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BIRD Walk and Philanthropy BIRDS by BIJS

BIRDS by BIJS is back in action and in full swing ladies, gentleman, and our non-binary bird lovers!

This past sunday we had the most excellent walk to Bette Davis Picnic area in Rancho Riverside. This unique site is situated along the 134 Fwy, North of Griffith Park, and home to a variety of things.

This relatively urban location is by no means pristine, especially when it comes to the tires, shopping carts, and clothing that cling to life in the river. Despite the LA River’s obvious degradation, our walk still yielded some extraordinary birding opportunities.

Between the LA River and the Oak/Sycamore grove, we saw a whopping 40 species of birds! Some highlights along the river included a White-faced Ibis, a Green Heron, 100 Black-necked Stilts, and a couple Greater Yellowlegs.

Merlin
Black-necked Stilt

Noteworthy moments amongst the Oak-Sycamore grove yielded a pair of Merlins chasing American Crows, a Red-shouldered Hawk, and many Acorn Woodpeckers. We noticed that the Woodpeckers were using the hollow pole of the street sign as a storehouse, or granary for the acorns they were busy collecting to later consume over winter.

Acorn Woodpecker in Oak Tree

We had an amazing closing circle, and wished everyone well until our next walk at Hahamonga Watershed Preserve in Pasadena, Calfornia.

ON A MORE PERSONAL NOTE

In about a week’s time my 28th rotation around the sun will be occurring, and I couldn’t be more excited about the direction my life has taken me, and the progress I have made with BIRDS by BIJS.

BIRDS by BIJS and loyal bird walker Miguel posing after the walk!

Now I’m sure, most people know that BIRDS by BIJS is all about BIRDS, TOURS, and THREADS, but what most people don’t know about is the community involvement and philanthropic aspects of my work.

Over the past 5 months, I have been fundraising for a dear friend’s community in Nicaragua

Nicaragua! Where’s Nicaragua?? Before you get lost searching the globe for Nicaragua, here’s a map.

Located nicely between Costa Rica and Honduras.

Now back to the fundraiser ->

So I created a GoFundMe page, with a short video explaining the purpose and goal of the fundraising efforts. Folks have GENEROUSLY contributed, and so far, we have raised $1,300 of our $3,000 goal.

Now you may be thinking, wow, how cool! Nearly half-way there, but what is the project all about, and why have you been dedicating so much of your time, thoughts, and energy to this when you already have so many things your juggling??

And to answer that folks... is because I really care, and I know the work I’m doing will make a huge difference.

Why?

Because during my time living and working in Nicaragua I was exposed to the magic of community, the power of organic farming and the incredible resilience of the Nicaraguan people despite often lacking proper resources.

Live band in the streets of Boaco, the main city 35 km's from Socorro's Community
Juan Miguel, Socorro, BIRDS by BIJS, and Albert on a backpacking trip in Nicaragua circa 2015

In addition, I supported my friend Socorro as he left the economic dead zone of his rural community, and searched for work elsewhere.

His journey took him far and wide, even out of the country to Costa Rica, where he worked as a coffee farm field hand, and a parking lot attendant. Despite his concerted and dedicated efforts, it was nearly impossible to save any money.

He returned home nearly empty handed, but full of clarity.

After his nearly fruitless journey, Socorro’s interest in his local community became reignited. He transformed his home garden into a mini-farm. His insanely organized mini-farm has beautiful beds, filled with a variety of crops, and compost piles constantly making new soil.

Socorro back at home with his garden and little one
Poly-culture farming (Mixed crops that compliment one another) Like "Hi, you sure are growing nicely!"

As his community members came to check out his mini-farm, they became intrigued by the success he was having. They became eager to learn the skills needed to work towards producing organic food in their local community to feed themselves and their families.

Socorro told me he would need money to purchase seeds, tools, and fencing material, and a new submersible pump for the well, and a couple other necessities to help transform his community into a thriving agricultural haven.

Socorro finding peace in his work

So I did just that. With the help of friends and family, I was able to raise nearly half of our goal.

Last week I sent the money via WesternUnion, and Socorro and his community got to work right away.

GoFundMe Page

And to be honest folks, the progress they have made is better than any I could have ever expected. Socorro, being the leader he his, has formed a group of young men or “jovenes” who are FIRED UP about connecting with the land, and growing food for themselves and their families. Today is day two of their highly organized work parties that transform land from fallow to fuego!

Socorro has informed me “ I have about 10 young guys in the community working together. I chose teenagers because they are the leaders for the next generation here in El Balsamo. They will pass on the knowledge, skills to their families, friends and children when the time comes.”

Work party getting active!

I am so proud of Socorro, El Balsamo, and the dedication they have for uplifting their lives, and creating a thriving food-system.

“The passion was always here Benny, we just lacked the funds to get it done. You are like an angel to me and my community. I couldn’t be more grateful for your love and unwavering support of me and my people.”

Seriously, I’m not making this stuff up.

Here’s some pictures of the work they’ve accomplished.

Look at those beautiful beds!
Community leaders coming together for a positive change!

Now comes your turn. Oct 29th is my 28th birthday, and it would mean the world to me if you could contribute to this GoFundMe so we can bless this community out with the rest of the money they need to get it done!

So please, go to this link and make some dreams come true!

Thanks for reading this far, and being an active participant in my life, the lives of those you may not know, and your own.

Cheers to changing lives and bettering the world one step at a time!

Created By
Benny Jacobs-Schwartz
Appreciate

Credits:

BIRDS BY BIJS and Socorro Raudez

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