Episode 96 – Unstoppable Bird and BirdNote Advocate with Nick Bayard
On this episode of Unstoppable Mindset, we get to speak with Nick Bayard the executive Director of BirdNote. This organization is a nonprofit that provides sound-rich programs on over 200 radio stations that discuss the challenges faced by birds. The program includes the sounds of birds. It can be heard daily. You will get to learn more about BirdNote during our episode.
Nick holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration and International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Brown University. He served three years in the Peace Corps Paraguay and has held several social service policy decisions in the Northwest U.S.
Nick gives us much to think about, not only about birds and BirdNote, but also he helps us think more deeply about how we live our lives and how we can help make our whole planet a more friendly and good place to live.
About the Guest:
Nick Bayard is the Executive Director of BirdNote. BirdNote is a public media nonprofit organization that tells vivid, sound-rich stories about birds and the challenges they face in order to inspire listeners to care about the natural world and take steps to protect it. BirdNote Daily is their beloved flagship show that has been in production since 2005. It is a one minute, 45 second daily radio show that broadcasts on over 250 radio stations across the US. You can listen to BirdNote Daily and other longform podcasts produced by BirdNote anytime, wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also learn what BirdNote is doing to contribute to more diverse and inclusive birding and environmental communities at www.birdnote.org.
Nick holds a master’s degree in Public Administration and International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Brown University. He served for three years in the environmental sector of Peace Corps Paraguay and has served in leadership roles in social services and racial equity in government policy in the Pacific Northwest. Nick is an Eagle Scout and also a musician, having released an award-winning children’s album, Wishing Well, with his oldest son in 2014.
Nick and his wife Sedia live in Washington State with their three kids.
Ways to connect with Nick:
BirdNote website: www.birdnote.org
BirdNote daily podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/birdnote-daily/id79155128
BirdNote’s Bring Birds Back podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/bring-birds-back/id1566042634
BirdNote’s Threatened podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/threatened/id1538065542
BirdNote en Español podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/birdnote-en-espa%C3%B1ol/id1643711928
Nick Bayard’s LinkedIn page: www.linkedin.com/in/nickbayard
Nick Bayard’s Twitter page: https://twitter.com/NickBayard
Wishing Well children’s album: https://www.amazon.com/Wishing-Well-Nick-Bayard/dp/B00IHIEUYE/ref=tmm_acd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.
Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.
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Michael Hingson 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
Michael Hingson 01:21
Welcome once again to unstoppable mindset. Hi, everyone. It’s a nice fall day here in Southern California, supposed to get up to 96 degrees today. It is late September. So for those who remember, it is also the time of hurricane Ian in Florida. And our thoughts are with all the people and creatures down there. But today, we get to interview someone and talk about some of those creatures. Nick Bayard is a person who has been involved in dealing with natural resources and so on. He’s the Executive Director of bird note. And we’re going to get to that. And all things, Nick, as we go along. So Nick, welcome to unstoppable mindset.
Nick Bayard 02:05
Thank you so much. It’s an honor to be here.
Michael Hingson 02:07
Well, it’s our pleasure, and we really appreciate you taking the time to be here with us. Let’s start just kind of learning a little bit about you, can you kind of tell us where you came from and how you got where you
Nick Bayard 02:18
are a little bit? Sure, well, I grew up in Delaware, in kind of a little bubble, to be honest, and, you know, my educational career kind of took a winding path, because I didn’t really see a career out there that looks like something I wanted to do forever. I just feel like there’s there’s too much to try to pack into one life to commit to sort of, you know, doctor, lawyer, you know, etc. And so, I think that was both a blessing and a curse, because it led me to follow a lot of different paths. And it led to a lot of frustration too, because our, I think our society is set up to reward sort of monotony and continue building, you know, of a career over a period of time. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything, because it’s it’s given me a lot of unique experiences, serving in the Peace Corps in South America, getting to do racial equity work and in government. And now being executive director of a wonderful organization that I’ve loved for a long time, came a bit out of left field, because I had done so many things that kind of added up to what the burden of board members wanted in this role that all of a sudden, things kind of fell into place for something that I never could have predicted. So it’s it’s been a winding road, but I’m really thrilled to be where I am and happy to get the chance to talk about it with you.
Michael Hingson 03:56
Winding roads are always kind of fun, you know, you never know where you’re gonna go next. Or maybe you do but at the same time, it’s always the adventure of getting there. That’s at least half the fun.
Nick Bayard 04:07
And you’ve had that experience too, right? Yes, quite a number of lifetimes packed into one right.
Michael Hingson 04:14
It has been a fun adventure. And it continues to be and I can’t complain about that a single bit. It’s, you know, it’s all about choices. And but it is all about embracing the adventure of life to exactly.
Nick Bayard 04:28
So what you went to college, I went to Brown University in Rhode Island and studied environmental studies and really had a wonderful experience there. And then
Michael Hingson 04:41
what got you from there to the Peace Corps?
