Let’s set the scene. It’s 1996 in downtown Denver, CO. Bill Clinton was president, everyone had Alanis Moirssette playing on their Walkman, Independence Day was the hottest movie in theaters, and pagers were beeping rather than cell phones. I felt good as I walked into my office wearing a tailored black pants suit, shiny high heels, and my signature red nails with lipstick to match. Usually, I’d fill the day with phone calls to other technology firms and clients around the nation, but this day something else was put on my plate – “@Home”.
@Home was a revolutionary idea to create a service to provide women in small business in-home internet. At the time, AOL was the biggest website and just 20 million people had access to the internet via a dial up connection (compared to 4.66 billion people today). My experience with the internet was almost exclusively in the workplace. The thought of having access and endless virtual resources at home seemed like a sci-fi fantasy. To further understand @Home so I could help sell it, a computer was set up in my home and by the end of that night I was “on line”.
Technology helped me back in the 90’s and I made a career during the booming “.com” era. Although it filled my professional life, I didn’t realize the impact technology was having on me until I moved from Alaska to Wisconsin and my friend mentioned the Bluebirds. I thought she was referring to the cartoon Bluebirds in Mary Poppins, I then learned they are in fact real songbirds. I had never seen a Bluebird and I was intrigued and excited to see one. So I decided to install my first Bluebird Nest Box in my backyard. That’s when my two worlds collided and I realized there’s a way to bridge technology and nature.
Part of having your own nest box means going out into nature and monitoring the box at least once a week during the songbird breeding season. While trying to keep track of my monitoring observations and weekly data, I discovered NestWatch.org a Cornell Lab of Ornithology citizen science project. NestWatch allows me to easily track all my information and many different nest boxes online or on their mobile app. My data provides timely, accurate, and local data to Ornithologists and scientists to process and to evaluate our community. Since 2008 Bluebird Experience has been sharing our observational data from all our Bluebird Nest Boxes and Trails online.
I’m grateful I was able to give a sales pitch about the benefits of offering an @Home service back in 1996 and now to be able to apply that passion in using technology from our homes and help the scientist learn what is happening in our own yards. We live, work, play and love @Home, and I’m so happy I could play a small part in it.
With the birds’ breeding season approaching, if you don’t already have a NestWatch
account, please sign up! The more scientists know what is going on in our own yards the more they can determine the health of your community. I was taught to use what God gave me to make a difference and that’s why I’m sharing with you how I create a Bluebird Experience every year.
It starts with a Bluebird Nest Box, a data sheet, your smartphone or computer, walking shoes and a can do attitude!
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