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  • Jack Meltzer

Ornithology Club Makes a Comeback

Credits: Nick Nikolov

Ornithology was a popular club at Walls last year but has not yet been active in the 2022-23 school year. Now two juniors, Rami Noursi and Ishan Hsu, are restarting the club with the interest of spreading their passion for learning about birds and nature photography.

Helena Bello, a class of 2022 Walls graduate, started the Ornithology Club in her junior year. “I got the idea during online school and I thought it would be an interesting club to start at Walls,” Bello said. Under her leadership, the club mostly consisted of hiking and birdwatching in Rock Creek Park and other local green spaces.

This mission will stay consistent under Hsu and Noursi. As Hsu puts it, the goal is to “have monthly birding trips where we will help people find good spots, identify birds and give tips on birding in general.”

Many people find comfort and a connection to nature through bird-watching and ornithology. Bello says it was a good activity during lockdown and “something to do outdoors and to keep my mind off of the pandemic.” Hsu also described it as an engaging way to become more familiar with D.C. wildlife and more observant of nature all around us.

The new iteration of the club, however, will have an added focus on photography. Noursi has extensive experience with photography, and the two club leaders even run a birding Instagram account together. While Bello's club was mostly focused on recognizing calls and ornithology knowledge, Hsu and Noursi plan on teaching club members about nature photography and editing skills as well.

The Ornithology Club is a rewarding community for all Walls students who are interested in the outdoors, Bello said. “Even if you aren’t interested in birds or birding, [participating in the club] is still a great opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy nature.”

Hsu and Noursi plan on making the club social without too much of a time commitment, and Bello emphasized that those without experience can get involved easily.

Hsu said that bird-watching is a great activity for people living in urban areas without easy access to nature. Rock Creek Park is home to 150 different species of birds, including many rare species. During springtime many new species migrate into the DMV, making it a popular destination for bird watchers.

“I have always felt like I underappreciated nature, and birding has really made me appreciate all the birds of D.C.,” Hsu said.

Hsu and Noursi plan to have the club running after AP season ends and encourage all Walls students to give ornithology a try.


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