Sunday, September 20, 2015

Discover Birds Inspires Second Grade Art and Research!

In May of 2015, the KTOS Discover Birds Program visited Sevierville Primary School for the third consecutive year, enjoying an outstanding morning Discovering Birds with 280 second graders and their teachers.

You may enjoy seeing our morning activities, including a low pass over our heads by a magnificent Bald Eagle at  Sevierville Primary 2015.  This posts revisits that day to show you how some of the students got ready for our visit!
As the program was coming to a close, Ms Kathy Porter, second grade teacher, caught my attention and showed me a bulletin board filled with her students' art and research.  I was so happy she showed it to me!
In preparation for our upcoming Discover Birds Program, her students each selected a bird from anywhere in the world, researched the bird on the internet, drew the bird and wrote about what they learned.  The results of their efforts were beautifully displayed as "Birds of a Feather Flock Together!"

I wanted to read every word and savor the art the way I would a gallery of art in a museum! Everyone's work was so creative!  I will share a few of them here, but they were all wonderful!
Hummingbirds were a favorite bird selected.  "Let me tell you about hummingbirds." one artist wrote. "A hummingbird sings with its wings."

"Some hover like bees." another wrote.  "They lick nectar with its quick tongues.  Bugs get licked too."

Some of the birds chosen were selected for their unique feathers or behavior.
"Male Peacocks find an enemy and they shoot their feathers up and it looks [like] eyes watching them."

"A Roseate Spoonbill is a wading bird.  It has long legs to keep it high above the water.  It also has a big beak to help it catch fish....A Roseate Spoonbill swings its beak underwater."

"The Yellow-billed Woodpecker eats only ticks and other bugs [on the animals] it rides.  The animals it rides are giraffes, zebras and oxen.  The Yellow-billed Woodpecker lives in Africa because the big animals it rides live there....They clean the heads of the animals they ride."
"Wild parrots live in North America, South America, Australia, Asia and Africa.  The Macaws are the biggest parrots.  Wild parrots screech when they try to talk....Many parrots wear brilliant green, yellow, red and blue."

"Flamingos are pink and reddish.  They live in Asia, Africa and North America.  They live near mud and water.  Flamingos like to sit in water."

A big thank you to Sevierville Primary School and Ms Porter for sharing their students' creative work with us!

Links and Resources:

Discover Birds Visits Sevierville Primary School
Sevierville Primary School
Discover Birds Activity Book
Discover Birds Curriculum Guide
Discover Birds in the Tennessee Conservationist

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Discover Birds Participates in July Youth Naturalists' Rally!

The Friends of Roan Mountain sponsor a summer naturalist rally for youth at Roan Mountain State Park each summer.  Volunteers Brookie and Jean Potter and Joe McGuinness, members of the Herndon Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society, brought the Discover Birds Program to the rally and enjoyed a day of getting children excited about birds!
Photo credit:  Jean Potter

The presentation part of the program included viewing and learning from specimens of birds, bird feathers and nests that were loaned to the program by Milligan College ornithologist, Dr. Gary Wallace.  Larry McDaniels, Steele Creek Park Naturalist, provided binoculars for students to use during their bird walk, and the Herndon bird club provided bird check lists for participants.  
Photo credit:  Jean Potter

A slide show showed birds often seen in the Roan Mountain area, and participants learned about the characteristics that make a bird a bird and what birds need to survive.  The recovery of the Bald Eagle in upper east Tennessee was used as an example of population changes and a species that has been helped locally by conservation efforts.
Bay's Mountain State Park's educational Great Horned Owl was shown to participants during the program.   Photo credit:  Jean Potter

A 30 minute bird walk included some great finds!  Participants got good looks at a Gray Catbird in a marshy area.  Eastern Bluebirds were also present along with Mourning Doves and American Goldfinch.
Gray Catbird    Photo credit:  Cephas/Wiki Commons

In addition to binoculars, a spotting scope was set up and students got close-up views of an American Robin and a Song Sparrow.
Each of the children participating in the program received a free Discover Birds Activity Book provided by the Tennessee Ornithological Society.
Jean reported that the table exhibit set up for the rally attracted a lot of attention from children and parents participating in other programs at the rally.  The Herndon club volunteers were invited to bring Discover Birds back again next year!  Birds and children--a fun combination!
The Discover Birds Activity Book and its curriculum guide are available online at the following link: Discover Birds Activity Book

Links and Resources:

Discover Birds Activity Book
Discover Birds Curriculum Guide
Discover Birds in the Tennessee Conservationist
Tennessee Ornithological Society, Herndon Chapter
Xtreme Roan Adventures--Youth Naturalist's Rally
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