Local non-profit organisation and birding club, BirdLife Jamaica, will, on Saturday (May 27) host an activity to teach children about bird watching and bird conservation at the Hope Botanical Gardens in St. Andrew.
“If you you want kids to be interested in something, it’s best for you to expose them early. So, we want to try to make children more aware of what’s happening in their environment and that includes birds as they are among the things kids will see when they go outside,” said Cecile Johnson Semaj, current treasurer of BirdLife Jamaica.
She was speaking with Our Today about the upcoming activity and shared that, “It’s an opportunity to formally introduce children to the endemic birds of Jamaica. At any time that you go out, you’re going to see endemics (birds found only in Jamaica) and you’re also going to see migratory birds. So, we want to expose them and let them know that these are the birds in their environment. Of course, with May being Child’s Month, this is also an opportunity to focus on children and create an event dedicated to teaching kids about bird life,”
Birding and bird conservation provide invaluable benefits to people through ecosystem services such as insect and rodent control, plant pollination, and seed dispersal.
The birding club, which is an organisation that is particularly interested in the conservation of birds and their habitats, regularly hosts group events including evening bird-watching walks at the Hope Botanical Gardens.
Additionally, the group, from time to time “will venture outside the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew and head to spaces in St. Elizabeth and Portland, among others, to engage in the observation of data gathering about migratory birds.”
This, according to Michelle Roberts, current secretary of the club, who also shared that they also engage in seminars and webinars that addresses bird life and bird conservation.
Roberts added that BirdLife Jamaica also makes presentations to interested schools about Jamaica’s endemic birds.
“We have members who will visit schools and educate them as well as distribute our endemic birds poster,” she said, referring to the clubs poster and associated booklet which was launched in 2001.
Though registration for this weekend’s activity is closed, both Johnson Semaj and Roberts stressed the importance of exposing children to birding.
“The reason we want to have children involved in birding is that we want to introduce them to the flora and fauna of Jamaica, especially the birds. Having a child centered event will give them a greater appreciation of birds, teach them how to properly use binoculars,” they said.
“We’ll also be able to show children the various types of birds, how to spot them and identify them. Such an activity will also foster greater interaction with persons who are interested in the outdoors,” they added, indicating that the event will be a fantastic learning experience as participants will be guided by experts in the field.
Connect with Birdlife Jamaica on Instagram @birdlifejamaica
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