Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Discover Birds Program Featured in Tennessee Conservationist Magazine!

The January/February issue of the Tennessee Conservationist Magazine has just arrived in the hands of subscribers and it includes my article on the Discover Birds Program!  
Inspired by the Discover Birds Activity Book, and prompted by a desire to provide young people with a memorable introduction to birds, our team of volunteers from the Knoxville Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Association  began visiting area schools in 2012, donating books to all of the classrooms of a single grade level, and taking students and their teachers through a three-part birding program.   The students are divided into smaller groups and on a rotating schedule, they experience a slide show presentation of Tennessee birds and their songs and a show-and-tell treasure chest of bird related items, such as, talons, feathers and nests. They also learn to identify birds in their schoolyard through guided bird walks with a close-up view of birds through birding telescopes.
As the writer and illustrator of the Discover Birds Activity Book, I am delighted with the program and the excitement I see when children and teachers are introduced to birds in this memorable way.  

The Discover Birds Activity Book includes science, math and language activities contributed by a team of educators including members of the National Intitute of Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, and individual naturalists and educators.  Using actual data from the Geological Survey's annual Breeding Bird Surveys, students learn to graph bird population fluctuations and consider what may be influencing these changes.  Another activity includes a fun decoding math formula to learn which birds are the champions of speed, distance and size.  In other activities, students are introduced to the interesting traits that make birds unique members of the wildlife community and among the most fascinating to observe and study.

A special "thank you" goes to editor, Louise Zepp, for including this article in her award winning magazine published by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation . The issue is available for $3.25 and can be ordered at The Tennessee Conservationist Magazine website.

Discover Birds bird walks have also been offered to scout groups and home education groups.

Visit the Tennessee Ornithological Society's education page to find more information about the program and the Discover Birds Activity Book, including an online version of the book.

For more information about the Discover Birds Program, contact Billie Cantwell at bfcantwell@gmail.com or Cyndi Routledge at routledges@bellsouth.net.  For information about obtaining printed books, contact Cyndi Routledge at routledges@bellsouth.net.

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