales, Project Assistant at FCEA, for help with logistics.
Photo: This past Saturday the spirit of the Festival lived on through a bird walk at Finca Cántaros involving participants in FCEA’s women’s programs as well as members of the Monitoring Brigade of San Vito.