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SoundCamp participant, Oak Matthias, recording the dawn chorus. Photo by Greg McKinney.

I awoke at 5 o’clock in the morning to wriggle out of my sleeping bag and unzip the tent.  I was joined by no more than a dozen other sleepyheads and together we listened to the dawn chorus, the time when birds start to sing, signifying the start of a new day.

International Dawn Chorus Day is an annual event which is held on the first Sunday of May. I celebrated this year’s dawn chorus at SoundCamp. 

SoundCamp is a global event where people gather around campsites to prepare and listen to the dawn chorus. Each campsite records the dawn chorus which is then transmitted by Reveil, a 24 hour broadcast which tracks the sound of daybreak, travelling west from microphone to microphone across the globe.

This year sixteen SoundCamps transmitted the sound of daybreak on International Dawn Chorus Day.  Countries included, Australia, Canada, Estonia, Greece, Slovenija, South Korea and the United States.

The first SoundCamp began with a small gathering of friends and family in 2014, which included co-founder Grant Smith, Now there are close to 20 SoundCamps around the world and the variety and quality of the streams contributed to the Reveil broadcast is extraordinary.”

Grant told Truthful, “This network is created mainly by DIY broadcasters using laptops, phones and Raspberry Pi streamboxes. By sharing sounds of their locations in real time, this transmission community creates a shifting and provisional map for an acoustic commons.”

If you want to get involved or set up your own SoundCamp, visit: http://www.soundtent.org

SoundCamp slideshow (Photography by Greg McKinney)

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The microphone is connected to a tiny Raspberry Pi computer, which enables the campsite to stream an audio signal to a server in London using WiFi, all powered by a solar battery.

The Cornwall SoundCamp took place at End of the World Garden, a two-acre forest garden on the outskirts of Penryn.  It was a mini-festival where we were encouraged to immerse ourselves in the environment whilst enjoying a range of activities, such as foraging for nettles for our evening curry and making pinhole cameras.

End Of the World Garden is owned by artist Paul Chaney, who has for the past 15 years transformed what was once a conventional agricultural field into a forest garden.  The garden is fully autonomous for energy and water by utilising a wind-powered bore hole and solar power.  Trees such as red alder and willow are planted, which can be harvested annually, providing fuel for cooking.   

The site is now being developed into a centre for arts and ecology-based research to practise alternative forms of horticulture.