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The Launch and Evolution of EXPLORE BIRDS

EXPLORE Birds is a pop-up bird education program developed by Washington Square Park Eco Projects and the Uni Project. The collaboration between the two organizations began during fall 2016. A selection of Eco Projects' nature books were shelved with a Uni READ cart.

The following year, Eco Projects was looking for a partner for its new program about urban birds. The Uni Project offered to exhibit the program. The first iteration of the bird education program was launched with the READ cart in fall 2017 and funded with a grant from the Blake-Nuttall Fund.

In 2018, Eco Projects received its federal and state permits to build its education collection of bird specimens. The collection has grown from one species (two donated European Starlings) to nine species including a Red-tailed Hawk and two American Kestrels. (Thank you to two mentors at the American Museum of Natural History.)

The program has also expanded in terms of its components. Birds and books remain the core offerings but we've included listening and biological illustration stations. Binoculars are also provided and we encourage hyper-local bird watching.

We plan to grow the program by offering bird walks where possible and to record participants bird tales. People of all ages engage with the EXPLORE Bird cart and without fail, we hear stories of their interactions with birds. We've even spoken with an elected official who is an advocate for bird-friendly architecture.

You can make a financial contribution to EXPLORE Birds by donating to the Uni Project. We welcome in-kind contributions such as volunteering to lead a local bird or plant walk. If you are a camera, binocular, compass and/or microscope company, we accept gear donations.

Locations and dates shown: 1, 5 - Albee Square, April 21, 2018; 2, 10, 11 - Union Square Park, June 2, 2018; 3, 4 - Washington Square Park, October 15, 2016; 6, 7 - Jacob H. Schiff Playground, August 3, 2018; 8, 9 - Sara D. Roosevelt Park at Hester Street, September 16, 2018. All photographs owned by the Uni Project and used here with permission.