What is BirdSleuth?
BirdSleuth is the K-12 education program of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Our mission is to create innovative K-12 resources that build science skills while inspiring young people to connect to local habitats, explore biodiversity, and engage in citizen-science projects. We take an inquiry-based approach to 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 professional development 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!
It’s been a long time since I graduated with a history degree from the University of Maine. Since then I’ve reinvented myself several times: I worked at the IRS, then pursued a Masters degree in education in Alaska. For over a decade I homeschooled my 2 children (an entomologist and a bike mechanic), then taught science, history, and special education at a private high school in the backwoods of Maine. Now my journey has brought me to Ithaca and the BirdSleuth team where I’m excited to help promote outdoor education and citizen science, while supporting science educators everywhere. I love everything this area has to offer – from cultural events to wonderful road biking, trail running, and hiking.
I have a Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in Natural Resources and Marine Biology with a focus in Environmental Education. I am also currently perusing my Master’s in Environmental Education and Interpretation at the University of Wisconsin Steven’s Point. My past experience includes leading youth and adults through stream ecology and water conservation, and research in freshwater microbiology. I’ve been working with the BirdSleuth K-12 program since 2012 managing the BirdSleuth Ambassador Program. Though my background is in the marine sciences, I’ve caught the birding bug while working at the Cornell Lab and have grown to love and appreciate birds and citizen science as an educational tool!
I graduated from the University of Delaware with degrees in Wildlife Conservation and Entomology. While at the University, I discovered the world of avian research and fell in love with chasing birds around the woods. I spent a few years traveling and working as a research technician which inspired me to pursue a career in Environmental Education. I went back to school and obtained my MS from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point in Environmental Education. I am thrilled to begin work with the Cornell Lab on the BirdSleuth curriculum to help students connect to birds and nature through scientific exploration.
Postdoctoral Associate, Education and Citizen Science Programs
I’ve been a Postdoctoral Associate in the Education and Citizen Science Programs since July 2016, a role that builds on my prior position as the International Outreach Coordinator for BirdSleuth K-12. This role emerged from my Masters degree work, which involved adapting and field-testing a Latin American version of BirdSleuth. I’ve since facilitated workshops for educators focused on the implementation of this curriculum and on participation in citizen science through eBird in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Peru. In 2016, I earned my PhD in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University; my research took place in Guatemala on environmental education and sense of place among Q’eqchi’ Maya communities. These interconnected academic and professional streams have allowed me to enjoy two of my passions – travel and birding in Latin America!