Working With What You Got
Be Exhaustive and Imaginative
Public Space and Interaction
Public spaces allow people to meet on ostensibly neutral ground in planned and unplanned ways, to interact with others within the context of the whole community. … When referring to the social constructions or representations of such spaces, the term ‘place’ is used. https://humanecology.ucdavis.edu/sites/g/files/dgvnsk161/files/inline-files/ROrmachea.pdf
The Site- Barry Curtis Park
Barry Curtis Park is a giant piece of public infrastructure embedded into land with a town centre growing slowly around it. The park is inspired by natural and cultural patterns, such as volcanic geology, historical pā and defensive fortifications, and the stone walls and planting of the farms that once occupied the site.
The overall plan of the 94-hectare park, which, eventually will be closely linked with the Ormiston town centre (by others). A promenade extends around the perimeter of the site, connecting different areas of the park and providing a circuit for exercise. Interior path networks have been plotted carefully to follow the contours of the landscape.
1. Cultural Axis;
2. Educational Axis;
3. Wetland Playspace;
5. Festival Lawn;
7. Signature Gardens;
8. Stream corridor;
9. Constructed ponds and wetlands.
Barry Curtis protects Bringing people together Preserves habitat
At Barry Curtis Park, the modified landscapes of Tāmaki Makaurau have provided rich source material for a new Auckland landscape. Here, new uses and possibilities have been carefully orchestrated through the interplay of subtly manipulated and exaggerated landforms, layered natural and cultural patterns and vegetation – all work together to create an overarching sense of ‘place’.
The ecological rehabilitation of watercourses within the park, degraded by years of farming, and the creation of wide, planted corridors along them has improved water quality, created freshwater and riparian habitat, and opened up recreational networks that connect with the wider area. Local communities and businesses helped to establish the eco-sourced planting along the streams, with planting days used as a way of offsetting their carbon footprints. Schools were consulted on how monitoring and observation of streams within the park could be used as an educational resource.
Positional Statement: Iteration 1
As a designer, I am passionate about the psychology of design. I am interested in the emotional decisions undertaken in a space and how spaces affect the way users feel and experience a space.
The temporary in design is a curious concept as it can provoke emotion and social interaction, for a short period of time, before it disappears as if it was never there. There is power in temporary design which can not be found in the permanent. Temporality allows for some “wiggle room” where things can be tweaked or modified through the design process as one observes, adapts, and participates. Temporality even allows us to see errors in our designs which help us get closer to design solutions.
I would like to be more expansive with my observations and push the boundaries with how myself as the designer can change the way people feel and act in a social, public space, making the space and experience more memorable. How can strangers share common behaviours; how can I make them more curious of a space, interacting, and sharing a fun and memorable experience to brighten their day?
From the observations and documentations I made which emerged from the Botany Night Market, my interest and curiosity pushed me into a different area of social interaction in a public space. The Night Markets led me to the realization that participants of the space weren’t challenged, or curious. There was little interaction with the space itself as participants were mainly gathering to meet family and friends. The Markets had me observe family, gathering, interacting, exchanging food, eating, socializing, which was all too comfortable. People kept to their “bubble” as they enjoyed the vibrant, lively atmosphere but with little interaction of it. I think what makes an experience memorable is with interaction and participation of a space.
I have decided to shift my interest to a park as it gives people more freedom to roam and rove around. There is power and impact in strangers participating and getting closer to my proposed intervention in a big and open space. In addition, it is part of our human nature to feel happier and more energised in the outdoors so I’m hoping to get more people socialising, talking, and participating with my intervention in a space that gives people more freedom. I want to inspire people, to get outside of their comfort zone, open their doors to creativity and to be kinder to others.
- Inspire interaction with the park for a memorable experience
- Allow people to have some fun (not to take themselves too seriously)
- Encourage social interaction between peers and strangers through the common interest of my intervention
- Learn from the power in temporary design in a social space (what did and didn’t work)
Feedback from Statement:
I was told that my intentions and boundaries for this project was too broad and wasn’t site specific enough. At this stage I hadn’t chosen which park I was doing exactly as I wanted to go out and observe what occurred and different parks and how they are different from one another. At this stage we were in alert level 3 therefore I was unable to experiment and make the best judgement.
