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While Sierra Taliaferro was working as a Naturalist in Broward County, Florida, in 2021, she collaborated with Broward County Library to help enhance the public’s knowledge about birding. More people became interested in birding as a safe outdoor activity during the pandemic. Sierra and others designed birding backpacks with field guides and binoculars that could be checked out at 10 libraries throughout the county. Sierra also gave a webinar crash course on how to find birds. The program was a success, with many people checking out the backpacks and creating their own birding adventures.
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Bringing Birding Adventures to Broward County
Written by Dara Miles Wilson
This is BirdNote.
[Boat-tailed Grackle, ML 135404]
While Sierra Taliaferro was working as a Naturalist in Broward County, Florida, the Broward County Library approached her with a unique opportunity to create a program to enhance the public’s knowledge about the basics of birding. This was in 2021, one year deep into the COVID-19 pandemic. There was a visible interest in birding as a safe outdoor activity.
Sierra Taliaferro: Once people start feeling more comfortable with going outside, they realize that there's this awesome activity called birdwatching and they want to learn more about it.
Sierra and others came up with the idea of putting together backpacks full of birding gear that people could check out from the library, including a field guide to Florida birds, and binoculars.
Sierra Taliaferro: Depending on if it's an adult or if it's a kid, they'll have the appropriate binoculars in there. So we were super involved, super invested because we wanted to make sure that people were going to get the necessary things that they needed to get started.
Sierra gave a webinar crash course that focused on how to use the supplies and empowered people to birdwatch wherever they live.
Sierra Taliaferro: You just need to have an open mind and open heart and open ears, honestly. I often say like, birding is so unconventional. You can literally bird outside your window. You can bird in the parking lot of the grocery store because there's birds all around us.
[Royal Tern calls, ML 231607051]
And the project made sure that people could access these backpacks wherever they were.
Sierra Taliaferro: We were very intentional about where we were going to distribute those backpacks. Broward County is very large, and so we partnered up with 10 local Broward County libraries across the county.
And the birding backpacks were a hit —
Sierra Taliaferro: —where even till this day, they're still taking out backpacks. That was a huge success for us.
To learn more about the Broward County Library birdwatching backpacks, visit BirdNote dot org. I’m Dara Miles Wilson.
Senior Producer: John Kessler
Content Director: Allison Wilson
Producer: Mark Bramhill
Managing Producer: Conor Gearin
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Common Gallinule ML 65941821 recorded by P. Marvin, and Royal Tern ML 231607051 recorded by N. Fontaine.
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2022 BirdNote June 2022 Narrator: Dara Miles Wilson
ID# taliaferros-01-2022-06-03 taliaferros-01