Special Guest Robert Dean at Annual Meeting 2015

Pepe Castiblanco, naturalist guide and co-owner of Casa Botania, with Robert Dean (photo by Harry Hull).

Pepe Castiblanco, naturalist guide and co-owner of Casa Botania, with Robert Dean (photo by Harry Hull).

Illustrator of The Birds of Costa Rica and The Birds of Panama, Robert Dean was the featured guest at the SVBC Annual Meeting 2015.

Robert led a Bird Walk at the Wilson Botanical Garden on the morning of the meeting, Saturday, Feb. 21, that ended with an all-time high species count of 65!

Following the walk, members adjourned to Cascata del Bosco for a mid-morning brunch. At the business meeting, President Alison Olivieri summed up club activities in 2014, Treasurer Fred Schroeder gave a financial report for fiscal year 2014, BirdSleuth-International Teacher Roni Chernin provided a detailed report on the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology Education Program in local schools and Communications Chairman Harry Hull reported statistics from our website.

Brunch dessert! (Photo by Jean Schroeder)

Brunch dessert! (Photo by Jean Schroeder)

Big Bird Feeder Competition

A Consolation Prize was given to Gail and Harry Hull of Finca Cantaros for the unhappy appearance of Species #27and #28 two days after the official closing date. Wendy Russell took Second Runner Up with 25 species. The feeders at El Tangaral made Greg Homer First Runner Up with 28 species but Roni Chernin swept First Place with her bananas from Finca Paz y Flor! Congratulations to all and let’s beat Roni’s 28 in 2016!

Additionally, members faced a challenging Bird ID Quiz created by Member Jo Davidson featuring her photos of 40 species commonly seen in and around San Vito. ONLY our guest, Mr. Dean, correctly identified 100% of the birds!

Robert then spoke about his role in creating a new field guide, The Birds of Costa Rica, with Richard Garrigues nine years ago. The newly revised edition published in January  was available for members so Robert finished the day by sharing his unpublished artwork and signing books, new and old!

A Bird Walk led by Robert Dean, top step with Julie Girard, kicked off the Annual Meeting 2015 (photo by Harry Hull).

A Bird Walk led by Robert Dean, top step with Julie Girard, kicked off the Annual Meeting 2015 (photo by Harry Hull).

Ernie Vogt 1942-2015

The Man Who Loved and Planted Trees

The SVBC Annual Meeting 2015 was dedicated to Member Ernie Vogt who never failed to encourage and generously support the Club’s activities during his and Lydia’s time here with us in San Vito.

ERNIE VOGT 1942-2015

ERNIE VOGT 1942-2015

While the rest of us were walking around, peering through our binoculars, oohing and aahing: “Oh, it’s a White-throated Spadebill” and “Ooooo, look, a Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant”, Ernie was busy planting trees. We understand, after talking with Lydia about this on several occasions, that Ernie was always fascinated by trees. Many of you know they had an avocado orchard in California. Many of you also know that Ernie started planting trees the year they arrived – 2009 – and that year managed to put 500 new trees into the forest at Finca Sofia. Eventually, the number of trees he planted grew to 2,000.

Ernie appreciated birds and even got excited about them. But Ernie knew that birds need trees – and he knew they’re not alone. We all need trees: insects, mammals, birds, reptiles and even rain forest fish need trees to survive. So, please raise your coffee cups to Ernie who understood the Big Picture in a way many of us do not. And let’s all plant trees this year and think of Ernie.

Lydia and Ernie birding at the Wilson Botanical Garden (photo by Alison Olivieri).

Lydia and Ernie birding at the Wilson Botanical Garden (photo by Alison Olivieri).

1st Annual Volunteer Thank You Lunch/Primer Almuerzo de Agradecimiento a los Voluntarios

Sigue en espanol

As the rainy season draws to a close we decided it was time to thank members who’ve volunteered time, energy and supplies over the past several years with a special Volunteer Thank You Lunch at OTS Las Cruces!

Whether it was painting faces at the Festival Eco-Cultural and the Feria Brunka Emprende, baking and selling for our fund-raiser bake sales, contributing expertise to the Detectives de Pajaros community projects or anything else, we are extremely lucky to have these members who consistently, year after year, help the SVBC participate in community-based special events.