After further thought and reflection I thought I should choose a park within close proximity to Botany to further expand my observations of the community from part one. Therefore, I have chosen to intervene within Barry Curtis Park; one of the largest parks in Auckland which was recently developed in the suburb of Flat Bush East Auckland.
Five Proposals: Before teacher and peer feedback
Final Five Proposals Presentation after Feedback
Chosen Intervention: Proposal 5 – The Local Bird Lady
I chose the local bird lady as my intervention as it suggested direct action of project purpose to celebrate the bird life and surrounding environment of the park. In addition, it was the only proposal which involved my full pa5ticipation. I knew I could learn a lot from this intervention as i would have to have a lot of participation and involvement in the space which would allow me to observe and learn from my site as i would be visiting often.
Importance of Birds in our Ecosystem
Birds are important members of many ecosystems. They play a vital role in controlling pests, acting as pollinators, and maintaining island ecology. In addition, birds are important to humans in many ways, such as serving as a source of food and providing fertilizer in agricultural settings.
Native birds interacting with the flora in our ecosystems have a mutualistic relationship – that is, they both benefit from the relationship. While the bird receives nectar or fruit (in the form of berries) from the tree it visits, the tree benefits by having another organism carry out the process of pollination or seed dispersal. Many native trees cannot perform these processes without the intervention of birds. Birds are the primary pollinators and seed dispersers in New Zealand native bush.
Birds pollinate plants
When we think pollinators, bees and butterflies flutter to mind – but bird pollinators such as hummingbirds and honeyeaters also make a big contribution, especially in high altitudes or hot climates. In South Africa, for instance, nearly a quarter of Salvia species are bird-pollinated. Such flowers are lacking in scent, since birds favour sight over smell. Their role as pollinators benefits us directly – around 5% of the plants humans use for food or medicine are pollinated by birds. And when they disappear, the results can be drastic: 31 species of Hawaiian bellflowers appear to have gone extinct along with the birds that pollinated them.
Flax (Phormium tenax), kōwhai (Sophora microphylla), northern and southern rātā (Metrosideros robusta and Metrosideros umbellate) and tree fuchsia (Fuchsia excorticata) are New Zealand native trees all pollinated by birds. Our native birds are attracted to the flowers of these trees and carry pollen from flower to flower on their beaks as they seek nectar, pollinating flora as they move.
In New Zealand, birds are important pollinators. The honeyeater family consisting of tūī (Prosthermadera novaeseelandiae), bellbirds (Anthornis melanura) and silvereyes (Zosterops lateralis) perform the majority of pollination by all birds in our native bush. Two native species of mistletoe (Peraxilla spp.) require the finely refined beaks of tūī or bellbirds to tweak open their flowers and allow pollination to occur.
Birds Control Pests
A recent study has shown that birds eat 400-500 million tons of insects a year. In China, two-thirds of the diet of House Swift Apus nipalensis consists of agricultural pests, and in forests across the Americas, Evening Grosbeak Hesperiphona vespertina becomes a superhero during outbreaks of Spruce Budworm, providing biological control worth $1,820 per square kilometer. Birds are so efficient that nest boxes have become a pest control practice throughout Europe.
Birds are nature’s clean-up crew
The sight of vultures circling overhead may look foreboding, but it is both their speed of arrival (typically within an hour of death), and their thoroughness which makes them so valuable. It could be days before other less efficient scavengers, such as feral dogs or rats, arrive to pick at the remains, allowing deadly diseases such as rabies and tuberculosis to develop and spread. Over its lifetime, a single vulture provides waste disposal services worth around US$11,600. Following the collapse of Asia’s vultures, India’s feral dog population surged by 5.5 million, spreading rabies and leading to an estimated 47,300 human deaths.
