by Hazel Stark
In collaboration with Cobscook Community Learning Center and the Downeast Spring Birding Festival, Maine Outdoor School was able to provide two free programs for the 5th and 6th-graders from Pembroke Elementary School in May 2018. In an effort to get Cobscook Bay area students engaged in the diversity of birds that migrate through the area this time of year, the programs were designed to complement the Birding Festival, which people attend from around the country.
The first program focused on honing students’ observation skills through games, bird identification, and journaling. Due to the advice of some rangers at Cobscook Bay State Park, they explored some of the campground roads where unique birds had been recently sighted. They learned about where birds are likely to be found, heard pileated woodpeckers, oven birds, and black-throated green warblers, and drew and wrote about the birds they observed. Students reflected that they liked listening to the birds in the park and enjoyed finding some old deer bones as an added bonus!
For the second program, students hiked some of the nature trails at Cobscook Bay State Park in order to observe bird behavior and adaptation in action. From a scenic viewpoint, they drew maps of the sounds and sights of birds on the landscape as a bald eagle soared beneath them over the cove. They hiked on and played a game that illustrated how bird bills are adapted to eat certain food types.
At the end of the program series, students shared that they liked listening to and finding birds, playing the bird science games, and hiking in between the activities. All students reported that they had fun and learned something, too!
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