What is BirdSleuth?
BirdSleuth is an inquiry-based science curriculum that engages kids in scientific study and real data collection through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s exciting citizen science projects. BirdSleuth provides educators with kits that:
- Encourage kids to answer their own questions about nature using the scientific process
- Spend time outdoors, connecting with nature by focusing on the fascinating sights, sounds, and behaviors of birds
- Motivate kids by the real-world importance of the data they enter online, which scientists use to understand and conserve birds
Birdsleuth offers a variety of resources for all types of educators no matter the setting. For a full list of our offerings, visit our shop.
The development of BirdSleuth, originally called “Classroom BirdWatch,” was funded with a three year grant from the Instructional Materials Development Program at the National Science Foundation in 2004. With feedback from classroom testing, draft curriculum was restructured as a series of modules that educators select depending on the specific content areas they wish to cover.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0242666. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
Through kits, free resources, and educator training, we want to…
• Engage students in their own investigations and the science process.
• Spark curiosity and provide tools to make discoveries.
• Support educators in teaching science through birds.
• Get students outside to connect to the local environment.
The BirdSleuth team is happy to assist educators in fully using the curriculum and our citizen science projects. In addition to workshops, we offer an online summer course and free webinars periodically throughout the year (see Workshops & Webinars or our event calendar). BirdSleuth also recruits experienced educators to be program ambassadors.
Meet the Staff
Manager of K-12 Programs
- I was hired by the Cornell Lab in 2004 to develop and field test the BirdSleuth curriculum, so I’ve been with BirdSleuth since its beginning. I love sharing citizen science with teachers, particularly through online and in person professional development workshops. Prior to joining the Lab, I worked in the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Education Program. I’m a graduate from the Biology programs at Truman State University and Illinois State University (Behavior, Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics program). I enjoy the outdoors– especially camping, biking, and hiking– and I love traveling and discovering new places!
K-12 Resources Coordinator
I graduated from the State University College of NY at Oneonta with a dual major in Psychology and Child Development and Family Studies. Soon after graduation I began working in an integrated preschool for children with developmental disabilities and discovered my love for all children. I found myself immersed in learning and intrigued by each unique child. I began taking on projects outside the classroom by coordinating family support services for Franziska Racker Centers and managing a large afterschool program for Tompkins Community Action in Ithaca, NY. In 2008 I joined the Lab and have enjoyed meeting and working with educators across the country and around the world.
K-12 Project Assistant
Ileana has been working with education at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology since 2010. Her initial years focused on developing online resources for undergraduate educators with the Online Research in Biology project. Then she joined the K-12 education team and BirdSleuth. For her, working with BirdSleuth is a joy because the project helps teachers all over the country provide kids meaningful science experiences through engaging encounters with nature and wild birds! Ileana graduated from Cornell University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in the Science of Natural and Environmental Systems with a concentration in Sustainable Community Development. In addition to being an environmental and outdoor enthusiast, she enjoys traveling, hiking, soccer, surfing, music, being a twin, and the Macaulay Library.
International Outreach Coordinator
Lilly is the International Outreach Coordinator for BirdSleuth K-12. This role emerged from the work she conducted for her Masters of Environmental Studies degree, which involved adapting and field-testing the first Latin American version of BirdSleuth. From this initial field-test, a program called “BirdSleuth-International: Connecting Kids Through Birds” has evolved, through which she has co-written a curriculum bearing the same name as the program. She has facilitated educator workshops (focused on the implementation of this curriculum) in Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize. Lilly is also a PhD Candidate in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University, and conducts her research in Guatemala on environmental education and sense of place among Q’eqchi’ Maya communities. The interconnected academic and professional streams of her life allow her to enjoy two of her personal passions – travel and birding in Latin America!
K-12 Project Assistant
I recently graduated from Cornell University in Spring 2014 studying Natural Resources and Marine Biology with a focus in Environmental Education, however I’ve been working with BirdSleuth since Fall 2012 managing the Ambassador program. Though my background is in the marine sciences, I’ve caught the bird bug while working here and have grown to love and appreciate birds as an educational tool!
Resident Teacher Advisor
I have a MA in Education from Northern Arizona University and have taught for 38 years. I am a third grade teacher at Breck School, an independent, PreK–12 school in Minneapolis. Last year, Breck awarded me a sabbatical leave allowing me to follow my dream of volunteering at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to learn about and support the phenomenal work being done at the Lab and to grow personally as a birder. That dream began to come true in the rainforests of Peru this past summer when I was able to support the implementation of the Latin American version of BirdSleuth, Connecting Kids Through Birds. Now I am writing and editing curriculum and doing whatever I can to assist this remarkable BirdSleuth team. As a classroom teacher, I am able to bring a different perspective to the work that is being done. I have used the Most Wanted Birds curriculum, FeederWatch and eBird, in my classroom and have lead a passionate, multi-aged group of birders during the summer as they engage in authentic science inquiry.When I am not hard at work on my computer at the Lab, I enjoy video chatting with my family in Minneapolis, playing with my puppy, and exploring the wonders of birding in Ithaca, NY.