Horticulturist Dave Janas leading the Garden Walk November 8, 2014. Photo by Liz Allen.

Horticulturist Dave Janas leading the Garden Walk November 8, 2014. Photo by Liz Allen.

We have bird walks all the time but just prior to our lunch on Saturday, November 8, Dave Janas led us on a Garden Walk to the Cactus Garden, Cycad Hill, the Economy Garden and the Hummingbird Garden, pointing out interesting plants and answering all kinds of questions along the way. A trained horticulturist, Dave is new to the Wilson Botanical Garden — we all hope he will be here for some time to come!

Many of the “lunchees” signed up to help Dave twice a month with gardening projects that will renovate and beauty-up the botanical grounds. With a garden of this immense size, projects and needs for equipment and supplies never end so if you have time and energy to contribute, please contact Dave at davetheplantguy@gmail.com or click here to contact us or just send an email to sanvitobirdclub@gmail.com.

Espanol Aqui

Attendees at the SVBC Volunteer Thank You Lunch in November 2014. Photo by Liz Allen

Attendees at the SVBC Volunteer Thank You Lunch in November 2014. Photo by Liz Allen

Conforme la estación lluviosa se acerca a su fin, decidimos que era tiempo de agradecer a aquellos miembros que han aportado tiempo, energía y suministros durante los últimos años con ¡Un Almuerzo de Agradecimiento especial en la OET Las Cruces!

Ya fuese pintando caritas en el Festival Eco-Cultural y la Feria Brunka Emprende, horneando y vendiendo para nuestra venta para recaudar fondos, aportando experiencia a proyectos comunales de los Detectives de Pajaros o cualquier otra cosa, tenemos muchísima suerte de tener a estos miembros que consistentemente, año tras año, ayudan al SVBC participar en eventos especiales enfocados en la comunidad.

Tenemos caminatas para pajarear todo el tiempo pero, justo antes de nuestro almuerzo el sábado 8 de noviembre, Dave Janas nos guió en una Caminata de Jardín por los Jardines de Cactus, la Colina de las Cícadas, el Jardín de la Economía y el Jardín de Colibríes, señalando plantas interesantes y respondiendo toda clase de preguntas durante el camino. Dave es un horticultor entrenado nuevo en el Jardín Botánico Wilson ¡Todos esperamos que esté aquí por un tiempo más todavía!

Muchos de los “almorzadores” se inscribieron para ayudar a Dave dos veces al mes con proyectos de jardinería que van a renovar y embellecer los terrenos botánicos. Con un jardín de este inmenso tamaño, los proyectos y las necesidades de equipo nunca terminan. Así que, si usted tiene tiempo y energía para contribuir, por favor contacte a David a la dirección davetheplantguy@gmail.com o haga click aquí para contactarnos o envíe un correo electrónico a la dirección sanvitobirdclub@gmail.com.

Quiz Bird #2 Revealed/La Respuesta del Prueba #2!

Sigue en espanol

Quiz Bird #2 had nine entries, two of which were correct: Lesser Goldfinch (Carduelis psaltria).

Lesser Goldfinch photographed by Jo Davidson.

Lesser Goldfinch photographed by Jo Davidson.

Our Official Winner is Suzanne Gross of Piedades, Santa Ana, who came on one of our walks at the Wilson Garden last December. Due to the difficulty of mailing cookies from San Vito, Suzanne has generously donated her one dozen Chocolate Chips to our next Bird Walk at the Wilson Garden.

Other entries included two orioles, two tanagers, a vireo, a warbler and a seedeater.

Thanks for a great job Photographer Jo Davidson on making sure the bill was hidden behind a leaf: we fooled everybody except Suzanne and member Jim Zook.

Gracias a nuestra miembre Jo Davidson para su foto de un Carduelis psaltria!

Tuvimos mas respuestas este vez, pero solo dos de nueve estaban correctos.

Felicidades a Suzanne Gross de Piedades, Santa Ana: su respuesta estaba correcto: Lesser Goldfinch!

