There’s a new bird watching club on the Northern Illinois University campus in DeKalb and they want their fellow NIU students to join them. It’s called Inclusive Birding Club and Tony Del Valle is the trip chair. He coordinates birding trips and hikes. He said the group is safe, welcoming and judgment-free; and that they are inclusive in every sense of the word.
“‘Inclusive birding’ means birding, but for everyone,” he said. “Birding and access to nature has historically not been available to everyone, and may even be intimidating for some people.”
Del Valle admitted he was initially intimidated by birding.
“But I’ve come to realize that birds are awesome,” he said. “I’ve been able to form a lot of lasting friendships with like-minded people through the simple activity of birding.”
And, he said, you don’t have to be an expert at identifying birds in order to participate.
“It can be as simple as looking at the birds in your neighborhood,” he explained. “There are really awesome birds all over like cardinals and blue jays and chickadees.”
“We like to advocate,” he said. “We like to work against historical tendencies by creating a group that actively advocates for inclusion.”