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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