2016 marks the Centennial of the first Migratory Bird Treaty, the cornerstone of international efforts to conserve birds that know no borders. For its celebration, Environment for the Americas partnered with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with one goal: encourage Latino and underrepresented communities to enjoy the outdoors and learn about bird conservation. The fascinating story of birds and communities with which they intersect in their migration will be told through our eyes, the Pacific Flyway Ambassadors, a.k.a BirdTrippers. They will travel over 3,500 miles in three months from San Diego, CA to Anchorage, AK with stops in dozens of towns, cities, public lands and other wildlife hot spots. Meet the interns on this epic road trip below:
My name is Jean. I grew up in Puerto Rico traveling between my mother’s coffee farm and my father’s horse ranch where I became fond of nature, leading me to finish my BS in Microbiology at the University of Puerto Rico. I am grateful of all the opportunities I’ve had that made me appreciate Mother Earth, from traveling Central and South America to researching environmental issues in my island and in the coast of Washington state.
I’m Christian, and I’ve lived a life divided between my two homes in Rota, Spain and Norfolk, VA, I graduated of George Mason University with a Bachelors of Science in International Conflict Analysis and Resolution. My interests are largely in environmental policy and international relations with past worked in New York, NY, Mumbai, India, and Washington, D.C.
On our trip we’ve been granted the privilege to meet experts in their respective fields on national wildlife refuges and bird observatory sites. Driving the scenic landscape of California has taught us so much respect for a bird’s migration. Carrizo Plain treated us to beautiful grassland covered in wildflowers, and spotting the enormous green flash of a meteor coming down on a clear night within the horizon was unforgettable. Klamath Basin allowed us to spot more eagles in a day than either of had ever seen, and locals pointed us to caves in the lava beds that had hyper reflective bacterial mats that we didn’t even know existed. Just yesterday we were lucky enough to be given a tour of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Forensic Lab, where all evidence for migratory bird protection law is sent from across the country, to see the challenging work faced by a small but capable staff. It’s simply been on highlight after another.
We write this now from Klamath Bird Observatory’s lovely office in Ashland, OR but tomorrow we’ll be headed north for Florence, OR. Our experience has been one of constant movement, much like the birds, and we’re looking forward to our drive all the way to Vancouver, Canada. From there we’ll get a flight to Alaska – with our final stop being Denali. If the last month’s experiences are anything to go by this trip will continue to be daily encounters with experts on sites that somehow continue to one up the last in their own way.
Keep up with us on our blog, Birdtrippers.com, to read up on topics we’ve learned about on our journey. Not only that, you can follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by searching for birdtrippers. Please share your thoughts and personal experiences on the various locations we reach. We can’t wait to see your comments!
eBird Northwest will be following the Bird Trippers on their journey and reposting some of their content as they move through the Pacific Northwest!
Article by Jean Carlos Rodriguez-Ramos and Christian Michael McWilliams