As noted on this website under the navigation bar Community>Current Projects>BirdSleuth, we hope to help implement this Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology environmental education program in San Vito in some way, shape or form. To begin this process — and to familiarize us with the course material and classes — a day-long workshop for Spanish speakers was help at Las Cruces on Sunday, May 13, led by Lilly Briggs a Cornell PhD student in the Department of Natural Resources, and Jennifer Fee, the Lab of O’s Manager of K-12 Programs.
Las Cruces Biologist Ariadna Sanchez spent months planning and organizing the workshop and, to judge by the participants enthusiastic reaction, it was an enormous success. Nearly half of the registrants were teachers from elementary and high schools. Almost everyone else had taken the recently-offered OTS Naturalist Guide Course.
This educational program is geared toward teaching children to engage in and enjoy science. It is all about discovery and learning to record data, using Bird Journals and Cornell’s amazing public database, eBird. It’s also about having fun with hands-on activities that include making a personal bird journal, drawing and studying birds, learning bird families by sight and, finally, counting species and individuals.
During the nine completed classes, students play the Bird Survivor! Game and the Migration Game, both of which teach about migratory birds’ perilous lives as they fly north from Central and South America to breed and south from North America to return home. These games also lead students to think about social connections as they learn to view birds as international citizens. The concept of global cooperation can be well understood by connecting students from different countries that share the same species of birds.
Perhaps even more importantly, this program is about empowering children to find solutions to the critical issue of bird (and other wildlife) conservation: becoming Citizen Scientists and helping to solve problems on local, national and international scales. One of the most important classes focuses on creating a local Conservation Project and carrying it out.
BirdSleuth-International could be offered here as an ‘after-school Bird Club’: basically, an extended learning program. Or it could be used as the curriculum for a week-long or two-week Summer Day Camp. Or in some different way, that we have not yet discovered.
As we move forward with this exciting project, we will need the help of all our members in the form of creative ideas, financial support and local volunteer action. Please let us know how YOU can help by clicking on contact us!