This week I’ve been participating in MIT CoLab’s Storytelling for Planners course. I must admit that it’s felt since the first moment like it was where I’ve always belonged. As you know, I’m committed to helping planners, neighbors, kids and grownups learn and get excited about the world in their own backyards, whether it’s history, personal relationships, architecture, or…local wildlife. So when I started thinking about what the perfect story would be to embody that sense of noticing, of wonder, of finding mystery in the everyday, I naturally thought about my neighborhood turkeys.
I’ve written before about these charismatic urbanfauna and how they can be understood by planners as an example of how surprising interventions can facilitate building social capital. But here, I was thinking about them differently, as local “characters of interest,” subjects of community mythmaking.
That’s all I’ll say. Except: this is my first podcast. And, I hope, it’s a preview of coming attractions. Since so much of this blog is about walking, and pretty much all I do as I’m walking around cities is listen to podcasts, it seems only natural.
Data on turkey populations and behaviors in this podcast comes from the National Wild Turkey Federation, an article by Keith O’Brien in the Boston Globe (October 23, 2007), and one by Scott Wachtler in the Cambridge Tab ( Jul 15, 2011). Beaky and Tammy are on twitter. If you enter the search term “Cambridge Urban Turkeys” into your browser, you’ll find all kinds of footage from around town.
Thanks to my neighbors, who gave me their time and their imaginations. My husband Brian, who was my hunting partner. Many thanks as well to Aditi, Stefanie, and Alexa, the facilitators of the CoLab Storytelling for Planners course, and to my classmates for their thoughtful feedback and technical assistance.
This podcast also appears as a post at MIT CoLab Radio.