Nick Bayard 04:43
You know, I thought I was gonna go down the path of biologist scientists, ecologist, spent a year doing a residency in environmental education in the Grand Tetons, and we’re realized after that year that actually maybe halfway into that year that I would be, I would feel kind of limited myself, I guess if I were to just sort of pick that path and run with it, although lots of people do that and love it, it just wasn’t for me. What I recognized is that I just didn’t have enough experience out in the world to be able to even say what I wanted to commit to for, you know, even for at least the next few years, so I thought that the Peace Corps was this opportunity to, to really throw myself into the unknown and experience something completely different. And hopefully learn about people learn more about people learn more about institutions learn more about how different cultures and communities operate. And it was like, throw myself in the deep end, I got even more than I bargained for, I’d say, How so, you know, the Peace Corps was hard in ways that I didn’t expect, I, I think I was conditioned to think of it as a just really an opportunity to help make the world a better place. But there’s a danger of that Savior mindset. If you go to a place thinking that you have the skills or the resources to be able to help or save in a way that you’ve maybe seen it on TV, and you realize you’re, you’re with people, and you’re, you know, you’re not any better or worse than the folks that you’re going to live with. And as a Peace Corps volunteer, you are very much reliant on your community to take care of you and teach you and that was jarring. I think it’s jarring for a lot of folks who go abroad for service work. They’ve, there’s this idea that, you know, we go and we save, or we help. But really, going with a mindset of humility, and learning and growth, I think is much more important. And so I had to sort of adjust my worldview in a lot of ways and recognize that, you know, I had never really thought about, oh, gosh, you know, I’m gonna go help a community. In every community, there are people who are unkind, who lie, who, who cheat, who steal, etc. And I don’t know why I think part of my my upbringing was thinking, well, if people are underprivileged, they’re all nice all the time. And it’s just a community like any other. So I thought that was really interesting to go and experience, you know, humanity in a different context. And recognize that a lot of the preconceptions I had about about other parts of the world were completely wrong. And so it was perfect learning and growth. For me, that’s exactly what I needed.
Michael Hingson 07:52
Interesting kind of way to put it when you talk about underprivileged and so on. Do you think today that there is underprivileged other parts of the world as you thought they were, when you were first starting out in the Peace Corps,
Nick Bayard 08:06
I think the biggest blind spot I had was really on, it wasn’t even so much about global issues, it was about American history. And as I’ve, as I’ve grown, you know, and, and gotten older, the extent of the, the blind spots I had around race and racism in America, have really driven sort of this last 10 years of my my life and my career, really, from a place of just, you know, feeling like I was robbed of an understanding of how formative racism was at the at the heart of how the country was born, and how it’s evolved, and how it’s progressed, and why certain communities experienced the conditions that they do. And so that’s something that I’ve really worked hard at to understand, because it’s not history that I got in school, it’s not history that I heard about in my community, you know, as I came to find out, that’s very much by design. And so I, I don’t blame myself for it. But I recognize the responsibility I have to keep to always keep learning and growing. Yeah.
Michael Hingson 09:19
Well, I think that we do oftentimes find that there. Are there any number of people who think well, we’re so much better off than than they are. And I think it depends on what you mean, by better off if you think about the world being more technologically advanced, we have access to more technologies and more creature comforts, in some ways. Anyway, there’s probably some truth to that. But when you get down into community, you get down into family and you get to dealing with those concepts, and the closeness and the loyalty that that people have. That’s a whole different animal and it’s not necessarily at all clear that we’re really any better off as, as well as some people, at least from what I’ve heard and learned?
Nick Bayard 10:05
Yeah, I think back to, you know, I developed some really important friendships in Paraguay and really got close to folks in a way that can’t really compare it to some of the friendships I’ve had in America even just because the cross cultural cross language divide, bridging, that is a powerful thing. And I’ve, I think I laughed more in Paraguay than I, I ever have in a similar stretch of time and in America, because there’s, there’s a sense of humor and a lightness in the Paraguayan culture that I experienced that it’s just delightful. And, you know, there’s, I hosted a weekly radio show. And every week, folks would, would give me jokes to tell in the, in the native language, Guarani. And it was, you know, on the radio show, we talked about things like, you know, the environment and agriculture and green manures and things like that. But the thing that really stood out to people are the jokes, because they, there were things that people connected with, and sense of humor is just a really important part of the culture. So it was, it was just interesting to to experience that the joy of being there with folks who really, really did not have infrastructure around them. Shiny water, paved roads, things like that. Just just having a great time in life. That that was a good, a good lesson for me.
Michael Hingson 11:47
Yeah. And oftentimes, I think, here in this country, we don’t slow down and stop and think about life. And that’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot. And we’re actually going to talk about it in the new book that I’m writing, which tentatively is titled The Guide Dogs Guide to Being brave, but it’s about taking time each day to stop and really think about what you did that day, what worked, what didn’t and just thinking about life, we don’t meditate nearly enough, do we?
Nick Bayard 12:17
And you can say that, again, I don’t know if you have any, go two ways to remind yourself, that’s something I struggle with is just actually committing to a pause until I feel like I really need it. I don’t know if you if you have any insight,
Michael Hingson 12:36
you know, what we’re what we’re talking about in the book are several different techniques that can help. One thing that I find a lot of people use our vision boards and treasure mapping and visioning, where you put something up on a refrigerator, or somewhere to remind you of something like if you’re going to take a vacation. And you want to really keep in the mindset of getting prepared for that you put a picture of like if you’re going to go to Hawaii, you put a picture of Hawaii up well, you can do the same thing with with what we’re talking about here, you can put up something around the house that says Don’t forget to meditate at the end of the day, or when you when you get into bed before you turn off the light. If there’s someplace that you normally look, put there a note, don’t forget to take five minutes or 10 minutes to meditate. And you can put reminders up to do that. And what eventually happens, if you do it, and are consistent about it, you’ll create a mindset that will cause you to automatically do it. And you’ll be able to go more into a mode of of meditating. I took a course in transcendental meditation in college. And what they suggested was this make it a habit to get up 20 minutes early and meditate in the morning or and take and set up a time to do it at night. Nowadays, we have other ways to help with visioning. I, for example, put a lot of reminders in my little Amazon Echo device, I got to be careful of what I say or she’s going to talk to me, but But I I put reminders in of things that I want to do not just about meetings on the calendar, but other things. And that’s another way to vision it doesn’t have to be from an eyesight standpoint. So you if you have an echo, you can tell it to remind you at 11 o’clock every night hey, go meditate for 10 minutes. I mean, there are a lot of ways to use technology and techniques to create a visioning environment to get you into the habit of doing something.
