Tomorrow we bird, but today we march

Birders across the country take to the streets in historic March for Science.

Joel Merriman, D.C. Audubon board member, marches with a pun-tastic bird sign. Photo: Liz Woodcock Merriman

Yesterday Audubon members across the country joined fellow protesters to show their support for science and oppose cuts to research funding. My husband and our two sons marched in San Francisco (second march in three months for our little guys!) with our local chapter, Mt. Diablo Audubon. 

Thousands join March for Science rally at Justin Herman Plaza in downtown San Francisco. Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle

The main march was in Washington, D.C., with 600 satellite marches on all seven continents. Audubon California and Mt. Diablo Audubon co-sponsored the March for Science in San Francisco. The Bay area had seven other marches in San Jose, Santa Cruz, Walnut Creek, Livermore, Berkeley, Pacifica and Hayward.

James Balkite and his daughter Parker at the San Francisco March for Science. Parker wants to make sure the burrowing owls she sees at home in Mountain View are protected. Photo: Lindsey Hoshaw/KQED Science

Birders made their presence known with signs expressing their enthusiasm for birds and nature. The East Bay Times described the demonstrators as “physicians, bird-watchers, chemists, teachers, students, engineers and others.”

Beautiful sign by Audubon member Tiffany Erickson. Photo: Tiffany Erickson

One of the best parts of these protests is spotting all the clever, funny signs. Some of our favorites from yesterday include: “Defiance…for Science” and “At the start of every disaster movie, there’s a scientist being ignored.”

Mt. Diablo Audubon members join the March for Science in San Francisco. Photo: Ariana Rickard

Rosalie Howarth helped carry our eight-foot Audubon banner two miles during the march: “My arms are aching today but my heart feels a little lighter. Marching is just one tool in the opposition toolbox, but it’s one that provides the most encouragement and positive reinforcement.”

Nick Chan, his pb&j sandwich, Pierre and Nico Bull, and Ariana Rickard march in support of science. Photo: Pierre Bull

Along the march route, we ran into old friends and met up with others who share our passion for science and the natural world. It was heartening and inspiring to be surrounded by thousands of people who believe public policy should be informed by scientific studies. 

Tiffany Erickson and Ariana Rickard show off their love for birds. Photo: Pierre Bull

All the advances we have made in conserving wildlife and habitat have been informed by science and defended through science. We hope that yesterday’s march will just be the start of a movement to elevate science, protect research funding, and allow us to push forward our mission of preserving birds and habitat for future generations. As one sign said, “There is no Planet B!”

Thousands of protesters along Market Street during the March for Science. Photo: Brent Firestone

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