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mid-week Connect: 3/20/24 ~ Birding across cultures

Greetings and Happy Midweek!

As Spring begins today here in the USA and birdsongs fill the air, I thought we’d explore the topic of birding (birdwatching) across cultures. [*] This fits into the PROgram component of our Global SKILLs PROACTive Framework since we’ll look briefly at several types of bird watching ‘programs’…and see how they can give us some cross-cultural insights. [**]


I have been intrigued by birds for many years, following in the footsteps of my maternal grandparents who were avid “birders” way back in the 60’s. As a child, I remember the sticker on their car which stated, “Beware - we break for birds”! Then, when we were homeschooling in the village in rural Senegal, so often birds would fly by our window and perch in the tree behind the house (multicolored, remarkable creatures) and before long - we just had to add them to our daily lessons. And in 1999, I helped start an urban-based birding group in Dakar which eventually became a decade long effort we called SOS (Sauvegarder les Oiseaux du Sénégal / Protecting the Birds of Senegal). There are so many stories I could tell about all those great birding adventures, which I just might in future Connects…


But for today, let’s look at 2 types of culturally relevant birding ‘programs’:

  1. Birding for sustenance: One time, I was with a friend in his taxi exploring on a dirt road between villages. Although always congenial, Babacar wasn’t particularly interested in what I was focused on - to see & identify as many birds as we could find. Suddenly, several small, brownish striped birds ran out in front of the car and he became very animated! He told me their name and where they could be found, and finished by saying with a big smile, “They are very good to eat!”.

Ah ha! I thought - yes, people may not be interested in just watching birds, but they definitely are interested in feeding their families and catching a free meal on the fly or on the run is time well spent! 

  1. Birding to protect the environment and the many socio-economic activities which depend on healthy ecosystems: In SOS, our efforts included identifying and documenting local species (we listed over 150 species in a green space right outside the city!) and seeing how their habitats were being impacted by development and pollution. Along with the birds, local gardeners and micro-farmers were losing their space - and this was impacting livelihoods as well as the availability of fresh produce in the markets. Highlighting this challenge over the years both locally and nationally helped to increase awareness about the importance of setting aside these types of green space.

So, how can these two birding activities inform our cross cultural endeavors? 

First, I think if we are sensitive to local needs and how people meet these, this will help us understand and appreciate local bird populations - or any other cultural domain we choose to learn about. 

And then, if we work hand-in- hand with local communities and others, we can all help protect and support sustainable ways for everyone to live healthy lifestyles, enjoying the birds and so many other things! 


How about you ~ what’s one experience you have had with a bird…and how can that inform your own cultural awareness?

Share about that with a friend or note it here. 

And check out the Global SKILLs LINKs below for more on birding. 

Thanks for being part of this Connect community.

Until next week,

Betsy


Global SKILLs LINKs

~ to get YOU started: https://merlin.allaboutbirds.org/ 


Notes

[*] Related Connects: 11/4/20 - opportunities;  2/10/21 - the world; 5/11/22 - nesting; 1/25/23 - lifelong learning (use this link and scroll down here to the post date)

[**] Through my business Global SKILLs and several partner subsidiaries I offer unique cross-cultural consulting and training including:

3 Dimensional Dynamics Model: 

1st dimension = HOME ; 2nd dimension = HOST ; 3rd dimension = HARBOR) 

PROACTive Framework:                                                                                                  

PRO = PROfiles, PROcess, PROgrams (which we explored this week)  

ACT = Applications, Collaborations and Transformations

~ contact me for more information on this model and these strategies and how you might use them in your current programming: betsy.barbour@gmail.com 


2024 ~  Celebrating 40+ years of working in 

intercultural communications and global community building

“It takes a community to build a community”


Please Note: this is copyrighted content. 

Please do not reproduce or share without my permission (betsy.barbour@gmail.com)


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