Nick Bayard 14:46
That’s great. Yeah, I My My issue is I think I have to keep coming up with new ways to get my attention but get my own attention. Sort of like exactly how sometimes the sign word Some other times, I feel like I need up a sign that all kind of slapped me in the face. Because I’m not, I’m not willing to listen to what my my past self had reminded me to do. Well, that’s
Michael Hingson 15:11
why I like the idea of the echo device. And I can tell it to we have several echo devices around the house. So I can have the reminder play on every echo device as well, so that it will remind me wherever I am in the house that you can’t escape it. For me, I’m pretty much in the habit of doing it all the time. But still, having the reminder doesn’t hurt. Right, right, right. So there are a lot of ways to give yourself a reminder to do something that will force you to at least for the second set, it’s on to listen, and hopefully that will help you move forward and doing what it is you want to do. And taking time really to stop and or at least slow down and think a little bit is always an important thing to do.
Nick Bayard 16:03
Hmm. Yeah, I think one of the challenges of work from home is there’s, there’s folks that do that is less, less travel, less transition. And so it’s easy for things to kind of pile up and go just back to back to back. And it’s like, oh, let me actually go into the other room here and sit down for a minute and or take a walk outside. That’s Those are good reminders.
Michael Hingson 16:29
Yeah. And those can be verbal with an echo device, you can send yourself a calendar invite that just remind you, every day, it’s such and such a time, take the time to go off and do something and you know, you may not be able to do it right at that moment. But the reminder is still there. And by having something that forces you to at least think about it that is reminders in various formats and forms. That helps. All right, right. So we can take the time to do it. The problem that I think we mostly have is, oh, I just don’t have time to do that. I’ve got to get this done or that done. Yeah, we do have time. Mental health is one of the most important thing, if not the most important thing that we can be doing for ourselves that we normally don’t pay attention to. But in reality, we can make work for us.
Nick Bayard 17:22
For sure, for sure. I think that’s that’s originally actually what drew me in to burn out which is, which is the organization where I am. And it’s a the flagship show that we run on radio stations, and our podcast is it’s called burnout daily, that people probably know it as burnout. It’s a minute, 45 seconds, and it’s got a catchy theme song that invites you in and invites you to pay attention to the lives of burns for just Just a minute, 45 seconds. And that seems to be enough time that you can go deeply into something but not so much time that you you can’t justify just sitting there and listening. Which is originally why you know why I came to love the program so much. Well,
Michael Hingson 18:15
how long were you in the Peace Corps?
Nick Bayard 18:17
I was there for I did a a two year volunteer service term. And then I stayed on for an additional year to be the coordinator of the environment sector.
Michael Hingson 18:28
Where the volunteers were was that. I’m sorry, where was that? Where did you do that?
Nick Bayard 18:34
In Paraguay? Okay, one of two landlocked countries in South America and the other?
Michael Hingson 18:40
Yeah. Right. Yeah, there’s a lot of water around South America.
Nick Bayard 18:46
Yeah. You know, and, unfortunately, if Paraguay has not been, as that benefited from a lot of the natural resources on the continent, partly due to the, you know, the history of war, there was a major war that Paraguay found itself in against Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, and it just turned into an actual massacre of genocide. It was, I think it was just after the US Civil War ended, or it was right around that time, and something like 80% of all boys and men are killed. And then the country shrunk. And then it was President Rutherford B. Hayes who brokered an agreement to give Paraguay back some of its land and so there’s actually a county in Paraguay called President Hays County or it’s been caught, but as they didn’t they i Yes. And so I saw more busts and sort of recognitions of President Hayes in Paraguay than I ever expected to see anywhere. It’s really interesting.
Michael Hingson 19:57
There’s a historic fact I didn’t know Cool. And that’s, that’s a good thing. And and we do have a Paraguay today. And so you spent time in the Peace Corps there, which is always a good thing.
Nick Bayard 20:10
Yeah. And it was, it was interesting to go and realize that Spanish wouldn’t help me very much. I spoke a little bit of Spanish. I got there. But the Peace Corps trainer is quickly put me into a class to learn the language, quad knee, which is the language that most Paraguayan speak most of the time, and the class itself was taught in Spanish. And so I was just really having a hard time with that one, because I sort of it sort of felt like, you know, trying to use tweezers with oven mitts on it’s like, I barely know what you’re saying, I’m supposed to understand it enough to, to learn a whole new language, it ended up working out really well. But I ended up learning it very well, very, very, very fluently,
Michael Hingson 21:02
but but those first few months were pretty rough. Well, there’s nothing like immersion to force you to learn something, which is going back to what we talked about, as far as giving yourself reminders to take time to think about life. You know, it’s all about immersion.
Nick Bayard 21:18
Yeah, that the other really surprising thing that happened when I was first arriving in Paraguay was I was I was just starting to go bald. And I was dealing with all the emotions around that. And having a hard time with that, and, and some of the folks in my community where I was training, would ask me about it, and prod me about it, and even make fun of me about it. And so I, I realized, okay, if I’m gonna be able to have a snappy comeback or something, I’ve got a, I got to figure this out, because I just, I’m having a hard enough time with this already. And just to have people kind of prodding me in on something that I’m sensitive about, you know, I, I need to learn to communicate here.
Michael Hingson 22:03
Also a good way to maybe pick up some more jokes for a future radio program.
Nick Bayard 22:09
Yeah, exactly, exactly.
Michael Hingson 22:12
So what did you do after the Peace Corps?
