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Ann smith

East Elmhurst, Queens, NY, United States


One species on the decline in New York City is the House Wren, and some areas are so built-up now, habitat loss ensures nesting pairs won’t find a hollow tree or cavity to nest in! One AP Environmental Science Class in Queens, NY is participating in the Cornell Citizen Science NestWatch and Celebrating Urban Birds project. Pictured here are Monsignor McClancy Memorial High School students building their own House Wren Nest Boxes from lumber. These Urban students don’t have a shop class, and only 2 of the boys had ever used a drill before! Using Cornell’s blue-prints, everyone learned that if we need equipment, we have to make equipment! This very STEM lesson, with it’s signature interdisciplinary and applied approach to learning, was the perfect project to kick-off the school-year, because NestWatch is asking for more data on the House Wren. These 12th grade students realize this project is ongoing and will be around for a long-time. In addition to the construction aspect, questions the students will be gathering data on range from the hieght of the box to northern vs. southern exposure, and other variables they brainstormed to investigate. One student named Peter said, “This is so cool. I’ve never built anything before.” I guess we take it for granted, and I guess it depends which part of the country or state you live in, but not every student gets vocational training; not every student gets to build things. For some it’s all academics, but in the world of STEM, science is facing an upgrade. This is the first of many more project to come that were inspired by Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology, and it’s McClancy’s first real push towards STEM Education with a focus on “Women in STEM,” as you can see by the pictures of our female students doing science in a non-traditional way.

“…we need to have more girls interested in math, science, and engineering. We’ve got half the population that is way underrepresented in those fields and that means that we’ve got a whole bunch of talent…not being encouraged the way they need to.” — President Barack Obama, February 2013


Full STEM Ahead For Urban NestWatch!

The boys were psyched and couldn't wait to get started. Quentin, Daniel and Daniel (L to R)

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