Friday, February 10, 2017

Sharing our Discover Birds Activity Books with Cuba

Discover Birds activity books are now in the hands of many of our new Cuban friends and teachers to help children learn about birds.  On a recent trip to Cuba, I along with my Naturalist Journeys traveling companions enjoyed the honor of gifting Discover Birds Activity books to the people who welcomed us into Cuban life and culture.
Coffee grower, Omar Ramirez and Vickie Henderson        Photo by Billie Cantwell

We took both Spanish and English translations of the activity books to share in Cuba.  The printing of the Spanish translation was made possible through a generous donation from Naturalist Journeys. Naturalist Journeys will be taking the books to Cuba and other Spanish speaking countries as they continue to travel throughout 2017.

The printed English books were funded with matching donations from the Tennessee Ornithological Society and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

Our tour of Cuba traveled from Santa Clara to Cayo Coco, to Topes de Collantes and Trinidad, to the Zapata Peninsula and west to Vinales, Soroa, Las Terrazas and Havana. We covered a lot of territory in nine days and had the opportunity to learn about many aspects of Cuban life.  Among my fifteen Naturalist Journeys touring companions were Billie Cantwell and Colin Leonard, also from Knoxville, and fellow members of the Knoxville Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society.

One of our reasons for traveling to Cuba was to see Cuba's beautiful birds, of course! Among many bird species we met the smallest hummingbird in the world, the 2 inch Bee Hummingbird, a bird endemic to Cuba.
We also enjoyed seeing Cuba's national bird, the Cuban Trogon, along with 17 Cuban endemic species and 17 regional endemics found only in the West Indies.
In Las Terrazas we visited a community and it's school.  School was letting out as we arrived and children were skipping rope and playing games as they also headed toward home.

Las Terrazas' school master with Vickie Henderson.      Photo by Billie Cantwell

Otis Campa was our guide for our visit and walking tour of the Las Terrazas community and its school.  He teaches children about birds and conservation and about the value of keeping birds in the wild and out of cages.  We were delighted to present him with activity books both in Spanish and English to use with his students. In the photo, below, we are standing in the area where we also saw an endemic Cuban Kite.
Billie Cantwell, Vickie Henderson, Otis Campa and Otis' son, in Las Terrazas, Cuba.  Photo by Colin Leonard.
On our last day in Havana, we presented books to our Cuban guide, Liudmys Ramirez, and bus driver, Alexis Alfonso, pictured here with Vickie Henderson.  Both Lu and Alexis were with us for the nine days of our tour and made our journey unforgettable.   Photo by Billie Cantwell.

A big thank you to Naturalist Journeys for making the printing of the Spanish books possible!

New Spanish translation
Naturalists Journeys
Discover Birds Activity Book
Discover Birds Curriculum Guide
Discover Birds Program
Visit to Cuba in 2014
Tennessee Ornithological Society
Tennessee Watchable Wildlife sponsored by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Discover Birds visits Nature's Way Montessori

On January 25th, 2017, KTOS Discover Birds volunteers, Tom Howe, Doug Schneeberger and Merikay Waldvogel presented the Discover Birds Program to two student classes and their teachers and aides at Nature's Way Montessori in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Tom gave a slideshow overview of birds showing some of the beauty, uniqueness and variety of birds around us.   Doug showed students the many interesting characteristics of birds, with close-up looks at models of their skeletons, eggs, nests, feathers and other bird-related items.  

After the introductory sessions, students went outside for a guided bird walk to find birds in their school yard.  The best bird sightings for the children were a Pileated Woodpecker and a Red-tailed Hawk circling overhead.
Above, a male Pileated Woodpecker.

All the children received a Discover Birds Activity Book, complements of the Knoxville Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society.  A BIG THANK YOU to our Discover Birds volunteers and Nature's Way Montessori for making this program possible.

To see our previous visits to Nature's Way Montessori, click this link:  Nature's Way

Nature's Way Montessori School
KTOS--Knoxville Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society
KTOS on Facebook
Discover Birds Program
Discover Birds Activity Book
Discover Birds Curriculum Guide
Discover Birds in the Tennessee Conservationist
eBird at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Tennessee Birds
Tennessee Watchable Wildlife--Birds
Cornell's free beginning birding app--Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Audubon Mobile Field Guides

Friday, February 3, 2017

Discover Birds Activity Book in SPANISH!

Inspired by a desire to take activity books to Cuba on a planned visit in 2017 and made possible by a slew of generous volunteers, we now have a Spanish translation of the Discover Birds Activity Book!  
This translation was accomplished by Barbara Routledge of Calera, Oklahoma, a Spanish teacher at Durant Middle School in Durant, Oklahoma.  The translation process took about two months and Barbara expresses gratitude and heartfelt appreciation to students Jhoana Ramirez and Angel Lopez who helped her tremendously.
Jhoana's parents also helped when they got ‘stuck’ translating a phrase or word.  On behalf of Discover Birds and the Tennessee Ornithological Society, we extend a very big thank you to all who helped.  We are indebted to Barbara and her students for their time and perseverance!

The translation was further edited and revised for science-related content by Toby Koosman of the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) in Knoxville, TN.  A big thanks to Toby for her help also.

As with every new edition of the publication, Mindy Fawver of Knoxville is our go-to person for design, arrangement and print-ready format.  We greatly appreciate her dedication to this project!

A big thank you also to Cyndi Routledge of Clarksville, TN, who recruited Barbara for the translation project and coordinated all aspects of printing and shipping!

The Spanish translation is available as a free pdf on the Tennessee Ornithological Society website. The printing of a limited number of books was funded by Naturalist Journeys in December with the goal of taking these books as gifts on birding and naturalist tours to Cuba and other Spanish speaking countries in 2017.  We thank Naturalist Journeys owner, Peg Abbott, for her interest and enthusiasm and for making our first printing of the Spanish translation possible!

To make a request for printed English activity books for your classroom or program, contact Cyndi Routledge at  To download and print a copy of the English version of the activity book, visit:  The Tennessee Ornithological Society--Educational Resources page.

Discover Birds Activity Book
Discover Birds Curriculum Guide
Discover Birds Program
Tennessee Ornithological Society
Tennessee Watchable Wildlife sponsored by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
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