FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.
Awards invite

Birding: Getting Your Child’s Interest in the Environment to Take Flight

by Elyse Glickman

Jun 20, 2019

Benjamin Jacobs Schwartz/BIRDS By BIJS

Age Specific / Kids

Los Angeles native Benny Jacobs-Schwartz will admit his personal interest in bird watching took shape around 2011 while he was in Costa Rica on a study abroad program to support his university coursework in Tropical Rainforest Biology. “I started to see birds through high-powered binoculars and was wowed by colorful tropical birds I never knew existed,” he said on that discovery bringing out childlike wonder. “Earlier, I was into insects, and then tropical fish. However, the bird surveys I did with my instructors instilled my passion for birding.”

 

Photo: Benjamin Jacobs Schwartz/BIRDS By BIJS

Photo: Benjamin Jacobs Schwartz/BIRDS By BIJS

 

As he got deeper into his post-graduate life in the natural sciences, he realized bird watching was not only a great outdoor activity for families on vacations and staycations, but also an exciting tool to get kids of any age excited about putting down gaming consoles and iPads to explore nature. His BIRDS by BIJS is dedicated to igniting that passion for the great outdoors through a variety of activities, including a new wellness program combining bird watching with native plant gardening, and instruction on ways to reduce one’s carbon footprint and improve his or her sustainability habits.

 

Birdwatching.

Birdwatching. Photo: Benjamin Jacobs Schwartz/BIRDS By BIJS

“Birds come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, and as they move quickly, they manage to grab and hold on to one’s attention,” said Jacobs-Schwartz. “They can be seen as keys to unlock nature consciousness in kids. With younger kids, bird watching does not need to be done at a super high level. It can be as simple as teaching them to look for and identify simple common birds in one’s area. This in turn, will help attune them to looking for and spotting birds in places one may not expect.”

 

To get started, Schwartz says all that’s needed is a good pair of binoculars, a birding field guide and a notepad and pencil or pen for note taking. “When parents can get involved, a good strategy to get kids interested is to encourage them see bird watching as a real life, real time ‘Pokémon Go,’” he added. “When you consider that there are over 800 species of birds [in] North America, it becomes a game to see how many species you can spot, driving excitement and curiosity.”

 

The “game” can be taken to the next level when you and your kids take what you observe and record it on iNaturalist.com or eBird.org. Data is then sent over to scientists regularly monitoring changes in bird populations over time, such as the effects of global warming in different populations. “You can start kids out as citizen scientists, and that spark can make them want to learn more about the world around them,” he said.

 

Other positive effects of birding, according to Schwartz, include an improved attention span and test scores, and ensuring what is taught in school science classes makes more sense. “Caring about living things like birds can also help them care more about the environment and issues like global warming, as well as how water science and the lifespan of trees play into birding,” he said.

 

Photo: Benjamin Jacobs Schwartz/BIRDS By BIJS

Photo: Benjamin Jacobs Schwartz/BIRDS By BIJS

 

Families living in the New York City metro can begin at The Brambles within Central Park or the Brooklyn Audubon Society, while in Southern California, families can head to the Bolsa Chica ecological reserve or Los Angeles’ Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Preserve. Elsewhere in the United States, he suggests several parks, public forests and reserves crackling with exciting biodiversity.

 

Oregon:

Washington State:

Nevada:

Colorado:

Idaho:

Florida:

Texas:

New Jersey:

Michigan and nearby:

Group Shot at Lake Merritt

Group Shot at Lake Merritt. Photo: Benjamin Jacobs Schwartz/BIRDS By BIJS

#WhereverFamily

Insta Feed
Budget
Jun 11, 2021

Summer Savings at Velas Resorts in Mexico

Velas Resorts in Mexico offers summer savings, perfect for a family getaway. Guests can take advantage of suite upgrades, 50 percent discounted stays for kids and teens, half-off round-trip airport transfers, complimentary hydrotherapy and up to a $300 resort credit for couples or family experiences. Early check-in and late check-out are available at select properties.

Destinations / North America
Jun 10, 2021

What’s New in Virginia Beach

After the past year, no one really needs an excuse to get away and go on a well-deserved vacation. Whether you are looking for a weekend family getaway or a week-long trip, Virginia Beach is the place for you. With brand-new amenities, offers, activities and more, you can’t go wrong.

Listicles
Jun 8, 2021

Tailgating Must-Haves

A summer favorite for sports enthusiasts is tailgating before the big game. Whether it be baseball, soccer or football, bringing the right items for an awesome day can be hard, and it’s important not to overpack. These are the things you want to make a priority on your tailgate list.

Destinations / North America
Jun 4, 2021

Celebrate June in Washington, D.C.

This summer, Washington, D.C., is open for business and looking forward to welcoming travelers back to our nation’s capital. With most restrictions lifted and the full reopening of D.C. on June 11, this summer is the best time to visit and take the family on a fun, educational trip.

Destinations / Mexico
Jun 3, 2021

Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Riviera Maya Opens July 2021

Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts is opening its first location in Mexico this July with Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Riviera Maya. The 5-star resort is full of playful surprises, the fun of iconic Nickelodeon shows and the comfort of Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ all-inclusive offerings.

Listicles
Jun 2, 2021

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Not sure what to give dad this Father’s Day? No worries — we have you covered. These products are sure to give any father that special smile on his special day.