Annual Meeting 2014/Reunión Anual 2014

Sigue en espanol

“Bird Walk and Breakfast” was the theme of this year’s Annual Meeting, celebrating 10 years of birding in San Vito!

'Bird Walk and Breakfast.' Photo by Harry Hull

‘Bird Walk and Breakfast.’ Photo by Harry Hull

President Alison Olivieri reviewed Club activities in 2013, including twice-monthly Bird Walks at the Wilson Garden, several day trips to locations such as Rio Negro and Las Alturas, and an overnight trip to Alexander Skutch’s farm Las Cusingas. The mist netting team completed the ninth year of its Avian Monitoring Project, with Principal Investigator Dr. Steve Latta of the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, PA, and his Connecticut collaborator Judy Richardson of the Connecticut Audubon Society. A new initiative, pilot programs of BirdSleuth-International – “Detectives de Pajaros” in San Vito – ran in five schools: Linda Vista, Canas Gordas, La Pintada, Las Brisas and Tres Rios.

The Grand Prize for the Big Bird Feeder Competition 2013 went to Pat Morgan with Gail and Harry Hull of Finca Cantaros as runners-up.

Executive Committee Members were elected as follows: Alison Olivieri, President; Harry Hull, Vice President; Fred Schroeder, Treasurer, and Lydia Vogt, Secretary-in-absentia.

Newly-elected Vice President Harry Hull. Photo by Gail Hull

Newly-elected Vice President Harry Hull. Photo by Gail Hull

We are pleased to have Harry join us on the EC, as his contributions to our Communications Committee in general and specifically the website have been enormous and are greatly appreciated.

Treasurer Fred Schroeder reported the Club as “financially healthy” for the Fiscal Year ending September 30, 2013. He also pointed out the Club’s biggest asset is our collection of donated binoculars!

Roni Chernin, “Detectives de Pajaros” teacher, gave a comprehensive report of our efforts in local schools in 2013 and the plans, now underway, for teaching this Cornell University education program in eight schools in the just-started academic year 2014. With Roni’s encouragement, meeting participants played “The Habitat Game” and another “Detectives de Pajaros” teacher, Kelley Rasch, was the victorious bird, gathering Water, Food, Air and Shelter faster than her competitors!

Newly-elected VP Harry Hull manned the audio-visual equipment to show one of Andrew England’s many classroom videos, ‘Migration Obstacles’ with a Question and Answer session fielded by Roni.

Undoubtedly the most exciting part of the morning was the announcement of an anonymous Matching Gift of up to $350 – the cost of running the program in one school. Thanks to our caring and generous members, the match was reached almost immediately so we can now fully fund the targeted eight schools for this year!

It was a hard row to hoe for VP Hull to follow this excitement but he gave an interesting and succinct report on our website (now two years old) that shows both visitor numbers and followers growing. Click here to see the document he showed to illustrate the past year’s website activity:

Espanol aqui

“Caminata para Pajarear y Desayuno” fue el tema de este año de la Reunión anual, ¡Celebrando 10 años de pajarear en San Vito!

Making Breakfast: Chef George Alcock. Photo by Jean Schroeder

Making Breakfast: Chef George Alcock. Photo by Jean Schroeder

La Presidenta Alison Olivieri repasó las actividades del Club en el 2013, incluyendo caminatas bimensuales para ver pájaros en el Jardín Wilson, varias excursiones como la del Río Negro y Las Alturas, y una excursión nocturna a la granja Los Cusingos de Alexander Skutch. El equipo de redes de niebla completó el noveno año de su Proyecto de Monitoreo de Aves, con el Investigador Principal Dr. Steve Latta del National Aviary en Pittsburgh, PA, y su colaboradora de Connecticut, Judy Richardson del Connecticut Audubon Society. Una nueva iniciativa, programas piloto del BirdSleuth-International – “Detectives de Pajaros” en San Vito fueron ejecutados en cinco escuelas: Linda Vista, Cañas Gordas, La Pintada, Las Brisas y Tres Ríos.

El Gran Premio para la Competencia de Alimentadores de Pájaros fue para Pat Morgan con Gail and Harry Hull de Finca Cántaros como subcampeones.

