Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting the third grade class at Maddux Elementary. The visit was part of Great Parks’ Outreach efforts, where we take our naturalist programs “on the road,” out to schools and into the classrooms.
The third graders at Maddux are currently learning about Ohio birds. The students were obviously very passionate and excited about the subject. They had each been researching their own Ohio bird species, and drawings and facts were proudly displayed in the school hallways. I was glad to build on their excitement with a presentation about 21 different species of Ohio birds and their distinctions, calls and some of their adaptations. The subject was really brought to life, though, with the help of one of Woodland Mound’s animal ambassadors – an Eastern screech owl. The students were in awe of seeing one of their subjects up close.
I left the school after a couple hours, but that didn’t mean the time for learning together was over. The students are helping pick a name for the owl they met. They also made 3D clay figures of different birds with a fact card, which are on display in the Seasongood Nature Center until April 2. (Some of the students’ families have already stopped in to see the display, and I encourage you to see it for yourself, too!) Their teacher is also going to put up two nest boxes on school grounds to help draw more birds into the area.
This project has been so fun to be a part of, and I am looking forward to more collaborative projects to come. Seeing these children excited about their birds and everything they had researched about them brought back to memories of when my own interest in birds was first sparked. Being involved with a project like this really shows the impact that we can make within the community, as we help show kids the importance about caring for our wildlife and the environment. Building these connections will only help to create a better future for all of us.
Jenn Wallace, Naturalist, Woodland Mound