Winter Bird Count to be held on Dec. 2, with meeting sites in Districts 5, 6, and 7
December 1, 2017
Thomas R. Throssell
Gila River Indian News
The Gila River Indian Community Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will be hosting its annual Winter Bird Count on the morning of Dec. 2 at various locations throughout the Community, followed by cultural activities held at the Huhugam Heritage Center (HHC).
The Winter Bird Count is an event where Community members travel to different locations within the Community to identify, count, and record different species of birds they see during the activity.
Althea Walker, DEQ Outreach Coordinator, said the event is a way to engage the Community to learn about the local environment, the species that live and visit the community, and to experience Akimel O’otham and Pee Posh cultures.
“Birds are indicators in our environment, but also they are part of our culture and our traditions here in the Community,” said Walker. “(The event is about) engaging the Community environmentally, culturally, and bringing us all together…to see parts of the Community that most of us don’t get to see, and seeing birds and other wildlife in their natural setting,” she said.
“I think it is a great experience for all ages no matter if you are a beginner, never done this at all, (or are an) experienced birder,” she said.
DEQ is asking participants to travel to one of three meeting locations: District 5 at the Casa Blanca Shell Station located at Casa Blanca Road & the I-10, District 6 at the Komatke Chevron Station located at 51st Avenue & Pecos Road, and at District 7’s Service Center located at 83rd Avenue & Baseline Road. Participants are asked to meet at the site closest to them, and arrive by 7 a.m.
Each group will meet at their respective sites, separate into smaller groups, then travel to different areas of the Community where they will start the bird count. All participants will be provided with binoculars, bird books, and expertise to properly spot and record birds.
“We will have staff lead the groups, make sure everyone is comfortable, and make sure everyone has everything they need to observe the birds out in their natural setting,” said Walker.
Additionally, there will be bird counting sites specifically for elders and for those who have mobility issues. These sites are located in District 5 and District 6, and will be easier to access.
Following the bird count, participants will travel to the HHC and take part in cultural activities that range from traditional songs and dances, to a live bird exhibit, and lunch.
“Everybody is welcome and we hope you come out and enjoy this opportunity and engage yourself environmentally, culturally, and get to know more about not only the Winter Bird Count, but the Department of Environmental Quality,” said Walker.
For more information about the Winter Bird Count, contact Althea Walker at (520) 562-2234.