Migration and Immigration: Citizen Science at CLUES

Migration and Immigration: Citizen Science at CLUES

Since 2015, the Youth in Action (YA!) Program at CLUES has been involved in a partnership with the Science Museum of Minnesota and the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology to conduct a Citizen Science project called Celebrate Urban Birds.

The goal of the project is to connect people of all ages and backgrounds to the natural world through science, arts and neighborhood activities. This focus on birds doesn't obviously fit with the YA! program's traditional focus on leadership, college and career skills, and supporting youth cultural identity - but this project has helped CLUES build new partnerships that have expanded opportunities for youth participants and encouraged identity and leadership development in creative ways.

YA! connected birds and migration with immigration and incorporated bird activities into their programming – building birdhouses for local parks, making birdfeeders with community members at neighborhood festivals, service projects doing conservation work, and leading community storytelling and art projects with local artists.

But this project also connected them with other partners in Saint Paul and beyond in new ways to collaborate and share expertise. CLUES youth went to the Science Museum, and not only explored the exhibits but also were able to see behind-the-scenes collections and artifacts. YA! Program youth also connected with Urban Roots to collaborate on gardening and conservation projects, with Saint Paul Parks and Rec to participate in Urban Birding Festival activities, and partnered with Elpis Enterprises on a project making birdhouses. Each year, CLUES was also able to travel with some of their YA! program youth leaders to Cornell University to attend workshops, learn about new technology and careers in conservation, and meet researchers who have worked on projects all over the world. Last summer, youth leaders from both CLUES and the Science Museum developed workshops, teaching other youth from CLUES and ARTS-Us about birds and the environment.

Youth from CLUES also worked with local artists to create artwork, sharing their voice and their stories about migration and immigration, sharing about their families, their history, and their hopes and dreams. Together, they created paintings telling their stories, and collaborated with their community to paint them. The murals are displayed at the CLUES building on the East Side.

The YA! program is excited to continue these partnerships and bird-themed art and science projects in 2018!