Detectivos de Aves in Costa Rica: Partnering with locally-based conservationists to help grow conservation education through schools and community groups
At the National Aviary, we believe that one of our most significant roles is to provide educational opportunities for the next generation of conservationists, especially in host countries where we work. We are involved in educational efforts at all levels, from advising undergraduate and graduate students both locally and internationally, to designing and providing educational materials for school children and residents of rural communities.
In the mountains of southern Costa Rica we have partnered with the San Vito Bird Club on a variety of research, monitoring, and educational programs. Students from more than 10 elementary schools in San Vito de Coto Brus have participated in Cornell University’s BirdSleuth-International educational program. Called Detectivos de Aves in Latin America, this program is an ongoing collaboration between the San Vito Bird Club, its members and supporters, and the National Aviary.
After four years, more than 400 students have raced through the Migration Game, borrowed binoculars and enjoyed a field trip to the nearby Organization for Tropical Studies’ Las Cruces Biological Station and the Wilson Botanical Garden, and completed many other exciting educational projects.
In addition to the 10-lesson curriculum, many of the schools benefited from community projects that included painting murals, gardening with plants that benefit birds, cleaning-up school grounds, or constructing bird feeders.
The San Vito Bird Club also sponsored an Art Show at the Campo Ferial de San Vito in 2016 as a component of the course, which was open to all students in the classes that academic year. About 60 students participated.
Educational programs offer unique opportunities for students to connect with nature and experience the life of an ornithologist. By partnering with birdwatchers and conservation organizations in the communities where we work, we hope to build capacity and inspire the next generation of conservationists.