Discover Birds Program

Inspired by the Discover Birds Activity Book and a desire to give classroom students and their teachers a lasting introduction to birds, the Knoxville Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society initiated the donation of books to area classrooms and added guided “bird walks” to introduce students to birds.

From this simple idea, the Discover Birds Program developed.  Along with donating books to classrooms (all of the students in a single grade level), a team of volunteers visits the school to present a three-part program about birds.  On a rotating schedule, students experience a slide show presentation of Tennessee birds and their songs; enjoy a show-and-tell treasure chest of bird related items, including talons, feathers and nests; and learn to identify the birds in their school yard through guided bird walks with close-up views of birds through birding telescopes.

Students get to see the color of a bird’s beak, the color of their eyes, and sometimes get to view birds incubating eggs on the nest, all without disturbing the bird.

In 2012, the Discover Birds Program reached nearly 400 students in the east Tennessee area.

Here is what Sarah Green, teacher at Sevierville Primary School, had to say after the program visited her school:
“…thanks so much for all your efforts. I still have students stop me in the hall and tell me that they have put a bird feeder up for the first time, or they have seen a bird that you all introduced them to.  You’ve changed lives, and I thank you for that.  Please come back to our school.”

For more information about this program, how to arrange a Discover Birds visit to your school, or learn how to become a Discover Birds volunteer, contact Billie Cantwell at:

You may also enjoy visiting the Discover Birds Blog to see photos and descriptions of recent school visits and student activities.

Discover Birds Activity Book

Sponsored by the Tennessee Ornithological Society and written and illustrated by Vickie Henderson, the thirty-six page Discover Birds Activity Book is designed to inspire the student’s curiosity and creativity while presenting facts that make birds unique among all wildlife.

Printed books are available through the Tennessee Ornithological Society.   Contact Cyndi Routledge at:

To download a copy of the book free, visit the Discover Birds page at the Tennessee Ornithological Society website.

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