A decade ago, WorldBeat Center embarked on a meaningful journey of collaborating with the Celebrate Urban Birds project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a venture that later extended into two national projects generously funded by the National Science Foundation. This profound collaboration held a special place in our hearts, as it allowed us to work with children in the realm of citizen science.

The first project had a strong focus on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, emphasizing partnerships with community-based organizations and informal science institutions. Our collective efforts sought to break barriers and promote science accessibility. The second project revolved around community-based organizations co-leading an initiative aimed at addressing the pervasive issue of noise pollution and its impact on wellness.

In our own backyard of San Diego, we played a pivotal role in researching plant communication and identifying urban gardens, including our cherished WorldBeat Center’s Peace Garden, as Noise Refuge spaces. A fascinating exploration into the world of plant music added an exciting dimension to our work.

This year, we had the privilege of returning to the Heirloom Expo’s Children’s Hall. There, we had the wonderful opportunity to share citizen science resources with families and educators, courtesy of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Our offerings included an array of resources, from books and bird sounds to bird kits. We also shared insights on how to initiate a seed library, a topic that resonated deeply with students and families who were eager to bring these possibilities back to their own communities.

One of the highlights of the event was our first-ever African Drum circle for families, led by the talented Dramane Kone. The rhythmic beats of the drums filled the air, and participants were enchanted by this immersive experience. Farmer Dale and our new Climate Action Fellow, Dahlia, also spearheaded a range of engaging activities. These included creating seed mandalas, crafting seed flower bombs, and putting together seed packets. The enthusiasm and creativity of the attendees were truly inspiring.

As we reflect on this decade-long journey of working with children in citizen science, we are filled with gratitude for the amazing projects we’ve been a part of and the incredible individuals who have joined us in these endeavors. With eager anticipation, we look forward to the opportunities and adventures that the coming years will bring, as we continue to nurture a love for science and exploration in the hearts of young minds. See you next year!