Sunday, March 3, 2013

Rocky Hill Elementary Students Discover Birds

On November 16th, 2012, six Knoxville Tennessee Ornithological Society (KTOS) members met at Rocky Hill Elementary School to present the Discover Birds Program to six (all) first grade classes at the school.
Image credit:  Mark Campen

Volunteers Tom Howe, Chris Welsh, Mark Campen and Tony King set up spotting scopes and binoculars outside for one-third of the students, while the rest of the students enjoyed Billie Cantwell's slide show about birds or Paula Schneeberger's bird treasure chest. Each class enjoyed the three separate learning activities as they rotated from one activity to another at the appointed time.
Above, American Robin

The four outside volunteers had small bird walk groups of six to eight children each as they helped the children discover birds around the school yard and view them through binoculars and birding scopes.  Some of the children learned to recognize the bird songs they heard.  Inside, Billie's slide show showed the students how different birds can be with a variety of feather colors, beak sizes and leg lengths, as well as, different
nests and baby birds.  Paula, a naturalist educator, offered a treasure chest of bird items that the children could see up close and explore including bird talons, eggs, feathers and stuffed specimens.
Image credit:  Mark Campen

Each classroom teacher was given a welcome packet developed by Billie Cantwell, including Discover Birds Project information, a sample lesson plan, a 2013 Wild Birds Unlimited calendar and newsletter, a Cornell poster of common feeder birds, Watchable Wildlife items, and a KTOS brochure.  After the program, each student received a Discover Birds Activity book from their teacher.  The cost of the activity books were sponsored by KTOS club member donations.

KTOS Newsletter article describing Rocky Hill Discover Birds Program
Rocky Hill Elementary School
Knoxvile Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society
Tennessee Ornithological Society
Cornell:  American Robin

Discover Birds Activity Book--2013 Expanded Edition

The Discover Birds Activity Book is a fun new children's publication designed to get kids excited about birds!
Sponsored by the Tennessee Ornithological Society and written and illustrated by Vickie Henderson, this thirty-six page expanded version of the original book includes lively illustrations and focuses on fun facts about birds, from what traits make birds special to how ornithologists study bird populations.

For example, do you know how feathers help birds or why birds flock together during winter months?  Or what makes birds look so much bigger on a cold day?
The book includes familiar backyard birds, as well as, other species that migrate south to wintering grounds, including sandhill cranes, whooping cranes and bald eagles. Bird conservation facts are interspersed with interesting information about birds and fun activities to help children remember what they've learned.  The book is targeted at the third grade level and is appropriate for first to sixth grade with younger readers benefiting from assistance.
Author, Vickie Henderson, describes this book:  

"This new expanded version of the Discover Birds Activity Book includes exciting activities contributed by educators in the community, including representatives from The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, and other naturalists and educators.  

Children have curious minds and vivid imaginations.  Show them the fascinating in nature and give them tools for learning, and you have a magical combination with limitless possibilities.  That is what makes the Discover Birds Activity Book an exciting publication.  Its goal is to help students feel excited about birds, and as they participate in the activities, discover their own talents and how they can use them to help birds and the world they live in."  
The book's back cover includes a "Discover Birds" membership card that can be filled out by the student.  That's all it takes to join a community of young citizen scientists that are discovering and helping the world of birds!

The book includes illustrations to color, questions to answer, and activities, including word search, word scramble, draw-a-nest, matching, message decoding, a crossword and others.  A vocabulary list is provided along with a list of books for young readers and websites with more information about birds.  

The Discover Birds Activity Book is a child's introduction to birds and the beginning of a life time of fun and discovery in the outdoors!

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