Nick Bayard 22:15
Well, I came back to the US and wanted to be in DC, because that’s where a lot of international development work was, was based, but actually ended up working for a nonprofit that develops high quality preschools in low income neighborhoods, called appletree. Institute, and help help them raise money and develop new schools. In areas where there hadn’t traditionally been been very effective schools. And, you know, it was there that I really learned how to how to pitch an organization to funders. It was a, it was a fundraising role. And so that was really valuable for me, because I got to really understand how, you know what, what’s compelling to people who might want to give and what is fundraising other than really giving somebody the opportunity to support something maybe they didn’t know that they wanted to support. So I came to really enjoy fundraising and realize that if it’s for something that I care about, it’s it’s a great opportunity for me and for the people that I connect with to to make the world a better place.
Michael Hingson 23:30
Yeah. How long did you do that?
Nick Bayard 23:33
I was there for two years. After about a year and a half, I felt like, Okay, I’ve kind of plateaued in this role, I’m going to apply to grad school, I got a very good score on my GRE and a friend of mine and her dad told her the score, and she said, you could go to Harvard. And I had not thought of that before she said it. And it sort of got the wheels turning, like maybe see what see what Harvard has gone on. And they had a master’s program and Public Administration and International Development, which was really appealing because it was quantitative, heavy. It focused on economics, which everybody in international development just kept saying, you know, you got to have that foundation. And it ended up you know, being a program that the math was so advanced that it was sort of like being hit with a ton of bricks for the first year. You know, and then after the after that first year, I get into take more courses on, you know, things like public speaking and leadership and negotiation and writing, you know, the stuff that now feels a little bit more practical to my day to day, but it was actually that was where I met my wife and so I’m especially glad that that was worked out the way that it did because it completely. It completely, you know, formed every every moment since, you know, since I met Cydia, my wife. So that’s probably the most valuable thing I got from Harvard.
Michael Hingson 25:18
Well that makes makes a lot of sense. So you got your master’s degree was she in the same program,
Nick Bayard 25:23
she was in the School of Education getting she was getting her second master’s degree. She had gotten a master’s degree from the school for international training. And this master’s degree was in learning and teaching at Harvard Graduate School of Education. And everybody at Harvard was just kind of blown away by her and what she knew about learning and teaching. Because she’d done it for so long understood it so well. And I think a lot of her classmates more and more from her than they did from some of the professors, to be honest. So she’s she, she really understands how people learn better than anyone I’ve, I’ve met. And she’s she’s really helped me whenever I’ve given a training or had I sort of convey a concept to a group. Well just
Michael Hingson 26:16
give her permission to remind you every day to take some time to meditate and think about life. And I bet you’ll have the habit in no time. I bet you’re right. Wives, wives do that. And that’s a blessing. So sure. So they’re, and all that math. Well, everything needs math in one way or another. But I can appreciate the fact that once you survive the math, and sometimes I wonder when, when colleges and universities do those things that you don’t expect, like in a program, like you’re thinking of giving you so much math, or when I was at UC Irvine, the people who went into the bioscience program, before they got to the point of being able to take all of the regular bioscience courses other than introductory courses, they had to take a year of organic chemistry. And a lot of the people in the biocide program, we’re gonna go into med so they were kind of pre med and all that. And what what happened is that people who enrolled in the biocide program at UC Irvine, I know the first year I was there, 1600 people enrolled. And there were 200 left by the end of their sophomore year, because organic chemistry and other courses like that weeded them out. And the bioscience department was very deliberate about insisting that you have to do all that before you can go on, even though and the reality is, of course, you would use that organic chemistry. But still, before you can get to the real practical stuff, you’ve got to be able to deal with the theory. So kind of wonder if they were doing that at Harvard, if that was part of the logic.
Nick Bayard 27:54
I wonder, you know, there’s, you know, you wonder how sadistic some of these design these programs. One of the things that, you know, I feel like our program at Harvard does, you know, as it is it signals to folks who know about that degree, that you can do something very intense and difficult. Even if you don’t end up using a lot of the hard skills, you know, that you you worked on there. So that’s, that’s been valuable for when folks know about that degree program. Anybody who’s been through the Harvard Kennedy School will, I think set up a little straighter when you tell them that you have an NPA ID is that’s that’s the one that it’s really the you know, the gut punch, especially in that first year.
Michael Hingson 28:45
Yeah, well, you survived it and you moved on, what did you do after you got that
Nick Bayard 28:50
degree? I actually spent a year working on music and recognize that like, there probably wouldn’t be a time in a transition period when I’d have the opportunity to, to pursue music was something I’ve always loved and always done for, for, you know, just a full time thing for a while. And so when I when I met Cydia, she had been with our oldest son at the time, she’d come over as a single mom with her son, Wally, to Harvard, they kind of upgraded everything and came to Cambridge. And when I met Cydia, qualia was 10. And so we kind of became a family unit pretty quickly. And obviously when you know when to do it, and I got married, and so one of the things that came of that time we were living in DC was city I said, Why don’t you write a children’s album? And all of a sudden, all this music just started coming out of me, inspired by my conversation was with a query. And so it was really quite a fun time to, to be able to talk to him and understand his worldview and then write some music based on what I learned. And we, we ended up recording and producing this album together called wishing well. And it became pretty popular on the children’s radio stations. And Wally and I were invited to be showcased performers at the world’s only at the time Children’s Music Conference. kindy calm, and at the time, we were the only act that had an actual kit, and you know, in the group, so that was quite a special time. And you know, we moved back out to cometa to put a trailer back in his his school he had been in, but we stayed on the East Coast for a year and did music and, you know, made some memories.
Michael Hingson 30:54
What good memories Wow, that’s pretty amazing. I’m going to have to go look for the album.