Los miembros del Comité Ejecutivo fueron elegidos de la siguiente manera: Alison Olivieri, Presidenta; Harry Hull, Vicepresidente; Fred Schroeder, Tesorero y Lydia Vogt Secretaria-in-absentia. Estamos felices a tener Harry como vicepresidente asi como su trabajo sobre el Comité de Comunicaciones en general ha sido grandemente apreciado, específicamente, el sitio web.

Treasurer Fred Schroeder, Gail Hull, 'Detectives de Pajaros' Teacher Roni Chernin. Photo by Jean Schroeder

Treasurer Fred Schroeder, Gail Hull, ‘Detectives de Pajaros’ Teacher Roni Chernin. Photo by Jean Schroeder

El Tesorero Fred Schroeder reportó como “financieramente saludable” el Año Fiscal que terminó el 30 de Septiembre del 2013. El mencionó también que el acierto más grande del Club es ¡Nuestra colección de binoculares donados!

La profesora de “Detectives de Pájaros” Roni Chernin, dio un comprensivo reporte de nuestros esfuerzos en escuelas locales durante el 2013 y los planes, ahora en marcha, para enseñar este programa educativo de la Universidad de Cornell en ocho escuelas en el recién iniciado año académico 2014. Con el estímulo de Roni, se reunieron participantes para jugar “The Habitat Game” (“El Juego del Hábitad”).

Otra profesora de “Detectives de Pajaros”, Kelley Rasch resultó el ave ganadora, recogiendo Agua, Comida, Aire y Refugio ¡Más rápido que sus competidores!

'Detectives de Pajaros' Teacher Kelley Rasch: winner of 'The Habitat Game'! Photo by Jean Schroeder

‘Detectives de Pajaros’ Teacher Kelley Rasch: winner of ‘The Habitat Game’! Photo by Jean Schroeder

El recién electo vicepresidente, Harry Hull condujo el equipo audio visual para enseñar uno de los muchos videos de clase de Andrew England. “Migration Obstacles” (“Obstáculos Migratorios”) con una sesión de Preguntas y Respuestas por Roni Chernin.

Indudablemente la parte más emocionante de la mañana fue el anuncio de un Concurso

de Regalos de $350 – el costo de ejecutar el programa en una escuela. Gracias a nuestros

considerados y generosos miembros, la meta se alcanzó casi inmediatamente así que ¡Ahora podemos costear completamente las ocho escuelas meta para este año!

Fue un largo trecho por recorrer para el vicepresidente Harry Hull pero, siguiendo su emoción, el dio un interesante y preciso reporte de nuestro Sitio Web (de dos años ahora) que muestra un crecimiento en ambos, número de visitantes y seguidores. Aquí se ve el reporte.

Pat Morgan Wins the Big Birdfeeder Competition 2013

Pat Morgan's Golden-olive Woodpecker.

Pat Morgan’s Golden-olive Woodpecker.

SVBC member Pat Morgan is the Grand Prize Winner of the Birdfeeder Competition for 2013 with a total of 25 species! At the end of December, she spotted a Golden-Olive Woodpecker, took this photo and jumped into First Place ahead of six other entries.

Gail and Harry Hull of Finca Cantaros are the Runners-Up with a total of 24.

Because the counts were so close both competitors will be awarded a prize at the SVBC Annual Meeting in February (date to be announced shortly).

Now is the time to start your Feeder List for 2014! Have your binos, a notepad and a pencil at the ready so you can record all species in accordance with the rules: the bird must either land on the feeder (or hanging fruit) or be seen feeding on fallen pieces on the ground underneath.  Ready? Set? GO!

Northern Cardinal. Photo by

Northern Cardinal. Photo by Suzanne Dargie.

And just for a laugh, here is a species that probably won’t be seen on our lists any time soon.  Barb and Wally Barton’s niece sent it along to remind them of the frozen northland!

Festival Eco-Cultural 2013

Rock Art rocks!

Rock Art rocks!

A big THANK YOU to all the SVBC volunteers who helped organize and implement all the children’s activities during the recent Festival Eco-Cultural at OTS Las Cruces Biological Station/Wilson Botanical Garden.

