Birds Without Borders

Birds Without Borders coverIn the award-winning, NSTA recommended Birds Without Borders, students analyze spatial and quantitative data, examine trends, make predictions, create management plans, and present and defend their results. Non-fiction texts and multimedia resources provide context and background for scientific exploration of real-world biodiversity data and issues in settings ranging from local to international.

Birds provide compelling hooks to our local environment and links to other habitats. They also provide essential ecosystem services, ranging from pollination and seed dispersal to garbage disposal and nutrient cycling. Birds Without Borders combines the accessibility of birds with a wealth of scientific and conservation data to create eight in-depth investigations that promote a deep understanding of environmental and scientific concepts.

“If a teacher were to design a science unit from scratch for a middle school or high school science class, Birds Without Borders would provide an ideal template. Activities and investigations, organized into eight well–constructed sections in this remarkable book, encourage skill development in math, applying science study to real world problems, reading, data analysis, relevant web–based enrichment, and much more.” -Cary Seidman, NSTA Recommends




The Investigations include:

  • Investigation 1 – Discovering the Ecological Roles of Birds
  • Investigation 2 – Exploring Habitat Needs of Nesting Birds
  • Investigation 3 – Determining Annual Life Cycles of Local Birds
  • Investigation 4 – Modeling Bird Population Trends
  • Investigation 5 – Tracking Birds with Citizen Science
  • Investigation 6 – Bird Biodiversity Across the Americas
  • Investigation 7 – Exploring Bird Conservation Needs at Home and Abroad
  • Investigation 8 – Creating a Conservation Plan


The book includes student readings, worksheets, answer sheets, and links to these online resources:
• ArcGIS maps, interactive PDFs and low-tech alternatives
• Excel datasets
• Downloadable worksheets for customization and printing
• PowerPoint files for teacher presentations



“Birds Without Borders provides core content knowledge on concepts such as how ecosystems function and why birds matter… The activities are rich, engaging, and meaningful. They make use of web-based mapping tools and mobile technologies that have become incredibly powerful and yet easy to use, but low-tech options are always included.” – Joseph Kerski, Education Manager, Esri

“The lessons are wonderfully accessible, engaging, and my students are excited about the real world applications that this data offers to policy makers!” – Michelle Watkins, Science Teacher, Beaver River Central High School, NY

“As we face the challenge of bringing science teaching into the “Next Generation,” very few curricula allow us to take advantage of the call to teach in the “3D” of the NGSS. Birds Without Borders is a clear exception. It allows for the integration of science processes and crosscutting concepts that help develop deep understanding of important science content and does so in an incredibly engaging way. Through the use of geospatial data and technologies, students are given the chance to bring into context their “place” in the broader view of the global. Truly this is the path we should all take as we move science curriculum development forward. ” – Michael Jabot, Professor of Science Education, Fredonia State University of NY


Interested in other ways to make a difference for birds? Check out these resources:








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