Nick Bayard 31:00
Yeah, it was it was a surprise. To me, I had never thought of writing or recording children’s music till Cydia suggested it. And I’ve, you know, I loved music as a kid Rafi has always been a hero of mine. And things kind of came full circle when I had a chance to take. Now our two youngest kids, we have four and a six year old to see Rafi alive. Just before the pandemic hit, we had a chance to meet him and give him a hug. And it just the you know, the the waterworks were turned on I it was more emotional than I expected it to be he so what did you do after music. That was we came out to Tacoma. And I was basically, you know, trying to figure out my place in this community and had a lot of meetings with folks and learned about an opening for the director of a social service organization that was working to support youth and young adults who were struggling with education and employment or housing, mental health, substance use disorders. And getting that job and really trying to build this thing into something that was, you know, trusted by young people and offered as many services as we can offer in one place. Because the young folks that have been burned by institutions are a lot less likely to trust institutions. And so we, as an institution could could help start to rebuild that trust a little bit by creating a space where people were, were welcomed and felt accepted, felt represented, and really could could be put on a path towards success, then we can make a big difference. And so it was a it was about as there for about five years, and we were able to increase mental health services on site, we were able to expand the the housing options for young people experiencing homelessness for our county. And we’re able to really start the conversation around how institutional racism in the nonprofit sector is, is making our nonprofits not only in some cases, not effective, but in other cases, actually, the perpetuators of harm and so that’s, that’s something that I’m really pleased came out of that experience was was an opportunity to lead some of those conversations and be part of some of those efforts to to make it tough to make a change in the sector in terms of racial equity.
Michael Hingson 33:56
What made you go out to Tacoma in general,
Nick Bayard 34:00
well Cydia and equate my my wife and oldest son before I met them, they had been here my wife was born in eastern Washington and grew up in Tacoma. And so they had had they had a wife here before they went east to, to for city to get her second master’s. And so we, you know, quaintly had his friends back here and I liked what I knew of Washington and so we decided to come out here and start a life together as a family. Less snow than the East Coast. Yes, sadly for me, but happily for much others in my family, who aren’t as as big snow fans as I am,
Michael Hingson 34:47
but still get to snow.
Nick Bayard 34:49
We can. That’s true. That’s true. But it’s a wonderful place to raise a family just because it’s it is like you said you can get to almost anything Whether it’s you know, the city, whether it is performing arts, venues, nature hikes, mountains, rivers, lakes, the ocean, you know, it’s just, it’s just great. And it’s sort of like the home that I never knew I wanted.
Michael Hingson 35:20
And I’ll bet being in Washington, you even know where Gonzaga University is where everyone else only knows once a year during basketball season.
Nick Bayard 35:28
That’s right, we have some fierce, fiercely loyal folks, you know, in those, you know, in those in those fights, and I try to stay out of it. Yeah, the sports. The sports debates,
Michael Hingson 35:45
I had the honor of being invited to speak at Gonzaga several years ago, it was a lot of fun, and very much enjoyed being up there. So that’s great. I’ve spent a lot of time around various places in Washington, which is always a good thing. We love Washington. Although we we love Victorville where we are we love it, especially because our house is very accessible, we built the house so that it’s accessible for my wife. And so we can’t complain. And then as you said, working at home, you know, you have all the things that you got to do. But we can create schedules and set it up to work, right. So it works out very well for us. So we’re, we’re pretty, we’re pleased.
Nick Bayard 36:25
That’s great. I’m curious if you, if you have any reflections on, you know, the people in Washington versus the folks where you are, one of the things I learned when I came out was that, that there’s just sort of this, this norm of, it’s okay to just start talking to somebody without even sort of an intro, sort of like you’d be at the supermarket and you can just, you can enter the middle of a conversation with somebody you’ve never met. I don’t know if that was your experience when he came out here.
Michael Hingson 36:55
It was, and there are parts of California where you can do some of that. But I think the whole world is changing, we’re getting to be such a polarized world, because of things that are happening in politics, that shouldn’t happen, that people aren’t talking to each other nearly as much as they used to, I don’t know whether you’re finding that out there. But we are seeing a lot more of it down here than we used to,
Nick Bayard 37:19
I find myself a lot more closed off. For a couple of reasons. One being, I still mask most places I go. And I also wear hearing aids. And so the combination of the mask and hearing loss, and, you know, just the mechanics of that, and then if somebody else is wearing a mask, it makes it really hard for me to, to hear what they’re saying. Because I can’t read their lips. And at the same time also, like, being a little bit wary of, you know, being around folks for too long and close environments. We’ve been lucky with COVID we haven’t, haven’t had it, but just, you know, I’m looking forward to, you know, science, figuring out more about how to how to prevent it, how to treat it, how to deal with long COVID, that kind of stuff. So yes, I’ve I’ve not been as gregarious as I think I always used to be. But I hope to get back to that at some point.
Michael Hingson 38:21
We have stayed pretty close to home, I’ve traveled a few times to speak, done a lot of virtual things, but we stay pretty close to home, just because it is safer. And you know, we can cope with that we we are pretty good at being flexible about things changing. And when people talk about getting back to normal. That just is never going to happen. And I first thought about that after September 11. Because people kept saying after September 11 With all the things that were going on and government being closed for a week and airports being closed and all that and just all the discussions and people started saying we got to get back to normal. And it was very frustrating to me. And I finally realized that it was frustrating, because normal will never be the same again.
Nick Bayard 39:09
Right. Right. And and what opportunities do we have to identify what what was bad about the old normal that we can we can change. One of the I think real blessings over the last few years has been people have been forced or and invited, I think to to examine how they’re spending their time, what they give their time and effort to. And I see people being bolder about pursuing what they love and spending more time with their families. And I think that’s a wonderful byproduct of what’s been a really difficult couple of years.