Rock Art with Wendy Bernstein and Face Painting by Kata Ulaenars, Barbara Barton, Pat Morgan and Liz Allen are always popular at this annual event and we try to introduce new crafts and other activities each year.

Lantern finished!

Lantern finished!

This year Roni Chernin led a craft table transforming recycled material into flower vases and Kelley Rasch and her neighbor Rosemari helped kids make gaily decorated lanterns.

Held in June during Environmental Awareness Week, Las Cruces is transformed into a hubbub of activities including musical events, videos, guided walks, local food, crafts, artwork, demonstrations, plant and seed exchanges and more. Traditionally, members of the SVBC have volunteered to run the children’s programs for both days of this much-anticipated celebration.

Please enjoy these pictures by Alison Olivieri from a two-day “photo op” and plan to join us next year!

Beautiful painted faces.

Beautiful painted faces.

Below is a report of this year’s Festival, in Spanish only, by Ariadna Sanchez, Environmental Education Coordinator at Las Cruces.

Annual Meeting 2013/Reunión Anual 2013

Sigue en espanol

Bar and restaurant La Cascata. Photo: Alison Olivieri

Bar and restaurant La Cascata. Photo: Alison Olivieri

A record number of 26 members attended our Annual Meeting held, for the second year in a row, at La Cascata del Bosco on February 24. This year’s event had several new features including a Silent Auction of two beautiful pieces of artwork by member Gail Hull and a travel video by member Andrew Robertson of a recent trip to Ecuador.

However, the biggest news to come out of the meeting is that we have a new Vice President: Heysen Esquivel.

VP Heysen Esquivel. Photo: Michael Olivieri

VP Heysen Esquivel. Photo: Michael Olivieri

He has been actively involved with the Club for more than a year, attending and leading our twice-monthly Bird Walks at the Wilson Botanical Garden and making our website truly bi-lingual with his translations of all our articles, publications and posts.

Treasurer Fred Schroeder assured us that the Club is now solvent—in spite of having lost a little money last year! If you would like to receive a copy of our Annual Financial Report, please CONTACT US.

Wendy Schultz gave a report on her ongoing pilot program at the Linda Vista School called ‘Detectives de Parajos’ (Bird/Sleuth). This environmental education class, created by the Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology, has proven to be extremely popular with the “pioneer” 4th, 5th and 6th grades at Linda Vista.

Bird/Sleuth Teacher Wendy Schultz. Photo: Jean Schroeder

Bird/Sleuth Teacher Wendy Schultz. Photo: Jean Schroeder

It’s our hope to expand the education offering into other local schools in the near future. We’re grateful to those Club members who have renewed their 2013 dues as these funds are paying Wendy’s salary and for course materials. If any of you would like to observe the class, please CONTACT US.

Finally, Communications Chair Harry Hull gave an update on the website launched in March of last year. Surprisingly, the site has been viewed over 12,000 times by people from 104 countries including Iraq and North Korea! We’ve received numerous inquiries via email of birders planning to visit Costa Rica and are gratified that we can provide this service for foreign travelers. If you have not already done so, please sign up to “Follow” this website so you will automatically receive notifications of all new “posts” (announcements), including the free Wilson Walks, events and other activities.

For a complete inventory of the Club’s activities in 2012, please see the “2013 Annual Meeting: President’s Remarks” in the Viewpoints category of the website.

Espanol aqui:

Una impresionante cantidad de 26 miembros asistieron a nuestra reunión anual del 2013, programada por segundo año consecutivo, en La Cascata del Bosco en Febrero 24. El evento de este año incluyo varias iniciativas nuevas como la subasta silenciosa de dos hermosas piezas de arte confeccionadas por uno de nuestros miembros Gail Hull y además fue exhibido un video por nuestro miembro Andrew Robertson de un viaje reciente al Ecuador hecho por algunos de lo miembros del club.

Member Caroline Torres. Photo: Michael Olivieri

Member Caroline Torres. Photo: Michael Olivieri

Sin embargo, dentro de las noticias más recientes subrayamos la inclusión de nuestro nuevo vicepresidente: Heysen Esquivel. Él ha participado activamente en las actividades del club por más de un año, asistiendo y liderando las caminatas al jardín Botánico Wilson efectuadas dos veces al mes por nuestro club, y colaborando con nuestro sitio web convirtiéndolo realmente en un sitio bilingüe, donde se incluyen las traducciones al español de todos los artículos y anuncios que aquí se publican.

