Friday, October 2, 2015

Creative Learning Academy Students Discover Birds!

On October 1st, Discover Birds volunteers presented the Discover Birds Program to 30 home-schooled students from Creative Learning Academy at the Dean Hill Recreation Center in West Knoxville. 
Above, Discover Birds volunteer Jerry Ledbetter with Creative Academy students.

KTOS members Morton Massey, Doug Schneeberger, Jerry Ledbetter and Merikay Waldvogel presented the program to students from pre-kindergarden to 5th grade on an overcast day.  
The students were divided into three age groups and cycled through the three parts of the program:  a bird slide show, a bird walk, and a hands-on bird show-and-tell activity.  
While Morton showed a slide show about birds inside to one group, Jerry and Merikay gave binoculars to another group of students and demonstrated how to use them.  
Inside, Doug had many bird-related items to show the students, including feathers, bones and skulls that students could pick up and examine closely.
All the students, no matter what age, had lots of questions.  Some had hung bird feeders fashioned from plastic drink bottles and spoons the week before.  
The checklist of birds found included: Carolina Chickadee, Northern Cardinal, American Crow, Blue Jay, Northern Mockingbird, Chimney Swift and Great Blue Heron. We heard a Carolina Wren.  

The best look occurred when the older students climbed to the top of a piece of playground equipment. With their binoculars on their eyes, a Great Blue Heron flew slowly and gracefully by.  
Asked what impressed him the most, Jackson, a 5th grader, said, “I’m impressed with these binoculars. I’m going to use my money and buy some.  I’d go over to the Cove [in Farragut] and look at birds there.”  
Carpenter, who kept spotting birds no one else had seen, also liked the binoculars, and said it was the Great Blue Heron that impressed him the most.
The group's sponsor, Clare Dattilo, and other parents present were impressed with the Discover Birds program activities. Several were birdwatchers themselves.  Each of the students were given a Discover Birds Activity book to take home, presented by the Knoxville Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society and the Discover Birds Program.
Creative Learning Academy meets twice a week at the Dean Hill Recreation Center.  They take advantage of the outdoor environment to study nature, including trees, butterflies, and birds.

A big thank you to our Discover Birds volunteers, and to Merikay Waldvogel for sharing her photographs and details about this event!

Links and Resources:

Creative Learning Academy website
KTOS on Facebook
Discover Birds Program
Discover Birds Activity Book
Discover Birds Curriculum Guide
Discover Birds in the Tennessee Conservationist


  1. Thanks again for volunteering your time to teach our kids! They had a great time and have been looking for birds on the playground since the program. A couple of them even used their own money to buy binoculars!

  2. Thank you KTOS for visiting our co-op. You have helped influence a love of learning to this group of kids. They had so much fun!
    Thanks from the Ford family.


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