Michael Hingson 39:53
Yeah. And I hope that that trend will continue in that path. People will recognize that, and that companies and bosses and leaders will recognize that there’s value in letting people do that, because it’ll be much better for their mental health. Absolutely. Well, you ended up going at least for a while into city government in Tacoma, right?
Nick Bayard 40:17
I did, I was the assistant chief equity officer in the Office of Equity and Human Rights, which is charged with supporting equitable representation in the workforce. Making sure that our community outreach is is, is really robust, making sure that policies and procedures are equitable, and, and that they recognize the harm that’s been done over over decades, you know, against certain groups, and so it’s, it’s an office that I have a ton of respect for, and I was really happy to be able to serve for for a couple of years. And it was really, I think, it’s really valuable to, to go back and forth between different sectors to, to be able to keep fresh eyes on things, one of the things I really appreciate being able to do was being able to come into the government role with lots of grassroots community development experience, and having relationships with a lot of folks that a lot of the city employees didn’t have. And so I was able to kind of be a trusted liaison for a lot of those groups and for city staff, and, you know, everybody’s got their own path. But for me, being able to, you know, take that experience, somewhere where it can be of good use is, is important. And that’s that’s also, you know, translated to coming back to the nonprofit sector and going into public media now, is that I’ve got, you know, that perspective of what it’s like to be in government and, you know, as as an entity that reports to, to voters and to community members in a, you know, in the way that in the way that our elections are set up, and the way that our community engagement set up. So it was, it was a, it was quite a valuable experience,
Michael Hingson 42:19
did you in dealing with all of the various issues and aspects around equity? Of course, everybody talks about diversity and so on. But generally, when they do disabilities get left out of that, did you find that you were involved at all or very much in dealing with equity from the standpoint of dealing with persons with disabilities and making sure that they get into the, to the workforce, and that were treated fairly, and so on?
Nick Bayard 42:48
Yes, there actually, prior to my arrival, there had been a long standing Tacoma area commission on disabilities. And most of the members of that commission, if not all, experience, pretty significant disabilities, you know, carry those in their lives. And so our office was charged with being the liaison for that commission. And so whenever there was, the commission would bring a concern or a policy proposal to the city come through our office. One of the projects that was underway that we helped move forward while I was there, was around accessible taxis. And it, it’s a good, it was a good window into just how complex is policy challenges can be. Because, you know, the the elected officials that would have to get put put this into place, you know, had to figure out, we had to figure out how much it costs, we had to figure out where folks would need to go, we had to figure out what it would mean to retrofit a taxi company’s vehicles. And then how Uber and Lyft and others will be involved with that. And it was it’s a multi year process that’s still underway. But what we did was we commissioned a feasibility study, so that we could get a clearer and clearer sense of what the cost and scope would need to be so that the elected officials could make a good decision based on that. Something else that commission accomplished was I’m really proud of, but I didn’t have any personal part of this is that they had the council pass an ordinance to require closed captioning in all places of business, restaurants and so on. So somebody that’s hearing impaired or deaf, would be able to watch TV watch a sports game and know what’s going on in a way that they hadn’t before. So I think the the bigger issues to tackle had to do with accessible housing and accessible streets And, and that kind of thing. And those are those that’s ongoing work. Of course,
Michael Hingson 45:03
other aspects of all that that still don’t get addressed very well are things that deal with with eyesight and things like Braille menus in restaurants. So we’re, now you’ve got many companies that we in one way or another are putting kiosks in their facilities and McDonald’s and McDonald’s is now starting to make those kiosks talk or even accessible voting machines, so that a person who happens to be blind or low vision can go in and use an accessible machine to be able to vote independently. And there are just a lot of challenges like that, that continue to get left out of a lot of the discussions, which is unfortunate.
Nick Bayard 45:47
Very unfortunate. So a question for me is always how do how do we elevate voices like yours and and others? Who? Who oftentimes, I think the, the discussion is it the, the the attention is ends up going on, you know, the, the group or the person that can shout the loudest? Yeah. And so that’s not that shouldn’t be the case, it should be, you know, we should take a look at intersecting issues of privilege and access and figure out, you know, if, if we can redesign our system so that those of us who you know, have the most barriers, or have have an easy time of it, I think we’ll all have an easier time of it, boy struck by the universal design concepts that make things accessible for folks with disabilities, but also make them easier to access for folks without disabilities. It’s hard to argue against a lot of investment and that kind of change, I think.
Michael Hingson 46:54
And therein lies one of the real keys that is that, in reality, a lot of the things that might make life more inclusive for us really would help other people as well. But so many people emphasize just one thing that it makes it more of a challenge, like eyesight, you know, so even and one of my favorite topics I’ve discussed a couple of times on this podcast are the Tesla vehicles were everything is really driven by a touchscreen. And to use not only voice input, what voice output is limited or non existent, there is some voice input to be able to do things. But I as a passenger in a Tesla can’t even work the radio, because it’s all touchscreen driven. That’s really lovely. Except that whoever does it, and the case of a driver, a driver has to look at the screen. And yes, you do have some other capabilities of the Tesla helping with driving. But the reality is that with the state of technology today, people should be watching the road. And we’ve got the technologies to allow us to use other senses. And we don’t do it nearly as much as we should. We have not and we have not embraced in inclusive mindset yet. And when we do, then a lot of the questions that people may have and the concerns that people may have will go away, because they’ll realize that what affects some will really help everyone,
Nick Bayard 48:28
for sure. I think part of the part of the reason we get stuck on some of these things is that we tend to think about things in either or terms like either either you support blind people, or you support immigrants, or you support people of color or you support the LGBTQ community. And there’s these like saying these soI completely separate projects is a recipe for complete failure to make anything change. And I think what we we need to recognize is that every group contains elements of every other group. Correct. And so helping helping one group fully is going to help other groups in different ways and thinking of ways that we can invest in those, you know, in the middle of those Venn diagrams, so that so that everybody benefits. Right.