Treasurer Fred Schroeder. Photo: Michael Olivieri

Treasurer Fred Schroeder. Photo: Michael Olivieri

Nuestro Tesorero Fred Schroeder nos asegura que el club hoy por hoy presenta solvencia económica — a pesar de haber perdido algo de capital  el año pasado! Si Ud. le gustaría recibir una copia de nuestro reporte Financiero Anual por favor CONTACT US.

Wendy Schultz también nos dio su reporte del proyecto piloto a largo plazo puesto en practica en la escuela de Linda Vista llamado ‘Detectivos de Parajos’ (Bird/Sleuth). Este clase de educación ambiental, creada por el laboratorio de Ornitología de estudios de la universidad de Cornell, ha probado ser extremadamente popular con los grupos pioneros de 4to, 5to y 6to grado de la escuela de Linda Vista. Es nuestra esperanza el expandir este programa de educación ambiental a otras escuelas locales en un futuro cercano. Estamos muy agradecidos a todos aquellos miembros del club quienes han renovado su membresía anual del 2013 ya que con estos fondos estamos pagando los honorarios de Wendy por el curso y los materiales didácticos que se utilizan. Si alguno de Uds. le gustaría participar como observador alguna de las clases por favor CONTACT US.

Finalmente nuestro Director de Comunicaciones Harry Hull, nos dio un reporte del rendimiento de nuestro sitio web puesto en marcha en Marzo del año pasado. Sorprendentemente, el sitio ha sido visto mas de 12.000 veces por usuarios alrededor de 104 países incluyendo Iraq y Corea del Norte! Hemos recibido numerosas preguntas vía correo de observadores de aves que planean visitar Costa Rica y están muy complacidos de que podamos brindar este servicio para viajeros extranjeros. Si no lo ha hecho aun, por favor suscríbase este sitio del red en ‘’Seguirnos’’. De esta forma recibirá Ud. automáticamente las notificaciones de los nuevos mensajes ‘’Anuncios’’ incluidas las fechas donde se realizan las caminatas libres al Jardín Botánico Wilson entre otras actividades.

Host George Alcock. Photo: Jean Schroeder

Host George Alcock. Photo: Jean Schroeder

Para informarse del inventario de las actividades del club en el 2012, por favor vea ‘’Reunión anual del 2013: Observaciones importantes del Presidente’’ En Categoría Opiniones (Viewpoints).

Kansas Students Invade Finca Cantaros

Sigue en espanol

Bird banders Julie Girard and Alison Olivieri gave a Mist Netting Demonstration on January 22, 2013 for students in Professor Jon Piper’s biology course at Bethel College in North Newton, KS, the landscape of which could not possibly be more different than San Vito!

Bethel College students at Finca Cantaros.

Bethel College students at Finca Cantaros.

The 16 students have been traveling in Costa Rica since January 3 and their stay here at the Las Cruces Biological Research Station gives them an OTS hat-trick for visiting all three stations, including Palo Verde and La Selva. Their interest in birds and, we hope, bird study, was piqued by close-up looks of at a handsome White-throated Robin, Speckled Tanager, one male and one female Rufous-tailed Hummingbird and two neotropical migrants, an Ovenbird and a Northern Waterthrush.

Over many years, Jon has been bringing groups of students to Costa Rica in January where they become familiar with the many different habitats in this tiny country. They participate in biological study projects, are continually quizzed and challenged and eventually have their final exam.

Beth Piper, seen at right.

Beth Piper, seen at right.

Several years ago, the Piper family came to live in San Vito during a sabbatical year for Jon and they have been missed by all of us associated with Las Cruces/ Wilson Botanical Garden ever since. It was good to have Jon’s wife Beth with him this year — if only for a moment!  We look forward to more Piper-style visits with curious, funny and bright students in years to come.