Birds spread seeds
When birds travel, they take the seeds they have eaten with them and disperse them through their droppings. They bring plants back to ecosystems that have been destroyed, and even carry plants across the sea to new land masses. Birds have helped to shape the plant life we see around us – and around the world. In New Zealand’s forests, 70% of the plants have seeds dispersed by birds such as Tui Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae. An even greater duty is borne by Micronesian Imperial-pigeon Ducula oceanica; as one of the largest birds in the Palau archipelago: it is one of the main seed dispersers across the entire island chain.
Over 70% of plants in our woody forest in New Zealand have fleshy fruit. Many seeds located within these fruits have coats that must be weakened by chemicals as they pass through the digestive system of another organism. Native plants are dependent on birds for successful seed dispersal and regeneration. Once a seed has passed through the digestive tract of a bird, it will often be dropped far away from the host tree’s location, enabling the tree to potentially colonise a new area. As many of our native birds are now confined to small predator-proof mainland sites or offshore islands, what might the future hold for our native flora, which is so dependent on this process?
In New Zealand forests, only 12 species of bird have been responsible for the majority of tree seed dispersal, but many are now extinct:
- Extinct – piopio (Turnagra capensis), 2 species of moa with small gizzard stones (Euryapteryx spp.), huia (Heteralocha acutirostris)
- Confined to predator-proof mainland sites or offshore islands – saddleback (Philesturnus carunculatus), hihi (Notiomystis cincta), kōkako (Callaeas cinerea), whitehead (Mohoua albicilla)
- Present on the mainland – tūī (Prosthermadera novaeseelandiae), bellbird (Anthornis melanura), kererū (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae), weka (Gallirallus australis).
Birds transform entire landscapes
Habitats like forests, marshes and grasslands affect people across the whole planet, even those living hundreds of miles away – they store carbon, keep the climate stable, oxygenate the air and transform pollutants into nutrients. But without birds, many of these ecosystems may not exist. Birds maintain the delicate balance between plant and herbivore, predator and prey. A perfect example is the salt marshes of south-eastern USA, where cordgrass thrives, filtering local water and protecting the coast from sea erosion. The Salt Marsh Periwinkle Littoraria irrorata grazes upon cordgrass with gusto, and were it not for predators such as oystercatchers, curlews and plovers, these tiny snails would devour the entire marsh leaving only mudflats.
Birds keep coral reefs alive
Birds, especially seabirds, play a key role in cycling nutrients and helping to fertilise marine ecosystems such as coral reefs. Seabirds travel hundreds of kilometres to feed out in the ocean – and when they return, they deposit layers of highly pungent guano (seabird droppings) at their colonies. This guano leaches into the ocean and fertilises nearby communities such as coral reefs. A study on the Chagos Islands shows what happens when this process is disrupted. On islands free of invasive seabird predators, coral reefs thrived, with fish growing larger and faster for their age, compared to rat-infested islands.
Birds inspire science
From the technology of flight, to the invention of zippers modelled on the barbules of feathers, humans have drawn inspiration from birds for centuries. Some of these advances have been huge: Darwin’s studies of finches in the Galápagos proved instrumental in shaping his thoughts on evolution through natural selection. But birds play a more important role than just giving us ideas. Birds are the messengers that tell us about the health of the planet. Birds are widespread and respond quickly to changes in the environment. Because of this, they are our early-warning system for pressing concerns such as climate change.
In addition, New Zealand native birds have a key role in the pollination and seed dispersal of our native flora. Birds are essential to ensure the future of our native bush ecosystem in generations to come.
Ask any urban person what type of animal they see on a daily basis and the response will likely be “birds”. Whether it is their increased mobility due to flight compared to other animals, or a particular ability to adapt to changes in the environment, certain species of birds live in relatively high densities in human-dominated landscapes. Indeed, some species apparently thrive in urban habitats. The connection between birds and human settlements is not a recent one. For example, the house sparrow (Passer domesticus) is estimated to have begun its commensal relationship with humans between 400,000 and 10,000 years ago in the Middle East (Anderson 2006). Despite this ancient connection between people and birds the reciprocal nature of our interactions is just beginning to be investigated (e.g. Marzluff and Angell 2005).
