The conservation of our natural world cannot be brought about by individuals or countries acting in isolation.  It can only be achieved through our understanding of each other; our cultural, social, and economic differences, across countries and continents as far flung and widespread as the osprey itself.

—Gill Lewis, author of Wild Wings

Our Mission

Amigos Alados is an international environmental education and friendship project offering instruction on endemic and migratory bird life for elementary students in the Western USA and Mexico. We have three primary objectives:

  1. To sensitize the children to the special needs of birds for protection and habitat conservation,
  2. To form friendships between students from both countries as they share their interest and information about the birds that migrate between the two countries, and
  3. To facilitate students sharing what they have learned with their larger communities, thus helping them to become advocates for birds and overall environmental protection.

Our Vision

The Amigos Alados vision is to involve an increasing number of schools in the western United States and Mexico so that we create a widespread conviction that migratory songbirds and their ecosystems can be saved by education and collaborative effort. We hope to inspire our children to seek higher education in the environmental sciences and to continue working to sensitize their larger communities to today’s pressing environmental issues of habitat loss, toxic contamination, global warming, and rapid extinction of species so that together we can find solutions to these problems.

Project Background

Amigos Alados or Winged Friends is an exciting educational project between elementary school students in the western United States and Jalisco, Mexico. Beginning in the fall of 2007, students at Ross School in Marin County, California, and Primaria Cuauhtemoc in Los Espinos, Jalisco, began studying birds that migrate between the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sierra de Tapalpa and sharing their research and observations with each other.

Many people on the west coast of the United States are interested in the life of birds and the conservation of their habitat, but in rural Mexico these ideas are just beginning to take hold. Children often practice their aiming skills by killing birds with slingshots, and pajareros catch birds to sell them to be eaten or put into cages for purchase. Many birds fly a long way to spend the winter months in a warmer climate, only to come to a sad end at their destination in Central or South America. On the other hand, widespread habitat destruction, pesticide use, house cats, window collisions, and other factors play a huge part in endangering songbirds in the United States. Therefore, it is essential that conservation work be done across borders - which is our central motivation for creating the connection between students in both countries.

Besides helping to sensitize children to the plight of migratory birds and their habitat, Amigos Alados offers an opportunity for a friendship and penpal program between the schools. This project is an important way to bring children on both sides of the border together and to enrich their appreciation of the longstanding, close relationship between the environments and cultures of Mexico and the western United States.

In the coming years as regular funding is established, we hope to make Amigos Alados a much broader program, including many more schools in the western United States and Mexico.

Amigos Alados Complementary and Collaborative Activities

Restoring bird habitat.

Teacher and student identify a bird.