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PHOTO COURTESY MEGAN MARTIN A WATCHFUL EYE — Pájaros Sin Fronteras / Borderless Birds director Megan Martin takes some photos in Deltona with some help from her birdwatching helper, Gryffin the dog.

Deltona resident Megan Martin, 31, wears a lot of hats. She’s a Stetson University student studying environmental science, an environmental-management employee with Volusia County, and she is, at least as of last year, a movie director. 

Martin — with the help of friends Jacob Dudley and Carlos Correa Encarnación, scores of Kickstarter donors, and the local chapters of the Audubon Society — directed the hourlong film Pájaros Sin Fronteras / Borderless Birds

The film is, on the surface, about the birds that Puerto Rico and Volusia County residents enjoy in common. Birds like the black-and-white warbler and the indigo bunting, that travel seasonally from Puerto Rico to parts of Central Florida. 

But when Martin and co. traveled to Puerto Rico, spoke to people in communities still affected by recent hurricanes and now dealing with COVID-19, the film became about more than birds.

“Basically, the film’s major call to action is that green spaces are natural solutions that not only improve birds’ resilience, but people’s resilience. It provides birds resilience because it provides habitat, but it’s also really great for us,” Martin told The Beacon. “Even in a pandemic, it’s an outdoor space where we can strengthen our community and our ties to our neighbors. Community is one of those tools that can improve our resilience.”

The film has scenes filmed in Deltona and scenes filmed in Puerto Rico. Martin said bird-watching in Puerto Rico was a great experience.

“I was able to film a black-and-white warbler in my backyard in Deltona, and I was able to film one when I was down in Puerto Rico,” she said. “To me, that was so cool. Theoretically, it could have been the same black-and-white warbler.”

Pájaros Sin Fronteras was recognized earlier this year at the Florida Environmental Film Festival and will also be featured next year at the Central Florida Film Festival in Mount Dora. 

Subtitled in Spanish, the film began as a project for Martin to produce children’s films for Spanish-speaking kids in Deltona, like Encarnación’s little brother. 

Pájaros Sin Fronteras may not have ended up the kids’ movie she intended it to be, but with a little girl of her own on the way, Martin said she’ll get back to that dream, someday.

“How cool would it be if she and I made those together over time?” Martin said. “That’s totally on my radar.”

Martin hopes focusing on populations of birds and the communities of people near them will make more people aware of the importance of maintaining bird habitats.

“Individually, we each have the power to make a difference in this way, even if it’s just a native plant on your apartment balcony, or if you have a yard, that’s an even bigger opportunity to make a difference,” Martin said. “Low-impact development, green space and incorporating green space into our development is important to everyone.”

Pájaros Sin Fronteras is available to watch on YouTube HERE.

PHOTO COURTESY MEGAN MARTIN
ON-SITE — From left are Carlos Correa Encarnación, Dr. Emilio Font and Jacob Dudley while filming Pájaros Sin Fronteras / Borderless Birds in Puerto Rico. Dudley and Encarnación were part of director Megan Martin’s team filming the movie in Deltona and Puerto Rico. Font, the Executive Director of Puerto Rican Ornithological Society, or La Sociedad Ornitológica de Puerto Rico, Inc. Font is among the people featured in the film.

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