Birds are important components of the world’s many ecosystems, and they contribute cultural, provisioning, supporting, and regulating ecosystem services. The lives of birds and humans have been intertwined for many thousands of years. Birds inspire, entertain, feed, and clothe humans. Throughout the evolution of modern humans and the cultural development of our societies, birds clearly matter. Cultural and provisioning services accrue directly – these services are themselves products. Bird art and bird eggs, for instance, are commodities –they may be bought and sold (or bartered). Regulating and supporting services, in contrast, accrue indirectly – not themselves commodities, they instead they help maintain other components of the world’s ecosystems upon which humans depend for both goods (food, shelter) and services (disease management; pest control). These indirect services facilitate other ecosystem services, and therefore promote biodiversity. To maintain the many ecosystem services provided by birds, we need to conserve them. The financial costs of conservation appear great, perhaps even insurmountable. Nonetheless, the capital to fund conservation exists. It is up to those of us who value birds, and the rest of nature, to urge governments and citizens of the world to find the will.
Bird Lady Intervention Preparation
Before I could start performing my intervention I needed some materials first. I went to Mitre 10 in Flat Bush to buy bird seeds. I bought two bags from two different brands to see if the kind i used made a difference with attracting the birds around the Barry Curtis. Both of these were for wild birds so I ensured I was targeting the right species.
As for my outfit I wanted to wear something that would draw attention to me so people enjoying the park would notice me and my acvtion of feeding the birds. I was considering gouign down the ‘craxy bird lady’ route by dressing up in a large black coat, topped with a scarf and hat, however this didnt meet the season adn wheather. I would have been too hot. I was unsure of how much attention I would draw with such an outfit.
I found an old oversized yellow raincoat from my dad’s garage. It wasnt the prettiest thing but it was bright and colourful that I would definitly stand out in the park. The yellow raincoat also compliemets the kowhai trees which are scattered throughout the park which the tuis enjoyed feeding from.
This outfit reminded me of the character Coraline Jones. Coraline is a dark fantasy children’s novella by British author Neil Gaiman, published in 2002 by Bloomsbury and Harper Collins. Coraline is a young explorer. She is curious, intelligent, resourceful, and courageous. Coraline is often irritated by rain, crazy grown-ups (as they all seem to be), and not being taken seriously because of her young age. She is shown to wear a yellow raincoat paired with yellow shin-high rain boots and loose denim jeans. This outfit is usually worn when she is outside exploring the garden.
Coraline Jones clay model from Tim Burton’s movie | My outfit
Intervention Day 1
Monday 7th September, 10am – 12:00pm
The first day of feeding the birds at Barry Curtis Park was an interesting experience. It was a windy and cloudy day and the park was far more quite than I expected. There were a few sporadic parents with their toddlers on a walk, and individuals walking their dogs. I saw a man on a run, and there were a good handful of people sitting in their cars at the main carpark, hiding from the wind.
On this day I discovered that most 0f the birds at Barry Curtis are quite afraid of people. I thought this would be a major problem if I were to get others involved in feeding them. I suppose with such a large area of land you would want to avoid people. This was incomplete contrast with my experience of urban birds. The duck pond I have near my house is always welcome to visitors and food. The birds I have come across in Albert Park are also fearless. I have had a few occasions where I fed the birds there which would land on my arms and feed from my hand. This is the kind of experience I was hoping to stimulate for the community in Flat Bush. I made new insights about these birds and studies/learnt about their behavior on my first visit of intervening.
My two initial problems:
- Not enough people at the park on a weekday
- Birds at this park are too afraid of people to have direct social interaction between man and feathered friend
I had to think of solutions to overcome these obstacles.
Observations + Actions
I first went to the park bench i had initially planned on feeding the birds. I thought this consistency might bring about familiarity to the birds and people who spot me if they come to the park regularly. After discovering the birds wouldn’t come near me when I stated throwing the seeds, I decided to scatter them on the bench and ground around it, as well as the ground around the park. I thought if the birds got a taste of the seeds here they would eventually get familiar with me and wouldn’t be as scared. This would probably take at least a month for the birds to gain a level of trust with a specific person, or it may even be impossible to achieve this.
