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Ambassador Program - on Zoom - Red Rock Audubon

Volunteer to become a Red Rock Audubon Ambassador!

17 Attendees
Event Type: Educational Event
Open to Non-members: Yes
Members Price: $0
Non-members Price: $0
Start Time: 03/12/2024 06:30 PM
End Time: 03/12/2024 08:00 PM

Location: Virtual Event


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Registration Closed

The Ambassador Program

Who is ready to make a difference for birds and their habitats in Southern Nevada? If you are frantically waving at the screen saying “that’s me” over and over, then this program is for you!

The first ever Red Rock Audubon Ambassador Program is an intensive and focused program for community members wanting to make effective and positive contributions to the people, wildlife, and urban habitats in Southern Nevada. This is for self-motivated people that see problems around them, but may not have the connections, resources, skills, or background to be as effective as they know they could be. If you can envision yourself visiting parks to talk about the importance of wetlands, about Burrowing Owls at the owl preserve, or working with your community to make it safer for birds, then the program may be just what you need.

You don’t need to be an expert on birds or plants to become an ambassador. We do think there are things that you need to know to prepare you to have more confidence and clarity. We decided that that would take six meetings over six weeks to prepare the group, with each meeting lasting for about 90 minutes each. Creating meaningful change requires thinking big, people skills, having some background, and learning about the other change makers in your community. It also means focusing, splitting up tasks, and playing like a team.

This is how it will run: we will begin with three sessions, and all ambassadors are expected to make these. From there, we start our three tracks. Each track focuses on different ways to be an ambassador: Bird Friendly Community, Wetlands or Parks, and specific bird species at sites. It's okay if you have to miss a session, we will record each session and ask that you watch the recording. All sessions are on Zoom. 

Register here to start learning about the Ambassador campaign. This is good for registering for the three introductory courses and any or all of the tracks. If you cannot make the program upon registration, please unregister so that someone else on a waiting list can.

What’s in it for you?

By the end, you’ll not only have learned a lot, but you’ll have worked with experts and gained confidence in your ability to connect with people in a greater effort to keep the natural world vibrant. You’ll be part of our growing community, and we will offer four expert-led natural history and birding trips to thank you beginning in April, May, and the summer.

Cost and obligations

The program is cost free because Red Rock Audubon is sponsoring it for you, and we are only taking 20 people. What we ask is that you make the four days total. We ask that you make the first three classes and then any one of the remaining three tracks. You can do two or all three if you’d like. In return, we want to get your help by giving us six hours of your time in 2024.

Day 1 – March 12 – Introduction to the program

We will start by getting to know one another. You’ll see a presentation from Alex about big picture themes and patterns in the Mojave Desert. This will help us see together why we decided to prioritize the tracks that will follow on days 4, 5, and 6.

General flow:

  • Meet the program leaders, Alex Harper and Morrigan DeVito
  • Introductions with Ambassadors
  • Presentation: Birds of Las Vegas and the Mojave
  • Discuss general and local threats to birds
  • Goalsetting – we will review how this all fits into a broader strategy

The following is a description of the rest of the series. 

Day 2 – March 19 – Civics 101 in Southern Nevada

Southern Nevada is managed by a patchwork of land managers and government agencies. This means that our birds are affected differently as they move through the region. This evening we will talk about Clark County’s sustainability and climate plan from Olivia Burns and about the historic and current decision making when it comes to environment and birds from John Hiatt. By the end, you’ll learn more about who manages land that has bird habitat, about our partners and how we work with them, and more about how government in Southern Nevada works to make change at a political level. It’s helpful to know what your options are, and eventually
grassroots efforts can lead to working with government.

General flow:

  • Intro to public lands and agencies
  • Panel with Olivia and John on regional conservation
  • Time for discussion

Day 3 – March 26 – Talking to Strangers and Getting Them Excited

It doesn’t matter how significant the data is and what it means for you, birds, and humanity. If there is no emotional connection to be made, then the information means little. The good news is that it is easy for people to connect with birds. All we need sometimes is for someone like you to help someone else notice. This class will be led by Morrigan. Morrigan will show us how to invite strangers to us and how we can open up conversations about birds and habitats. We imagine ambassadors greeting visitors the first pond at the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve to talk about the importance of wetlands and creating habitat for birds, at Gilchrist Orchards with a scope set up on owls during orchard season, and friendly ambassadors with well-presented tables at children’s events. However you see yourself as an ambassador, if you represent Red Rock Audubon, then we want to make sure that you are prepared. And when you are prepared, it’s very fun!

