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Story Submission

Submitted By

Kristin Szewczyk

Waynesburg, PA, United States


During the 2016-2017 school year, the Habitat Connections curriculum was implemented across all grade levels, K-12.

As part of National Bird Day on January 5, 2017, our students participated in a bird call quiz, bird watching via the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology online bird cameras, and made bird suet cakes.

On Friday, April 28, 2017, our elementary students participated in the Bird Migration Obstacle Course as part of the Habitat Connections Curriculum. Bird feeders designed by our secondary Life Skills/Autistic Support students were also installed on this date. Our School Police Officer enjoys woodworking. He fabricated the feeders, while the students painted them and added the suet.

On Tuesday, May 16, 2017, our school had an outdoor day and installed more bird feeders made from recycled materials, tested out our new bird-watching binoculars, and planted vegetables for our school garden.

The BirdSleuth grant sponsored by Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and Alaska Fertilizer has been a wonderful opportunity for our school!!


Habitat Helpers

Soaring with BirdSleuth!!

The Intermediate Unit 1 Educational Campus at East Franklin is a K-12 public school servicing students with mental health needs, autism, and intellectual disabilities located in Waynesburg, Greene County, Pennsylvania. Our school focuses on meeting the educational needs of our student population though the provision of enriching learning opportunities to prepare them to be life-long learners and productive members of a global society. The BirdSleuth grant opportunity through Cornell University and Alaska Fertilizer fostered many of these opportunities during the current school year. All students participated in the Habitat Connections curriculum, which will now be a regular part of our science curriculum. Our elementary students tackled the bird migration obstacle course included in the curriculum. To honor National Bird Day on January 5, our students engaged in making suet cakes, participated in a bird call quiz, and watched birds in their native habitats using the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology online bird cameras. As the weather warmed, our students planted a school garden containing various vegetables, fruits, and flowers to attract birds and insects. The garden's harvest will be used to create nutritious meals and snacks within the school environment. To support the native bird population surrounding our school, the students fabricated bird feeders from man-made and recycled materials. The feeders were installed as extensions to our outdoor classroom and in trees adjacent to the school building. Lastly, the students used binoculars purchased from BirdSleuth grant funds to further investigate the birds and their habitats in our school vicinity. Moving forward, our school will continue to use the Habitat Connections curriculum as part of our science curriculum. Students will continue to make observations of birds with the binoculars, as well as when birds access the feeders next to the outdoor classroom. Students and staff will continue to tend to the school garden and maintain the bird feeders.

The BirdSleuth grant from Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and Alaska Fertilizer facilitated hands-on learning opportunities that greatly enhanced the educational experiences of our students. Our school is grateful for their support and looks forward to continuing these initiatives in the years to come!

Dr. Kristin Szewczyk, Principal
Intermediate Unit 1 Campus at East Franklin

School Garden Installation

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