by Cathy Kozmary
A couple months ago, I, Cathy Kozmary vice-president of Red Rock Audubon, arrived early at the HBVP for a morning of birding with a friend. So I went on in and started around Pond 1 binoculars and camera ready for action. I said hi to a few people deciding to go east for better light. Nearing the north side of the pond, I noticed someone that I had greeted earlier. She approached me asking if I might be with Audubon, commenting that my kit made me look like a serious birder! Clearly answering “Yes” she explained that the purpose of her visit was to find someone associated with Audubon in the hopes of getting some expert input for the robotics class project at one of the local stem magnet schools. At the time I had no idea how lucky I had been going east that morning.
The teacher, Joan Drew at the O’Callaghan i3 Learn Academy, spent the morning birding with us, learning how to identify Horned Grebes and Ruddy Ducks. (She explained that “ruddy” in British English (her native language) was somewhat derogatory – I had no idea). And we found out about the robotics project her students were involved with, namely using 3D printers to create bird houses. With a bit of research and thought, bird houses were printed but they turned out more like ornaments for the holiday season. Joan asked if we could speak to her students (7th graders) about the local birds & threats they face to help brainstorm more applicable and real-life projects.
A few emails and a meeting later, we had agreed on doing a presentation to the robotics and science classes (via Zoom of course) to introduce Audubon, local birds and their main threats. And on Dec 8th, Paul Rodriguez, president of Red Rock Audubon, and I joined these two classes via Zoom. Paul went through an excellent presentation on these topics going over the history of Audubon, a handful of our local birds, and their main threats such as feral cats, window strikes and night lights. The session was very engaging with many questions and some discussion around projects.
After the session, Joan sent us a summary of the questions, what the students learned and what surprised them. When I saw this summary, I realized just how lucky we had been to have this opportunity to educate a few children about nature. They learned a lot and were surprised by many different things related to birds!
If you know of any similar opportunities for our chapter to educate children please do let your chapter leaders know. This includes schools, churches, community centers and more! We are looking for ways to engage and spread the word!