Birds, Plants and Other People: Ecological and Cultural Relationships Across Species Boundaries, Part I

Session Type: 
Session Date and Time: 
Thursday, 11 May, 2017 - 10:30 to 12:00
Biodiversity Center, B104
Session Organizer(s): 
Nicole Sault, Sally Glean Center, California
Marco Antonio Vásquez-Dávila, Instituto Tecnológico del Valle de Oaxaca, México

Ecological research demonstrates the complex interconnections between different species and the environment. This knowledge is also encoded in various cultural traditions through myths, rituals, and rules of etiquette. While Western science divides living things into taxonomic categories based on genetics and anatomical characteristics, cultures around the world have created categories that cross the boundaries of animal, plant, human, and the environment. These categories reflect relationships between beings that appear in different forms but are connected through kinship, ties to the land, spirit essence and mythological origins. This session addresses both biological and culturally defined interrelationships between birds and other beings, whether these are plants, animals, mushrooms or landscapes. To better understand avian relationships with others, special attention is given to the traditional environmental knowledge of indigenous or First Nations peoples. This knowledge can aid in better understanding the impact of global climate change and the role of humans as custodians and caretakers of the environment.