One of the best ways to highlight the amazing natural resources work that is being done at military installations throughout the world is to host periodic events. These events are an amazing opportunity for outreach to the local community, but also an opportunity to provide “inreach” to installation staff including service members and their families. These opportunities can be in conjunction with local events or as part of established regional or nationwide initiatives. Some examples are:
DoD PIF Backyard Bird Blitz
Image created by Jacky Ferrer-Perez (DoD PIF)
DoD PIF initiated the Backyard Bird Blitz in spring 2020 as a way to escape quarantine fever and appreciate spring migration. We repeated our efforts last year to even greater success. This activity is now an annual event that brings us together to appreciate the phenomenon of spring migration and to pay attention to what is in our own backyards. We are excited to begin our third iteration of this blitz on Sunday, 10 April 2022. We hope this event again spurs friendly birding competition! Can you make it into the top ten backyards?
Last year’s numbers are below. Let’s see if we can outdo ourselves this spring!
- 88 Participants
- 4 Countries (USA, Italy, Sweden, England)
- 24 States, plus DC and Guam
- 462 Species Overall
- High Count for Single Backyard – 105
- All Military Services and USACE competed
The timing is ideal, as migrants are starting to filter into some of our backyard habitats and move to their respective breeding grounds.
The parameters are simple:
- 1. Generate a SINGLE species list between 10 April and 30 May. You may wish to use the attached PDF for tallying your observations.
- 2. Birds that can be included are those either seen or heard from your residence (e.g., through a window, or from your yard).
- 3. Do not include species from trips to a park, etc. outside of your own property boundaries.
- 4. Please do not bird on official government time or allow this to interfere with official government work. Weekends, lunchtime, and early morning/late evenings are preferred times.
- 5. Consider making this a family activity! Also consider entering your observations on eBird.
- 6. At any time within the time window in #1, submit ONE consolidated list to Elizabeth Neipert (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the electronic EXCEL submission form attached, by 03 June
- 7. DoD PIF will compile and release the results.
We also extended the end date in order to give our northern friends a fair chance for migrants in their backyards.
Please follow us at https://www.facebook.com/dodpif/. We will also be posting more information about the DoD Backyard Bird Blitz on our Facebook page including weekly challenges and highlighting participant photos (for you photography bugs, please submit high quality images for posting to our Facebook page!).
National Public Lands Day
National Public Lands Day, coordinated by the National Environmental Education Foundation, is the largest single-day volunteer effort for America’s public lands. Each year, hundreds of thousands of volunteers come together on the fourth Saturday in September to assist with various projects designed to restore and enhance public parks, forests, waterways and more. From trail maintenance to tree planting—volunteers of all ages and abilities roll up their sleeves and work side-by-side to care for public lands. Legacy grants are available to DoD installations to provide financial support for projects. For more information, visit www.neefusa.org/npld.
World Migratory Bird Day
World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD), the signature program of Environment for the Americas, is the only international education program that highlights and celebrates the migration of nearly 350 species of migratory birds between nesting habitats in North America and non-breeding grounds in Latin America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Each year WMBD explores a different aspect of migratory birds and their conservation. While the official date for WMBD in the United States is the second Saturday in May each year, this is not always the best time for you or the birds. For participants to the south, migratory birds may have already passed through. To the north, this date may be too early. We encourage you to host a program, event, or festival when birds are present and when it best suits your schedule! Bird day is every day! For more information, visit www.birdday.org.
Endangered Species Day
Normally held on the third Friday of May each year, Endangered Species Day is an opportunity for people of all ages to learn about the importance of protecting endangered species and everyday actions they can take to help protect them. Multiple organizations support this effort through education programs, art contests, and volunteer opportunities. For more information, visit www.endangered.org.
Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, it now includes events in more than 190 countries. Future core components of Earth Day include food sustainability, citizen science, volunteering, education, and advocacy. For more information, visit www.earthday.org.