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Members of Outdoor Afro stand in a semi circle reflecting on the bird walk.

There is an often overlooked joy to the process of discovery, of learning and understanding, and of creating a deeper connection to the “extraordinary ordinary.” Birds are everywhere, coming in all shapes, sizes, and forms. And in all manner of propriety. Take for instance the screaming blue jays at 6:15am, or the chattering hummingbirds blissful in a bird bath on an August morning.

The connections we can make in nature are an essential part of developing that sense of care, that sense of earnestness to be stewards of it. Yet, we must recognize that not everyone can make these connections, and this is especially true for people and communities of color.

We speak of diversity and inclusion, but how do we embody it? As part of CLCC’s pilot program Bird and Hike with CT Land Trusts, Salem Land Trust’s David Bingham and CLCC’s Yaw Darko, cohosted a bird walk with Outdoor Afro – New Haven & Hartford, led by Ashley Stewart. Supported by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Small Grants Program, CLCC’s goal is to provide Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and other underserved communities with opportunities for guided birding and hiking on land trust properties.

As stated earlier, birds are everywhere, but how often do we take time to observe, to ponder, and to simply appreciate their extraordinary nature. Through this program, participants did just that. What better way to pave a path for new conservation leaders and stewards of the land than to have them at the heart of what the land conservation community can achieve.

If interested in being a part of this program, please contact me: yodarko@ctconservation.org.

Yaw Owusu Darko
Project Specialist
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