Birding Excursion with the EcoKids!

excursion3By Carmela Luciano, translated by Rebecca Berube 

When we heard May 9th was Global Bird Day, we immediately thought- Let’s go birding! Most birding outings are accompanied by thoughts of silence, wide eyes, early mornings, guidebooks, pamphlets, birdsongs, and peaceful forest tranquility … But we wanted to go with a group of 21 children! Armed with this challenge, we combined our wonderful Pedasi group of EcoPelaos, trained veterans of the forest, with a group of new students from the Venao International School.
Our diverse group of explorers ranged from 4-12 years old, from different nationalities and speaking Spanish, English, and French. Excited by being part of a Global Bird Day, with over 12,500 participants from all over the world, the kids prepped their feathers and beaks to head out to the forest. Aided by the passionate forest guides and educators Guillaume and Silva, volunteers, and AEP staff, we reached the riverbed reeds and had barely gotten off the bus when we were greeted by birdcalls. With our logistics, we knew the birds would know we were coming! However, the kids were undeterred, keeping their senses open as they told their friends, “listen, listen to the birds singing over there!” 17499134396_59d2140ff4_z
Thus began our adventure,  our children bursting with excitement with the idea of walking through the riverbed, splashing through the small puddles of the river during the dry of summer. If the walk became challenging for smallest, the older kids helped them along, discovering and scrutinizing each small movement seen through the branches and leaves of the forest; howler monkeys, a hidden heron, a coiled snake, parrots swawking high above them (making almost as much noise as the kids were).
As we reached our goal, a delightful swimming hole and lunch spot awaited. The kids played in the cool water of the river, protected by the calm shade of the trees, and under supervision of a water turtle they found.
In this excursion, the birds went from being the observed to being the observers, as we’d like to think they were looking down from their perches as our boisterous group enjoyed the forest and its charms without fear!

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