City Trees

May/June 2023

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their encounters with birds in NYC's boroughs. I kept notes in my notebook thinking I would write about them. However, I came to realize that the stories were so rich and detailed that it would be better for people to tell their own stories." Georgia is a self-described podcast nerd (her favorites include In Defense of Plants, Strict Scrutiny, and Fall of Civilizations), so she was already familiar with the format. She originally envisioned Your Bird Story as taking place in the field, but the challenge of finding quiet enough spaces to record in NYC proved too great. "I still hope to figure it out," she says. For now, the interviews are done over Zoom. The show is edited and produced by Pod to the People Founder and Lead Engineer Allon Beausoleil. "He provides excellent feedback on the raw tape and on what to think about for future episodes," Georgia says. "Without a producer I don't know how sustainable the podcast would be. I don't have an ear for this type of work. Working with Pod to the People has made the process relatively stress-free for me." Most of the fundraising for Your Bird Story, which along with WSP Eco Projects is a Local Nature Lab ini- tiative, goes toward the production costs. In the first year, funding came from a private donation. In year two, Georgia's grant application to the New Jersey- based Puffin Foundation was successful, and for year three (the current season) and four, the UK-based Voices for Nature Foundation provided a grant. "It can be challenging to get grants for a project that is on a small-scale, like ours is at present," Georgia says. "Most foundations are geared towards projects of a certain size, often with million-dollar-plus >> You might be familiar with the saying, "You cannot see the forest for the trees." You are so focused on the details (the trees) that you lose sight of the bigger picture (the forest). In this two-part episode, Georgia speaks with Dr. Thomas Easley, a forester, who in community with Black birders and through the practice of birding slowly, came to see the smaller aspects of the forests (the birds) in which he works and the landscape in which he lives. (February 11, 2021) Katie Leung's childhood interest in charismatic megafauna and predatory mammals and fish has evolved to include raptors like the Eastern Screech Owl and the Osprey. Katie describes her previous work with raptors in New York City and is effusive about her new job working on the Hudson River, "a beautiful, vast estuary." Georgia says, "I appreciate Katie's willingness to talk about balancing vigilance in light of anti- Asian hate with enjoying and working in the outdoors." (December 8, 2022) How much do you know about the American Robin? Turdus migratorius is the focus of the doctoral research of Emily Williams, an avian ecologist based in Washington, DC. How big are robin roosts? Are female robins territorial? What do we know about American Robin migration? Emily's research is highlighting and revealing much about this fascinating, often underappreciated common bird. (September 8, 2022) 25

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