The birds around this area of the park were mainly black birds and sparrows. At the Barry Curtis wetland playground there was a tui eating nectar from the flower of the kowhai trees planted around here. This tui didn’t seem to be afraid of me and i could get quite close to him, getting cool shots and videos. This was quite a magical moment. I found the blue coat of this bird very pretty, the songs he was singing and the way he was jumping between branches, reaching his beak in the flowers. I believe this little guy didn’t need any of my seeds to be satisfied with the abundance of this tree throughout the park which is awesome.
I found some spots around the park where I could leave small piles of bird seeds, and when I come back to the park I could continue to do this.
Another spot of the park I made sure to visit on the first day was the wetlands pond which has a path running through it. On this day I found a few ducks and a couple of pukekos. The ducks were too scared to feed from me but the pukekos were braver and came closer to me on the shallow edges where i was throwing the seeds.
Intervention Day 2
Tuesday 8th September, 11:00 am – 1:00pm
On the second day of my intervention there still wasn’t much luck with the amount of people at the park and the lack interaction I was able to have with the birds. I decided to visit the park an hour after the previous day to hopefully get the lunchtime rush of people flooding in to the park. However i dont think the quantity of people changes muxch so I spent my time observing the behavior of the birds and getting them interested in the wild bird seed i was scattering. I visited the same spots to place piles of seeds. I noticed that after i left these spots i had birds coming in to feed, but only when no one was around.
I felt the action of throwing the seeds in the air fun and freeing. I particularly liked the sound the seeds made when hitting the ground. The sound and rhythm changed on different surfaces i.e. on gravel compared with concrete and onto the surface of the water in the ponds.
I re-visited the playrgound to investigate if the tui bird from day 1 was still hanging about. much to my suprise there were two of them eating nectar from the same tree.
I walked around the large park a bit more and spotted a group of four kowhai trees with even more tuis there! There was a bush very close by and I could hear the intensity of tui bird song.
At the wetlands pond I saw new birds which were different to day one. The pukekos weren’t there when I got there however I attracted them when I started scattering my seeds again. It took them a while to come out from the long grass. Their peculiar feet would stretch over the tall grass giving them balance and flexibility to tread over interesting bushy terrain. I found this quite fascinating and amusing to watch.
A Little Road Trip
Wednesday 9th – Friday 11th September
I was unable to visit Barry Curtis the rest of the week day as I went away to Whale Bay for two nights with my boyfriend which is about 40 mins north of Whangarei on the North Island. We went freedom camping, sleeping in the car and cooking on a portable gas BBQ. I had never been to Whale before but it was magical. There is plenty of signage in this area which indicate that Kiwi live around the area in the bush. Whale bay is a beach which you have to walk 25 mins down to from the main road. Along this walk I encountered some peculiar trees which were eaten by termites on the insight but till growing and flourishing. On this little bushwalk I also heard the most amazing collection of bird songs. I could identify any birds associated to their sound apart from the tui but i could hear the sheer power of wild birds in the thick of the New Zealand bush.
I also observed a bird trail of foot prints on the soft white sand at Mangawhai heads. I followed this trail, observing the pattern as it swerved left and right, over rocks and finally into the ocean. I was enjoying the observations I was making as I wouldn’t usually take notice of such happening and documentations of the presence of New Zealand birds.
Intervention Day 3
Saturday 12th September, 11:30am – 1:30pm
On Saturday I had higher hopes that the park would be filled with more people. I was right! It was a sunny day with a few clouds in the sky and everyone was out. The playground was packed with families and children running around. It was noisy and the atmosphere felt in stark contrast to the quiet, windy, cloudy, gloomy looking days when i went on Monday and Tuesday.
The behavior of the birds were still the same. There were very timid. They seem to all flee to the same tree when i went back to the bench with the gravel walkways. I also observed some a group of sparrows bathing in the dirt by the park. These birds did seem to be more confuident in fleei g wuitckly when people walked past, only to retyrn when they thought it was safe to do so.
