As the newly appointed Education Coordinator for Keep Chadron Beautiful, I knew that I wanted to incorporate online instruction from community members about ecology and nature into our blog. One of the first people I reached out to, Dr. Mary Clai Jones, English Professor at Chadron State College, is known to both her friends and her students for her love of birdwatching. She brings just as much enthusiasm to her practice of birdwatching as she does to the classes she teaches. Please view her video, and the first of our educational series, above. You will need some colored pencils and paper to complete activities along with her.
Engaging in birdwatching offers numerous benefits. In addition to gaining a familiarity with local nature, birding serves as a form of meditation and encourages people to get outdoors and increase their activity levels. According to a recent study from the University of Exeter, birdwatching can actually reduce stress levels and improve mental and physical health: “Birds around the home, and nature in general, show great promise in preventative health care, making cities healthier, happier places to live” (Cox, Daniel). But birdwatching has the potential to go beyond the neighborhood, particularly with Chadron’s proximity to local hiking trails, Chadron State Park, and the Ogallala Grasslands.
For some additional resources on birding in Nebraska:
University of Exeter. "Watching birds near your home is good for your mental health: People living in neighborhoods with more birds, shrubs and trees are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and stress." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2017.