Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Speaking the Language of Conservation: Team Naturaleza Connects Latino Community with Nature
Pacific Region, November 20, 2012
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2012 Upper Basin Birders with new birders and science partners
2012 Upper Basin Birders with new birders and science partners - Photo Credit: USFWS
Team Naturaleza Norma Gallegos shares teaching with USFWS Taylor Goforth during Leavenworth Spring Bird Fest 2012
Team Naturaleza Norma Gallegos shares teaching with USFWS Taylor Goforth during Leavenworth Spring Bird Fest 2012 - Photo Credit: USFWS

Team Naturaleza received a Connecting People With Nature grant of $850 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Pacific Region. Team Naturaleza connects Latino community members with a long-term Citizen Science bird monitoring program and subsequent habitat conservation work. Here are some highlights from the program:



The Upper Basin Birders, a local scientifically oriented volunteer birding community, conducted monthly bird monitoring stations as a Citizen Science program on Federal lands in the upper Wenatchee River basin. The USFWS provided financial support to fund the pontoon boat monitoring trips. There were eight pontoon birding field trips with the “Birders-To-Learners” initiative by Upper Basin Birders. A total of 41 different people attended these birding trips (33% Latino). Some people repeated birding trips, with a total of 76 individual birding days. This project helps people to learn birding, learn monitoring, learn about habitat, learn about conservation work, and do habitat improvement; seeing final projects from start to finish. Over 90 species of birds were recorded, with a high degree of neotropical migratory birds breeding in the East Slopes of the Cascades from their wintering grounds in Latin America. New birders also were able to observe a Bald Eagle nest site; many people had never been so close to this species before. Birding Data is entered into Cornell Lab’s eBird site. As of September 30, 2012, there were 91 species seen on the four Fish Lake birding stations: there were 30 birding lists entered. Cornell Lab provided Citizen Science certificates of appreciation for those who conducted birding surveys. The USFS hosts this project, under direction of Janet Millard, Wildlife Technician. USFWS provided funding and provided staff scientific interaction with the birders.


Team Naturaleza did riparian habitat improvement work at Upper Basin Birders’ Meadow Creek stations. Habitats and Species studied were Wetlands-Lake-River-Riparian-Neotropical Migratory Bird. Monitoring of bird species included: common loon, trumpeter swan, blue-winged teal, spotted sandpiper, warbling vireo, barn swallow; Vaux’s swift, calliope hummingbird, red-naped sapsucker, olive-sided flycatcher, Am.redstart, Wilson’s warbler, and Bullock’s oriole. Habitat improvement included brush cutting. The USFWS and USFS assisted financially by providing transportation and tools.


This project covered 9 activities: eight bird monitoring field trips; and one riparian habitat improvement work party (one work party was canceled due to forest fires). Our emphasis was teaming up with the Latino community. We expected 10 people at each of 10 events, totaling 100 people. We expect 30% to 60% Latino people attend (families and elders). Our results were 8 people at each event, totaling 76 people, and we had 33% participation from the Latino community.Underserved population (low income, at-risk, disabled) includes NCW Latino communities in Chelan and Douglas Counties. Some of these people are at risk due to gangs, drug abuse, obesity, health, early pregnancy, and High School dropout.


USFWS staff have been supportive and involved in Team Naturaleza programs. Fisheries Biologist, Judy Neibauer, sits on the TN Steering Committee. Judy offers ways to include science into the bilingual community programs. She is also an advocate for her agency and for natural science education. Public Education managers, Taylor Goforth and Corky Broaddus, both have provided valuable assistance for administering grants and reports. Taylor has come to Leavenworth twice to become more “tuned in” and involved with TN projects such as Bird Fest and Salmon Fest.Wildlife/Fish Biologists, Jeff Krupka and Karl Halupka, provide scientific expertise on T&E bird species and conservation needs for various migrating birds. Their willing assistance helps form the process for Citizen Science monitoring projects. By offering their time and energy, these progressive scientists, provide an atmosphere of co-creativity for Team Naturaleza.

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Contact Info: Amanda Fortin, (503) 872-2852, amanda_fortin@fws.gov
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