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Alex Douglas-Kane shares her experiences and understanding of Discover Nature Awareness

Friday, 13 July 2012

Inner City Kids and Bird Language

I am soon to start a programme working with young adults from the inner city. I have been giving a great deal of thought on how to work with them. I have been looking at ways of taking them on a journey ending in a rites of passage, by employing varying methods like hunting, drumming, sit-spot and so on, mostly traditional type of approaches.

However, I am always looking for different ways of approaching things. For several reasons one of which is by trying different ideas I know from my own experience by doing this, it opens you up to other possibilities, which is something I talk about in my Discover Nature Awareness books.

After attending an Intense Bird Language course in the states I began to consider the possibility of using bird language as a means of connecting with the kids. I have a few ideas on how to do this which of course includes the awesome sit-spot.

I even thought maybe there is a way of getting them to connect with the birds through rap, drumming and dance, which they take ownership of and create themselves. I have no idea how this would play out. I tend to let things evolve which means I must pay attention to events as they unfold and be in the moment to and aware of my own creativity, of course I must also follow certain guidelines as well.

Then I got an insight of how it might play out. I was reading chapter four the Sit-spot in Jon Young’s book ‘What the Robin Knows’. Jon talks about a young man’s experience of birds and his sit-spot. At first the young man does not see any birds due to his level of awareness and noise making as he approaches his sit-spot to by the end of the year he is talking about how a Bewick’s Wren is in dispute with another wren, and from this he was able to say where the boundaries of their territory’s where.

It might sound like I am plugging Jon’s book. We’ll let me tell you I am. It is rare that I read a book or attend a workshop where I agree with everything that is being discussed because I like to question and explore, and I still do this with Jon but in  new way one that feels inspirational. I have been birding since I was eleven and while I knew about and have experienced many of the things Jon talks about. None the less Jon brings a new and refreshing look at the world of birds and our relationship with them, from doing a group sit-spot to giving us an insight on how he worked with and experienced young adults and their relationship with birds over a 12 month period.

I am feeling excited by the prospect of working with the young adults and who knows they may get to a stage were they can tell if danger is approaching their area through their new found relationship with birds, or they may find a new way of communicating with each other, perhaps through dance, or song?

In other words their new understanding may allow them to explore their area through new eyes; it may even lead them to new discoveries about themselves.

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