Colombian teenager draws and donates bird guide to raise awareness | Way of life


Jacobo Rendon, 14, started leaving in March 2020 with his ornithologist mother on a mission to spot, count and record the birds they saw in their Colombian town of El Carmen de Viboral. Working with binoculars and a borrowed camera, they thought it might make a nice entrance to the science fair.

But after classes went virtual due to coronavirus closures, he turned what had been a simple school project into a labor of love: a photographic and illustrated guide to the area’s urban avian life as the teenager plans to donate to a local cultural center.

He hopes the guide will inspire others to illustrate and help preserve the birds – “especially the young, because we are the ones who will be here for years to come,” Rendon said. “We are going to be responsible for our planet.

The project recently earned Rendon recognition from the nonprofit Action for Nature as one of its 2021 international young eco-hero winners, an award honoring young environmental activists “for solving the most pressing environmental issues. most critical in the world ”.

The reaction was overwhelming.

After posting a video online, unsolicited donations poured in, along with encouraging messages from strangers around the world, and a nature photographer volunteered to give him a free lesson.

When Rendon offered to draw birds for people to raise extra money for the project, he was busy with commissions for months. In just a few weeks, he raised over $ 1,000 to purchase his first camera, colored markers and other materials.

“That people support these projects shows that people are generous, that they want to invest in the environment, that they can be moved by young people like me… and encouraged to make donations”, he said. he declares.

Rendon knows dozens of birds by name and grew up drawing them after school. In a remote video interview, he proudly listed the scientific names of several of them and showed off some of his favorite artwork, including the guide’s first entry – a fiery-rumped tanager – and another from a hawk.

Johana Reyes Herrera, Rendon’s mother, said she was proud of their advocacy work in one of the most biodiverse countries in the world.

“It has also been the motto of our home, of our family – being able to serve the community,” said Reyes Herrera. “The fact that he’s doing it and agrees with that thought makes us and his father very happy.”


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