Michael Hingson 49:30
Well, so you worked in government, and then how did you get to bird note from that?
Nick Bayard 49:35
Well, I’ve always loved birds and been fascinated by their behavior, their anatomy, their resilience, and had had taken some ornithology masters levels classes. I when I was out in Wyoming, and, you know, it hadn’t been at the front of my mind. You know, since I started family hadn’t been out bird watching too much. But then I saw that, you know, the executive director job at burnout had opened up. And it was interesting to me because I didn’t realize that bird note itself was independent of radio stations. As a listener, I always thought the burden out was just part of our either part of our local radio station or part of NPR. But in fact, it’s an independent nonprofit. And so it, it took me seeing the job opening to understand how the organization was set up. And all of a sudden, it I was just very excited about that opportunity. Because, you know, I’d had nonprofit leadership experience, I love birds, I love the burnt out daily show, and the long form podcasts that burned out, produces. And it it seemed to me that it was just a great next step, in terms of in terms of getting to know a new field of public media, in terms of being able to take some skills I’ve learned elsewhere and apply them. And it was, you know, it was it was a job where I didn’t know anyone going into it. And so, you know, a lot of people and myself included, you know, get jobs through, you know, a personal connection, introduce you to somebody, and then you go through an application or interview process. With burnout, it was it was first time recently where I just applied and was invited to interview. And so in that way, it was, it was gratifying, just not that I, you know, not that there’s anything wrong with, you know, having those connections, but, you know, it’s It felt good to just apply and just on the nature of what they saw, have them give me a call and,
Michael Hingson 51:58
and asked me to, to interview. And the rest is sort of history.
Nick Bayard 52:05
That’s right. That’s right, as coming up on one year and November.
Michael Hingson 52:08
So tell us a little about bird note, I’d appreciate knowing more about what exactly the organization is, what it does, and so on.
Nick Bayard 52:17
Sure, we’re an independent public media nonprofit organization that’s been around since 2005. And it it started really, as a as a radio program under the auspices of Seattle Audubon. And eventually, after a few years it, it became its own nonprofit. And it started really with this vision that the founders vision was to produce a short, sound rich audio experience for radio listeners about birds. And it’s just become a really beloved institution in the areas where it’s broadcast. And it it’s now we’ve got the flagship show is the minute 45 second show, copper note daily that broadcasts in about 250 public radio stations across the US. We’ve got long form podcasts, those are called threatened and bring birds back. And we do virtual events and things that most listeners know us for burning out daily. Because that’s our biggest audience. We’ve got, we think around 5 million daily listeners to that show. And so what’s really powerful about that, is that we’re able to, I believe, create a mindset shift for all of those folks, in terms of inviting them to slow down, pay attention to nature, learn something amazing about birds, and hopefully get inspired to spend more time with nature, with birds, and to the point where we hope we inspire action. For conservation, whether that’s something simple, like the way that you live your life, the way that you set up your bird feeders, the way that you turn off your lights during migration season, those kinds of things, all the way up to advocating for more federal legislation for conservation. You know, we hear from listeners that we we have changed their lives, which is really amazing to hear that we’ve inspired people to to pursue careers in ornithology bird science, that we have helped people with mental health. People say that the show calms them down. It’s something that they look forward to every day. And I think the really, really big opportunity we have is to continue showcasing and diversifying people from every background on the show and stories that reflects different kinds of knowledge. folks that aren’t, you know, this the the typical profile of somebody who’s been centered a conservation over the last 100 years. white male, able bodied person recognize that every group is connected to burns and has a love of, of burning in the outdoors. And we have an opportunity to elevate those stories that haven’t been elevated, you know, over over our country’s history, which is, I think, very powerful.
Michael Hingson 55:20
So what is the typical one minute 45 second show, like what happens?
Nick Bayard 55:27
Well, sometimes we we start with our theme song, which I’m not going to attempt to recreate with my voice here on burnout.org. And hear that it’s a it’s a very short, little, just very catchy, you know, couple of seconds thing and then you’ll hear the narrator say, this is bird note. And then you’ll hear the sound of birds usually, and the narrator will talk you through what you’re hearing. And well explained something about the birds behavior, something that we you know, we’re learning about the birds something that scientists have just figured out, that kind of thing, then we’ll take you back to the sounds of the birds, and then maybe one or two more pieces of information. And then from time to time, well, well let folks know what they can do to to learn more or to connect or to you know, to to make a difference for birds. This morning show was about the white Bennett storm petrel, which is a seabird lives off the coast of Chile and Peru. And it lives most of its life just over the water. And it took scientists eight years to figure out that this storm petrol actually nests about 50 miles inland and the desert and part of the continent that people describe as looking like the surface of bars. So anytime we can, we can drop in some surprising fun tidbits of information for our listeners, we love to do that too. So is bird node, a standard 501 C three nonprofit it is. And if you’ve got a burden on.org, you can learn more about how to get our email list, which gives you a sneak preview of all of our daily or weekly shows. You can support bird note, we, we we rely on the generosity of listeners to do what we do. And so, you know, unlike a radio station public radio station, which does a fun to drive every couple of years, or sorry, a couple times a year, we we are asking listeners over social media and have our email list to support us with gifts. And we’re fortunate to have a lot of generous listeners who donate monthly and who give annually. And one of the services that we’ve created is something called Bird note plus, where you can subscribe at a different level of monthly giving to get ad free podcasts and get access to special events and get early access to shows and so if there any podcast fans or bird lovers out there that want to check out bird note plus, I would encourage them to do that.
