Kauffman Museum’s bird walk will include poetry, KU presenters

Melanie Zuercher
Special to the Kansan
Kauffman Museum’s normal first-Saturday bird walk will be a special one for September, featuring poetry along with the birds, and two guest presenters.

Kauffman Museum’s normal first-Saturday bird walk will be a a little different this month — featuring  poetry and two guest presenters.

The museum has received a grant from Humanities Kansas for “Words of a Feather” on Sept. 4 starting at 9:30 a.m. at the museum’s front door.

Megan Kaminski and Molly Zahn from the University of Kansas will lead this family- and beginner-friendly bird and poetry walk “oriented to connecting participants to the natural bird habitat near Kauffman Museum, and to sparking conversation about our relationship with our common home,” Kaminski said.

Participants will start at the museum in chairs placed outdoors and then walk with Kaminski and Zahn through Chisholm Park, which includes woods, a creek and open pasture land.

The distance is about ¾ mile and all paved, so it is accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. Like all of the museum’s bird walks, this one is free and open to everyone.

Participants should dress for the hot weather – hats are recommended, as well as sunscreen, bug spray and a personal water bottle.

“The birding and poetry portions of the program are pretty much integrated,” Kaminski said. “It’s an environmental humanities program, so both the birding and poetry will focus on building practices to establish and nurture ongoing relationships with birds and our larger ecosystems.

“We’ll definitely identify some birds that are out with us, but that won’t be the focus of the program.”

The total time for the program will be about an hour and a half, she added, and she and Zahn will stay afterward to answer questions and talk with participants.

Kaminski is a poet and an associate professor of English at KU, teaching poetry and environmental humanities and arts, while Zahn teaches religious studies at KU and leads guided bird walks in her spare time.

On the day of the event, all participants will receive a copy of the poetry and bird chapbooklet Words of a Feather provided by Humanities Kansas and edited by Kaminski with illustrations by Newton native Brad Sneed.

For more information, e-mail kauffman@bethelks.edu or call 316-283-1612.

Kauffman Museum is located at the corner of Main and 27th Streets in North Newton (see https://kauffmanmuseum.org/event/humanities-kansas-poetry-and-bird-walk/).