Gala Benefit will honor past president Linda Whynman

By Alexis White

When the Sociedad Audubon de México holds its Bird of a Feather gala on Thursday, July 24, it will honor its past president Linda Whynman with a tribute most befitting this former teacher. Gala proceeds will help fund Kids + Nature, a new Audubon school outreach program that has been developed to foster a greater appreciation of nature and a strong desire to protect it.

Benefit Dinner Dance
Sociedad Audubon de México honors Linda Whynman at Birds of a Feather gala
Thu, Jul 24, 7:30pm
Jardines de Matilda
Pila Seca 36
Individual Tickets at 850 pesos or US$70, and Legacy Tickets at 3,000 pesos or US$240

“Kids + Nature is a golden opportunity to teach children the importance of a sustainable environment and engage them in efforts to help make that happen,” Whynman said. “I am honored to be recognized by Audubon, and deeply touched that the Birds of a Feather gala will help launch this school program for San Miguel’s youngsters.”

An interactive classroom and outdoor education program, Kids + Nature began to evolve during Audubon’s strategic planning process last year. The process, which included interviews with business people, community leaders and residents, educators, environmental activists and Audubon members, reinforced Audubon’s belief that it should do more programming in the area of environmental education for schoolchildren, many of whom are unaware of the importance of San Miguel’s natural surroundings and resources. Refocusing its attention as well as resources, Audubon created the Kids + Nature program.

“We are really excited about this program and the opportunity to open the hearts and minds of children through lessons connected to nature,” said April Gaydos, president of Audubon. “The program will bring imaginative and fun ideas to the concept of critical thinking. For example, through a bird’s eyes, children will learn about the important roles of trees, water, air and soil, and how these elements work together to create a healthy environment for all living things. The program also will spill over to their home and community life through such activities as creating pollinator gardens, helping clean up waterways, planting trees and serving as junior nature scientists. “Our future plans,” she added, “include an after-school Kids + Nature Club where students can continue to explore the natural sciences and develop academic and life skills that will carry them into the future.”

Audubon recently used two events to prototype the Kids + Nature program. As part of the annual, four-day Great Backyard Bird Count in February, the organization held a Saturday program for 57 children, teens and parents, who attended a bird identification presentation before

participating in the count, which was held at El Charco del Ingenio. And, in celebration of World Environment Day this past month, 30 youngsters from San Miguel Viejo worked alongside employees of Grupo Modelo, S.A.B. de C.V. and volunteers from Amigos de la Presa and Audubon to plant 125 native trees, trim and clean life-threatening paixtle from the existing trees, and carry away 35 bags of trash collected from the Presa shoreline. The children were taught how to correctly plant trees and how to properly prune existing ones so they could continue to flourish. This latter lesson on sustainability is particularly important to their families, who use the limbs and branches as firewood.

“Learning through environmental service is one of our key Kids + Nature tenets,” explained Gaydos. “The San Miguel Viejo youngsters were given a hands-on experience working alongside grownups on a project that impacts their community. They had a lot of fun and did a terrific job.”

Birds of a Feather will include a champagne and hors d’oeuvres reception followed by hot/cold and dessert canapé service throughout the evening. It will be catered by Dos Suecos, the husband-wife team of Anders and Kajsa Akerblom Litzén. There will be a cash bar.

Johnny Favourite, the proprietor and host of La Noche Piano Bar, Mesones 101, will provide continuous music. He is bringing a swing band and a combo. Favourite, whose repertoire runs from the Great American Songbook — a canon of the most important and influential American popular songs of the 20th century, to soul to classic rock and more, is a former recording artist and Juno (Canadian Grammy) Award winner.

The Jardines de Matilda, a special venue of Hotel Matilda, is an outdoor setting of spacious grounds, mature gardens and trees. The gala will be tented and within the space, there will be a large dance floor.

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