I was still unsure how i’d tgte people involved. I drew some attebtion on this day because my yellow raincoat ddint suit the weather. I felt i looked the part of the local bird lady with my bag of seeds. I tried throwing the seeds around when people were looking at me but the ractions of most were unitnterested. I knew i needed to think deeper on engaging with park goers.
When I visited the Barry Curtis Park on Saturday, I saw female duck who was especially protective of her habitat. She started squawking at me to scare me off. I recorded her doing this and when i played it back she started responding to her own call from my phone. This was a cool moment but i didn’t want to scare her anymore as it sounded like i was calling back to her in a threatening way. She went in to the water as i got closer and a duck fight broke out on the water shortly after. A male appeared to be trying to aggressively get her attention, and another male came to her rescue and chased him away. I also noted smaller birds (not sure which species) which would swoop over and past me very fast. this happened m=numerous times.
Intervention Day 4
Sunday 13th September, 2:00pm – 4:00pm
On Sunday I made a plan of action and adjusted my intervention after considering the observations I made from the previous days of site visits. I decided the best way to create social interaction between birds and people would be to make something where I could distribute the seeds out to people where they could share the experience of feeding the birds in he park within their families and friends. There was no chance people would approach me to get involved, especially if there were no birds to feed directly around us.
For my cups I:
- Bought 30 biodegradable cups made of natural plant fibers so i wouldn’t be causing littering in the park.
- Bought more seeds – 2kg Wild Bird Seeds from “Feathered Friends”
- Create and print labels with a nice message including directions and precautions
- Create and print labels of nature New Zealand birds with their name to interest and educate younger participants of this intervention
- I stuck these labels down with a glue called mod podge.
I set off in the early afternoon as I thought this would be the best time to go on a Sunday. The day got warmer and sunnier so my odds seemed to be good. When I got to the park I had my mum with me to take photos. I set up the cups on a park bench in the middle of the playground and started filling them with seeds.
Nobody s I did get more looks than usual but nobody seemed very interested in what I was doing. I thought if I left these cups here that maybe someone would want to fatale one but this wasn’t the case. We decided to leave the cups alone and walks around the park to spot some more birds. After 5-10 mins nobody had taken any yet.
I decided to change things up by scattering the cups around the playground in interesting places to create intrigue and curiousity. This would make my intervention more approachable. This ended up being a success. As I started scattering them, a few people started to take notice. An older asian father was the first to dare to take a cup. He called over to his children with the cup in the air.
I placed a cup at the top of a hut, just as a girl appeared on the other side whio also took the cup after i left. She was the second victim of my event. She seemed to kick start things as she climbed down with curiousity and excitement.
Slowly but surely i see more of my cups in the hands of mothers, fathers and children alike. One mother takes a photo of the cup before scattering the seeds on the ground.
I try to act casually as my mum and i scatter seeds from our own cups to promote this event. A father with his little boy sit atop of a small hill in the playground who also join in on the fun.
I continue to go back and fourth with stacks of bird seed filled cups finding some easily seen places to put them. About 20 minutes in and an Indian mother comes up to me and asks if i had done this. She thought it was such an incredible action to take. She said she lets her little boy feed the bird in their garden and other parks so he knew what he was doing and was in his element. She even told me she would post about the bird seed cups onto Facebook.
An Indian father comes up to me and thanks me as his kids run around. I see me cups around the park disappearing from their spots. I hear parents telling chikldren to throw the seeds. Some kids are take very small handfuls to make the seeds last while others disperse their share in no time.
My mum takes a photo of a little girl. Her mothers comes up and tells her daughter to pose for the camera. She wasn’t shy to do so at all and gives us a few smiley faces.
People had seemed to have caught on that I was the ‘master mind’ behind this happening. The Indian mother came back to me with a stack of cups to hand back. I wasn’t expecting to get any cups back at all but I was pleasantly surprised that the community was taking initiative and being considerate/thoughtful about what to do with the cups after use. More and more kids would come up to be to give their cup back or ask for more seeds. I told two kids that they could keep their cups and take them home and they did just that. They could even choose the cup with the bird illustration they liked best. One lady told me to have a good day. “The kids loved it! I’ll have to buy some bird seeds now”.