Michael Hingson 58:19
I would as well. It it sounds like a lot of fun. I have not I guess either been up at the right time or whatever have not heard bird no daily here so I’m going to have to go set up a reminder to go listen on the website, I guess every
Nick Bayard 58:34
day. Please do. Yes, you can subscribe anywhere you can podcasts, you can subscribe to the sempurna daily, something that’s really exciting as we just launched burnout en Espanol. So it’s our first dual language production. So there’s a new podcast feed for burnout and Espanyol where it’s it’s the same experience of the English burden on daily but in Spanish and speaking with folks in and in it throughout the Americas that are doing conservation work. In conversation in Spanish, it’s, I think a really great opportunity for us to broaden our audience throughout the Americas. And then our our long form podcasts you can also find anywhere you get podcasts or bring birds back is is I think there’s just a really special program that’s hosted by a woman named Tanisha Hamilton who models her entry into birding and you just feel the enthusiasm and excitement as she gets into this and talks about things like what it’s like to be a black woman birder what it’s like to find your own community and birding. You know, how do people with disabilities? What are some of the technologies that they can use to get out and look at birds there and then there are different sort of species specific Two episodes, one of the really popular ones is about the purple Martin, which, which has an amazing history of interplay with with Native American communities and, and carried forward today where people will become what they call purple Martin landlords and create houses for them and just it’s just a great story. Great, great program. And then our we have a field based long form podcast called threatened, which is hosted by already Daniel who’s on NPR science desk now, and that’s about going to the place they’re doing in depth work to understand the conservation challenges birds are facing. And so that that podcast is coming out with new episodes in January, focused on Puerto Rico and island habitats. We just wrapped up the season on Hawaii, which was, which was really fascinating.
Michael Hingson 1:00:57
Well, I, I’m gonna go listen, I It will be fun to go do that. Well, if people want to reach out and learn more about you and burden on I assume they can go to bird node.org. But how can they contact you and learn more?
Nick Bayard 1:01:11
Sure they can. They can email me directly at Nick B. At bird note dot org. Always happy to chat. If it’s a general bird note inquiry, you can email info at bird note.org We get a lot of people writing in with bird questions. You know, how do we get burned out on our local radio station, that kind of thing. We love to hear those kinds of questions because it helps us connect with new audiences and new radio stations. And, you know, I’m hopeful that we can grow the broadcasts range of Berto because right now we brought about 250 radio stations. But if if we were to, you know, get broadcasts on some of the bigger stations, we could double or triple our audience overnight, which would be, which would be amazing. And it’s just a minute 45 seconds. So it’s not exactly like a huge investment. I understand that, that time is a finite resource on radio, but I just I don’t think there’s any good reason why every radio station shouldn’t play Burnin Up
Michael Hingson 1:02:18
is short Is it is it makes perfect sense to do. Well, I, I find it fascinating and I hope everyone listening to us today will find it fascinating as well. And that they will reach out to you I think it will be beneficial. And as I said, I’m gonna go make it a habit, I think I can easily do that minute and 45 seconds is just not that long. It’s not a big ask just and it’s such a such a joyful
Nick Bayard 1:02:47
show. You know, I came into this job as a huge fan, and just have become an even bigger fan, just, you know, getting under the hood and understanding everything that goes into developing creating and producing these shows. So I just feel really lucky to be doing what I do and lucky to have the chance to try to share it with as many people as I can and lucky to ask people to write us check some of sign up to God because that’s that’s what, that’s what keeps us producing the stories and what what allows us to keep growing?
Michael Hingson 1:03:27
Well, I’m gonna go check out bird note.org. And a little bit more detail. Do you know if the website designer paid any attention to or spend any time making sure that it’s accessible and put an accessibility kinds of elements to the site? And or do you know if they’ve done that?
Nick Bayard 1:03:42
We’ve done a, we our web developer ran an accessibility audit. I need to dig into the details around which aspects are good and which are bad. They told us we got a 91% score.
Michael Hingson 1:03:58
That’s pretty good.
Nick Bayard 1:03:59
I think yeah, I think it’s pretty good. That’s you know, there’s always, always room for improvement. One of the things that we were early early adopters of is the the transcripts of every episode on how to be really descriptive in those but I know that we’ve got got work to do and would welcome any, any feedback you have for sure when you when you go and check it out.
Michael Hingson 1:04:26
We’ll do it. And I will definitely communicate either way. Well, Nick, thanks again for being with us. This has been fun and fascinating. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and and we really appreciate you coming on and we hope you’ll be back and update us as burnout progresses.
Nick Bayard 1:04:44
Well, thanks so much, Michael. And I just want to say I’m really inspired by you and your story and I was just thrilled to hear from you and get the invitation to talk. So it’s been just a really wonderful Expo. grandson a great honor to be able to chat with you today.
Michael Hingson 1:05:03
Well, my pleasure as well. And for all of you out there listening, please reach out to Nick, please learn more about bird note. And we hope that you’ll give us a five star rating wherever you’re listening to the podcast. We really appreciate you doing that. I’d love to hear your comments, please feel free to email me at Michaelhi at accessibe.com A C C E S S I B E, or go to our podcast page, Michael hingson.com/podcast. But either way, I would appreciate your five star review would appreciate your comments. And Nick, for you and for everyone listening if you know of anyone else who you think ought to be a guest on unstoppable mindset. We’d love to hear from you about that as well. So thanks for listening. And Nick once more. Thank you very much for being a part of us today and our podcast. Thanks so much.
Michael Hingson 1:05:55
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.