Wednesday, December 8, 2010

New York City!

Here we go! Michele and I are off to Rwanda today. We have been in New York City the past 6 days. This blog post is a tribute to this city and some of the experiences we had here.

We made a trip up to the Institute for Environmental Learning, the school I used to teach at in the Bronx,. As soon as we walked in, I saw a “Go Green” sign on the entrance to the school. 

I was thrilled to find out that the school is still recycling and has a good crew of students and a new sponsor of their efforts. I enjoyed catching up with many of my former students and colleagues. I even got to play a quick game of Frisbee with some 8th graders. Keep up the great work PS/MS 15!

On Saturday, Michele and I joined our good friend Rich in Central Park. After over an hour of searching, we finally saw a bird that was a new species for all three of us: a varied thrush. This is a species that lives on the west coast of North America. Birds in Canada and Alaska will migrate for the winter to the Pacific Northwest or California, but sometimes can get lost. This young bird (a juvenile) likely lost its way and ended up in Central Park, much to the delight of birders, but probably not so good for the individual bird. After two hours in the cold weather, we headed over to the American Museum of Natural History to survey the African birds on display in a couple exhibits. Previously, Michele and I have been learning about East African birds from books and from various zoos, but to study them with Rich at the museum was a real treat.

On Monday, at orientation for our upcoming year of service, I gave a presentation to fellow Jewish Service Corps members about birds in Rwanda and led a demonstration on using binoculars. I am amazed with everyone who is going on this trip (we met 8 of 11 of our group members so far); we all bring great perspectives and background experiences to the team.  I am looking forward to bird watching, hiking, and living in Rwanda for the next year with all of them (I will post links to their blogs in upcoming weeks).

I am ready… just a few more hours of orientation before we go to the airport. Here we go!

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