CHENNAI: Do you like walking down nature trails and do nothing but just look and listen to the sound of wild birds? Here’s a workshop that introduces you to a variety of techniques and activities if you are keen on reaching out to children and other local groups to share your enthusiasm for birds. Early Bird, in association with Prakriti Wildlife Club, is conducting ‘Birding Buddies’, a workshop for bird educators, this weekend.
One of the curators, Suhel Quader, Nature Conservation Foundation, tells us why it’s important to be a Birding Buddy. “The larger goal of the workshop is to spread awareness about nature and especially birds. A lot of people are interested in this and it could be a good way to introduce them to the natural world as a whole,” he says.
While there are pockets of bird enthusiasts who already conduct bird walks, specialise in bird photography, present slideshows and take documentaries on birds, Suhel says that this is another way to use birds as a channel to create interest in both adults and children. “Apart from regular and conventional activities like bird walks, we will also cover other creative avenues including bird sketching, poetry, skits and storytelling. It will make learning fun while sensitising children about birds,” he opines.
A few months ago, an online poll was conducted by NCF about what these bird enthusiasts were doing to share their knowledge and why they were not curating any constructive outreach programmes. “The answers we got were interesting. But, one recurring response was that they didn’t feel ready or equipped or to reach out to schools and other local groups to teach them about it. They wanted to be trained for it and that’s what this workshop focuses on,”he explains.
The workshop will also have a panel discussion with Susy Varughese, Preston Ahimaz, M Yuvan and Ramnarayan K. “They will share their experiences of being a Birding Buddy. Ramanarayanan is from Chennai but works in Uttarakhand with groups there. So, it’ll be interesting to hear what he has to offer and what he has learnt,” he shares.
The workshop is for anyone and everyone who is interested in nature and birds, provided you are an adult. “We will discuss different aspects of the natural world and also attempt to equip enthusiasts with skills. But, the workshop will not introduce participants to birdwatching or bird identification on a large scale. And no, it is not meant for children,” he emphasises.
The group will also be conducting similar workshops in Goa and other parts of the country. “We had a workshop in Bengaluru and had people from their early 20s to late 60s join us. We are looking forward to the workshop in Chennai,” adds Suhel.
The workshop will take place on December 3 at IIT-M campus from 9 am onwards. For details and to register, visit: www.instamojo.com/NCF/birding-buddies-workshop-2
Book your slot
A fee of `300 will be charged (payable in advance to reserve your seat) for the workshop which includes hands-on activity training, resource material, and refreshments (but not lunch). Registration is on first come first serve basis.