"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." ~ Margaret Mead
Urban Birding Cleveland Update August 2020
By Gloria Ferris
After an energizing launch of Urban Birding Cleveland (UBC) during David Lindo, the Urban Birder Week in 2019, an enthusiastic Conservation Project Lab group in January eagerly worked to create an action plan to make the initiative a reality. After an energetic brainstorming session, the team formed two subcommittees-Urban Trails and Community Outreach.
Urban Trails began brainstorming on what urban neighborhood might be a fit for a model that could be replicated. That committee was extremely lucky to get a "yes" from Tremont, a neighborhood nestled in the south of downtown Cleveland - very urban, on the west bank of the Cuyahoga River where it’s delightful Lincoln Park creates a central gathering place. Within days, Tom Romito, WCAS Board Member, began scheduling presentations at Tremont block clubs.
Meanwhile, the UBC Community Outreach committee partnered with the ‘Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland’ on Broadway Avenue, 6114 Broadway Ave, Cleveland, OH 44127 to bring a youth element to the initiative. At the same time, libraries and community centers were contacted to create more venues for future activities and events.
The two committees collaborated to design a rack card explaining what UBC is, its goals, and how the community can help. At the same time, the WCAS fundraising committee began planning a return visit by David Lindo in June 2020 during the breeding bird and nesting season.
And then came COVID-19 which threw us all for a loop with stay-at-home orders, wear a mask, don't wear a mask, maintain social distance, and so much more. One could say we are all in the same boat, but it may be more descriptive to say we are in individual boats in the same storm. Whether the non-profit we support is big, small, or like Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society (WCAS), a ground up organization, the challenges are the same.
WCAS complies with state guidelines as well as National Audubon Society's shut down of face-to-face events for the foreseeable future. Right now, we are in the process of forming a 90 day cycle of activities to provide virtual presentations, interviews, and videos about urban birding in your backyard, your local patch, and beyond. Check out the WCAS website to see the latest stories, speaker presentations, and our calendar of events.
Despite these setbacks we want to continue to add value to everyone’s experience at WCAS. To accomplish this we will use simple metrics to understand how we are meeting our goals and to inform us as we continue to update and tweak our offerings for members, birders, conservationists, and the public.
Until we can gather safely together in person, we have new opportunities to meet online to share experiences and to explore conservation through the lens of urban birding. But also, we want to expand the reach of how we connect to the world. We intend to find ways that we, as individuals, can create ripples around our boats connecting to other boats to positively influence unfolding change.
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The Feathered Flyer blog publishes human interest stories about birding and habitat conservation.
After watching, ‘My Painted Trillium Quest' by Tom Fishburn, Kim Langley, WCAS Member said, “Wonderful! It was a lift just knowing that such a site exists and is being protected!”
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Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your donation is tax-deductible. The tax ID number is: 34-1522665. If you prefer to mail your donation, please send your check to: Nancy Howell, Western Cuyahoga Audubon Treasurer, 19340 Fowles Rd, Middleburg Hts, OH 44130. © 2020 Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society. All rights reserved.