Birdsleuth Educator Workshop
Tremont Institute recently partnered with Cornell Lab of Ornithology to co-host an educator workshop focused on student-driven experiential education. Cornell Lab is world-renowned for their citizen science programs, bird education and their experiential education philosophy.
Twenty-two educators from Tennessee and North Carolina participated in Birdsleuth Workshop this month. They learned about local birds, their habitat needs, threats to their populations, migration and conservation. Participants explored the fields of Cades Cove and encountered species such as Wild Turkeys, Eastern Meadowlarks, Wood Ducks, Buffleheads and Northern Harriers.
Teachers honed their listening skills by creating sound maps, making focused observations and reflecting and brainstorming ways to implement what they learned in the classroom. They became familiar Cornell’s eBird and Habitat Network – powerful tools to bring citizen science into the classroom.
Educators left this workshop with tools, curriculum resources, bird feeders, organic fertilizer to support school gardens and inspiration to spend more time learning outside alongside their students.
In the Classroom
Several educators have already started observing birds at feeders with their students and submitting checklists to eBird!
“We had a wonderful day using the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Merlin Bird App to identify birds by site and sound. Armed with our checklist of likely to see birds, binoculars and a few iPad minis, we stalked birds, built bird blinds in the forest, found bird nests, explored new areas of our campus, made amazing reflections in the pond, and even rolled down a grassy hill. Students found over 40 birds, 7 species, which included a Red Shouldered Hawk that they identified by matching the calls on the Merlin app on their own. I entered our final checklist of birds on our eBird group account. We hope to set up an outdoor Citizen Science Research Base Camp and spend the entire day outside soon!”