General flow:

  • Tabling presentation and resources
  • Body language, communication skills
  • Effective interpretation and presentations
  • Preparation: reducing stress and going for impact
  • Discussion
  • That’s it for the main course, and we will see you at one, two, or all three tracks

Day 4 – April 2 – Bird Friendly Community – Track One

Tamarisk, climate change, water consumption, native plants, cats, lights, windows strikes… and in case you didn’t hear, bread is not good for ducks and geese. There is a lot out there that affects birds, and some are not that common sense. Instead of getting dizzy from everything going on, we know that it’s best to focus on what interests us the most, how much effort is needed from us while making the most impact.

Fortunately, a community that is healthy for birds is healthy for people. When we focus on bringing birds into neighborhoods while showing people how they can help birds, the connection becomes clear. This class is about identifying threats to birds and creating safer habitats for them. We will be joined by members of our Bird Friendly Community committee.

General flow:

  • Urban oasis effect of Las Vegas
  • Bird migration and the connectedness across states and countries
  • General threats to birds, including climate change, habitat loss, and pollution
  • Success stories: we hear about conservation stories to learn lessons
  • Threats that you can do something about today
  • Discussion
  • Setting you up; we will tell you how we will resource you and make things as easy as
    possible to start

Day 5 – April 9 - Wetlands and Parks – Track Two

Most of the parks that we visit for birds have water, and some of them contain wetlands. Parks like Clark County Wetlands and the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve are the two most visited wetlands and parks for people looking to experience nature. That is why we created a wetlands and park track; we think that we can position ourselves in the places where people are going to see birds and share with them a bit about why the park is so attractive to birds.

Today, we will talk about the science of wetlands, and give some historic on parks like Floyd Lamb, Cornerstone, Craig Ranch, and Sunset Park. We will share with you some of the proven places for engagement, like the mesquite groves, or pond 1 area of Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve. When we show people how valuable these parks are to birds at the same time that the importance of birds is revealed to them, magic happens.

General flow:

  • Introduction to the main parks – history and interpretive opportunities
  • The Science and Biodiversity of Wetlands – a presentation
  • Discussion
  • Setting you up; we will tell you how we will resource you and make things as easy as
    possible to start

Day 6 – April 15 – Specific birds – Track Three

Hummingbirds, hawks, owls, woodpeckers, and any nesting bird just grab people’s attention. No matter the exposure to bird, these are some of the birds that excite people the most. One of the biggest opportunities that we rarely make the most of is setting up a scope by a nesting bird at a respectable distance.

During this class, we will talk about using the skills learned on day three and combining them with skills for talking about specific birds. We see ambassadors positioned at the Killdeer colony at Cornerstone welcoming walkers to learn about how Killdeers feign injury to protect nests, at the Gilchrist Orchard showing kids Burrowing Owls while telling their parents about the history of the owl preserve nearby, the Cliff Swallow colony at Arroyo Grande, at hummingbird feeders to talk about native plants, and more!

General flow:

  • Species profiles: Burrowing Owls, Cliff Swallows, kestrels, hawks, Killdeer, and hummingbirds
  • How to bring people in to watch birds while inspiring wildlife viewing ethics
  • Setting you up; we will tell you how we will resource you and make things as easy as possible to start

What’s next?

Following the program, we will work with you to make sure that you are resourced, prepared, and ready to do what interests you the most as an ambassador.

The lead for the Ambassador Program is our education specialist, Alex Harper. Email him at alexharper@redrockaudubon.com to learn more.

About your instructors

One of your instructors is Alex Harper. Alex is our lead educator and interpretive naturalist. His interest in birds began when he was a kid growing up in South Florida. At fourteen, he was directed to the Tropical Audubon in Miami, and mentors taught him about migration, plants, and ecosystems. With a passion for conservation, teaching, and exploration, he got an undergrad in Environmental Science and immediately began traveling for field jobs around the
country. Among his work experiences includes conducting avian point counts, hawk watches, directing programs for middle school students at nontraditional schools, and guiding with focuses on natural history in Brazil, Alaska, Baja, and throughout the United States.

Morrigan DeVito is one of our instructors for the program. Morrigan DeVito grew up in Henderson and became more involved with our chapter two years ago when she became a service member through AmeriCorps after receiving her B.A in English and Communications from Southern Utah University. She came into the position with a desire to reach people that we had not yet connected with. Since then, she has become so much more than her position suggests. Morrigan leads birding outings with a mindful approach, organizes our newsletters, writes for our blog and for outside publications, and creates and implements curriculums for kids, teens, and adults.

 


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