Hoot Camp

An inclusive leadership development program

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As our mission states, Birds Connect Seattle advocates and organizes for cities where people and birds thrive. Our board of directors has affirmed that the fight to protect birds and nature is not separate from the fight for equity and justice, and to succeed at one we must succeed at both. This work needs everyone—board, staff, members, and volunteers—pulling in the same direction and committed to change.

Hoot Camp is a series of educational workshops, refreshed and offered annually, intended to ensure that Birds Connect Seattle programming is welcoming, safe, and inclusive for all. Hoot Camp was created in direct response to feedback from community members and volunteers, who shared they did not always feel welcome when participating in our programs. While these trainings are an important step to promoting a more inclusive culture, Hoot Camp is only the beginning. This work has the power to be transformational over time, and will require consistent practice and effort.

Investing in People

Birds Connect Seattle volunteers have powered impressive conservation accomplishments throughout the organization’s long history. They have created a close community that cares about birds.

While we now have a professional staff, volunteer leaders continue to represent Birds Connect Seattle and the organization’s values in almost every activity and program we offer. In The Nature Shop, leading a field trip or Neighborhood Bird Outing, serving on the board or a working committee, or volunteering for a youth education activity, volunteers are in a position to demonstrate those values, and are a vital connection to the organization for the public. Birds Connect Seattle celebrates the importance of these roles, and as an organization, have has an obligation to support volunteers’ success in fulfilling the mission, just as we do for our staff.

All staff and all volunteers in leadership roles, or who interact with the public, are encouraged to attend Hoot Camp workshops. Attendance at Hoot Camp will be required in order to volunteer for certain roles starting in 2023.

Information for Participants


All volunteers who serve in either leadership (board, commitees) or public facing (Nature Shop, field trips, Neighborhood Bird Outings, community science leaders) are encouraged to participate in these inclusive leadership trainings. These volunteers will receive Save-the-Date messages annually, and will be invited to online make-up sessions if they are unavailable to attend the annual in-person session.

If you are not currently a part of one of the above volunteer groups but would like to attend Hoot Camp, that’s wonderful! Please contact Christine Scheele at christines@birdsconnectsea.org to learn more.


    In order to make the most of our time together, we have prepared a few pre-work activities to prime everyone for the evergreen Hoot Camp topics. The sessions below are offered on an ongoing basis. Other sessions, particularly those with guest presenters, will not have make-up sessions on offer.

    Recognizing Implicit Bias (2022 Session)

    Please complete at least two of the tests at Harvard’s Project Implicit site: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html

    We’d like everyone to complete the Race IAT, and then another test of your choosing.

    Conservation Communications pre-work (Evergreen Session)

    Step 1: Complete the pre-training assessment survey if you did NOT already complete it in spring 2021 .

    Step 2: Watch the four conservation training videos linked below (no passwords needed; all videos set to public viewing) 

    1. Threats to Habitat (9 minutes) | Handout for Video 1
    2. Climate Change (5 minutes) | Handout for Video 2
    3. Bird-Safe Cities (8 minutes) | Handout for Video 3
    4. Conservation Communication (17 minutes) | Handout for Video 4

    Step 3: Complete the post-training assessment survey 

    Field Safety pre-work (Evergreen Session)

    • Please watch at least three of the videos in this collection. They’re short and thought-provoking – feel free to watch them all!
    • Consider these questions (no need to write anything down or send us your answers):
      -Think through a time when you felt awkward, left out, or excluded in a group setting. How did it make you feel? What, specifically, made you feel this way?
      -Think about a time when you joined a new group and you felt embraced. What, specifically, made you feel this way?
    HOOT CAMP SCHEDULE (for in-person event only)

    Save the Date for Hoot Camp 2023: Saturday, October 28

    Specific times and location TBD.

    More info and detailed schedule coming late-summer into early-fall.


    Hoot Camp Online Make-Up Sessions

    If you were unable to attend the in-person session, or if you are a new volunteer, please sign up for the following online sessions for 2023 (note there are two session of each training and you only need to sign up for one of the sessions):

    September 13 from 6:30-7:45pm – Field Safety

    September 26 from 10:00-11:00am – Conservation Communication

    October 11 from 12:00-1:00pm – Implicit Bias


    Hoot Camp 2021 Recap

    What we learned from our first Hoot Camp in November 2021, and what we are for planning next.