Las Anilladoras Julie Girard y Alison Olivieri dieron una demostración con redes de niebla el pasado 22 de Enero, 2013 para estudiantes del profesor Jon Piper del curso de biología del instituto  Bethel al norte de Newton KS, en donde el paisaje no podría ser mas diferente que el de San Vito.

Los 16 estudiantes han estado viajando por Costa Rica desde Enero 3 y su estadía aquí en la Estación Biológica Las Cruces completa el triplete perfecto luego de visitar las otras dos estaciones de la OTS en Costa Rica, una localizada en Palo verde Guanacaste y la otra en la Selva en Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí. Su interés en aves y esperamos sus futuros estudios en esta rama, se hayan acentuado después de observar a muy corta distancia un White-throated Robin, Speckled Tanager, un macho y una hembra de Rufous-tailed Hummingbird y dos migrantes neotropicales: un Ovenbird y un Northern Waterthrush.

A Piper-style Pop Quiz -- answer: Mulberry bush!

A Piper-style Pop Quiz — answer: Mulberry bush!

Por varios años, Jon ha traído grupos de estudiantes a Costa Rica en Enero donde el grupo se familiariza con los muchos y diferentes ecosistemas que ofrece este pequeño país. Los estudiantes participan en proyectos de estudio biológicos, son continuamente evaluados con exámenes cortos y desafiados con la materia, eventualmente también son examinados al  final de curso.

Hace algunos años atrás , la familia Pipier vino a vivir a San Vito durante un año Sabático para Jon y han sido extrañados por todos los que tenemos relación con las Cruces/Jardín Botánico Wilson desde entonces. Fue grandiosos el tener a la esposa de Jon (Beth) con el este año—al menos por un momento! Esperamos con ansias mas visitas al estilo Pipier con mas estudiantes curiosos , graciosos y brillantes en los años por venir.

BirdSleuth Workshop at Las Cruces

Lilly Briggs leads the BirdSleuth Workshop in San Vito, May 2012

Lilly Briggs leads the BirdSleuth Workshop in San Vito, May 2012

As noted on this website under the navigation bar Community>Current Projects>BirdSleuth, we hope to help implement this Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology environmental education program in San Vito in some way, shape or form. To begin this process — and to familiarize us with the course material and classes — a day-long workshop for Spanish speakers was help at Las Cruces on Sunday, May 13, led by Lilly Briggs a Cornell PhD student in the Department of Natural Resources, and Jennifer Fee, the Lab of O’s Manager of K-12 Programs.

Jennifer Fee setting up the BirdSleuth Workshop

Jennifer Fee Setting up the BirdSleuth Workshop

Las Cruces Biologist Ariadna Sanchez spent months planning and organizing the workshop and, to judge by the participants enthusiastic reaction, it was an enormous success. Nearly half of the registrants were teachers from elementary and high schools. Almost everyone else had taken the recently-offered OTS Naturalist Guide Course.

This educational program is geared toward teaching children to engage in and enjoy science. It is all about discovery and learning to record data, using Bird Journals and Cornell’s amazing public database, eBird. It’s also about having fun with hands-on activities that include making a personal bird journal, drawing and studying birds, learning bird families by sight and, finally, counting species and individuals.

During the nine completed classes, students play the Bird Survivor! Game and the Migration Game, both of which teach about migratory birds’ perilous lives as they fly north from Central and South America to breed and south from North America to return home. These games also lead students to think about social connections as they learn to view birds as international citizens. The concept of global cooperation can be well understood by connecting students from different countries that share the same species of birds.

Bird Survivor! Game

Bird Survivor! Game

Perhaps even more importantly, this program is about empowering children to find solutions to the critical issue of bird (and other wildlife) conservation: becoming Citizen Scientists and helping to solve problems on local, national and international scales. One of the most important classes focuses on creating a local Conservation Project and carrying it out.

BirdSleuth-International could be offered here as an ‘after-school Bird Club’: basically, an extended learning program. Or it could be used as the curriculum for a week-long or two-week Summer Day Camp. Or in some different way, that we have not yet discovered.

As we move forward with this exciting project, we will need the help of all our members in the form of creative ideas, financial support and local volunteer action. Please let us know how YOU can help by clicking on contact us!

Making a Bird Journal

Making a Bird Journal