Over the years and through our interactions with birders and educators, we realise there is an increasing number of children who have begun birdwatching and are eager to learn. There is also a significant diversity of eco clubs, schools and other such groups teaching about nature and birds, who want to move beyond just ‘identification’. We intend to nudge them toward the right opportunities, tools and mentorship to help them delve deeper into the world of birds.
To achieve this, we envision a pan-India Young Birders’ Network as a hub for children to interact with one another, be guided by educators and naturalists, and connect with other birders too. It will be a platform to access resources, latest bird-related events, interact with experts, share experiences with their peers and more. We will create more freely accessible content and innovative learning tools such as games, workshops, webinars and activities to learn about birds in new and exciting ways. As the first step in this direction, we conducted a 5 week workshop for 11-16 year olds in May-June of 2021 which explored a variety of themes related to birds and nature. You can read more about the event here. The next version of the workshop was conducted between Nov-Dec 2021 and the third was conducted between Nov-Dec 2022, with several co-facilitators from different organisations who will be taking it up in their local networks as the next step. We have the fourth version of the Young Birders’ Workshop scheduled for 21 May-18 June 2023.
We plan to scale up this effort by building collaborations with educators from all over India, so they can adapt our resources in their own language, to suit their local context and in this way, we will reach a wider audience and truly nurture the Young Birders’ Network. We hope that the Young Birders’ Network will emerge as the go-to platform for young birders across the country to enrich and grow their birdwatching journeys.
We have also kept in touch with the workshop participants online. Our long-term engagement with workshop participants includes interacting with them on Google Classroom. This is to facilitate peer interaction by allowing participants to share their experiences and ask questions. In addition, we started monthly online sessions with experts to stay in touch with the Young Birders’ Network participants. The purpose is to enable them to interact with experts as well as introduce them to new and interesting information about birds and birdwatching, so that they can take a holistic view of birdwatching rather than just focusing on identification. Find out more about our online experiments with the Young Birders’ Network by reading our blog.