Considering Barry Curtis Park Playground is inspired by the wetlands and New Zealand birds, my intervention fits right into the sites purpose as well as the context and position of the wider community. I captured some photographs of children interacting with the site’s sculptures of the pukekos and the nest and eggs. The kids seem to really enjoy large scale objects which you can climb on. As a kid when the park was newly build I did the same thing. I could never climb on to the biggest pukekos but as i got older it became more and more achievable.
As I was leaving, one of the little girls who was talking to us earlier starts following my mum and I asking if we were going. She shouts to the other two kids who were talking to us “Guys they are going”. My mum joked to her that we are going to another park to feed more birds and she asked if she could come with us. This was a lovely way to end my experience with my intervention.
After having such trouble with social interaction and community of the park, my intervention was a success and i really felt a sense of community, families enjoying themselves, kids playing, interacting and looking out for birds while consciously doing good for the park’s bird species. Although there was little bird interaction with people, it was the thought and mindfulness of the action itself.
My yellow raincoat seemed to work well in drawing attention to myself. I didn’t expect to be so involved in this event but I was at the heart of it and i was getting the attention for my action which was wonderful. As the observer I was just as much a participant who positively impacted many people’s day.
In conclusion I had learnt a lot about the bird life of this area and the behaviors of these birds. By understanding that there birds aren’t used to people as much as those in the suburbs, I was able to alter my intervention to focus more on consciousness of native bird species which we should be thankful for. My intervention taught kids how to care for our community in little ways while bringing families together to enjoy time in the outdoors.
What we can learn from birds
If we were to study and observe birds we would further develop our understanding of the ecosystems which support all life on Earth, including humans. To continue to live sustainably and have a healthy planet, we must understand how the natural systems on which we depend function. Birds are a critical element to nearly every ecosystem on Earth both directly and indirectly (ecosystem service), and their fate is intertwined with ours.
Ecosystems are communties of interactioing organisms and their environment. They can be small (a single pond or patch of woods) or enormous (The Amazon Jungle or The Pacific Ocean). The “services” that ecosystems provide us form the foundation of our ecosystms provide us form the foundation of our economies and healthy lives. Without clean air, water and soil, and vibrant, interconnected natural processes, many parts of the world’s ecosystems would falter. Birds are an essential part of the world’s ecosystems would falter. Birds are an essential part of these processes- they’re present in nearly every ecosystem in the world–and, just as importantly, act as “feathered barometers” to let us know how healthy these systems are.
Observing the characteristics and behaviors of our feathered friends, we can learn a lot about how we should lead our lives. We should spend more time in nature for happier and healthier bodies and minds. We should be present and more aware of our surroundings- not letting the world pass around us while we are absorbed in our bubbles. We should spend more time with our “flock” or family and friends if we are neglecting to do so. We should express ourselves and do the things we love such as singing our songs, sharing our talents with the rest of the world. When we are stuck and afraid we should learnt to let go of that branch we have been clinging on to and let our wings carry us (put trust and faith in ourselves more). And finally, learn to fly away when things just aren’t working out. Change can be scary but it can do us a lot of good; its how we grow, evolve and adapt to life much like in natural selection.
My document archive was carefully curated to tell a story of how my intervention came about, what occured, and reflecting on the happenings of becoming the ‘local bird lady’ at Barry Curtis Park in Flat Bush. It also explains the surrounding contexts of the site through a site information pamphlet, and through mark making of watecolour, pen, pancil sketches descirbing the presence and species of wetland plants and New Zealand wild birds at Barry Curtis as well as colours and textures observed which i drew from my documentation.
I orchestrated the layout of my document archive to be orderly from beginning to end. The variation in paper adds an element of tangeable interest which also seperated the proposals and happenings to the surrounding contexts and additional documents. Finally, the bird sketched of the species observed at this park is constructed on black paper for a striking visual focus as the bird life was the central aspect of my intervention and hiow the communiyu can acknowledge and care for the importance these species have on the park and its ecology.