Announcing the Habitat Heroes Winners!
Our Habitat Heroes mini-grant winners for January and February are proving that students of any age can take action to improve their local habitats. In recognition of their incredible efforts, each group was invited to apply for a mini-grant and BirdSleuth curriculum resources of up to $750 to use toward their projects, thanks to the generosity of the mini-grant sponsor, Pennington Wild Bird Food.
Anne Lowry and her class of 4- and 5-year-olds from Reno, NV showed us that even the youngest kids in school can be habitat heroes. After observing Scrub Jays gathering twigs and flying up into a tree, the students decided to investigate nests and the materials that birds need to make them. They conducted experiments to see what nesting materials the birds preferred, put up a nest box, and even built their own nests with the nesting materials that they provided for the birds.
Over on the East Coast, a group of high school students from Scituate, MA is working to create a haven for the Mallards that have come to nest in their schoolyard for the past 8 years. They call themselves the “Duck Squad,” and they plan to create a duck pond with abundant food and water sources for the growing chicks and their parents. Educator Stephen Maguire is facilitating the project, but he is quick to point out that it’s the students that are truly running the project—they came up with idea, formed the plan, and are working hard to make their vision a reality.
The “Early Birders” at Dorn Community School in Albuquerque, NM are working hard to overcome the obstacles of inner-city life in order to stay connected to nature. Tomas Radcliffe and his culturally diverse group of students regularly make use of their school’s community garden, using it to learn about urban biodiversity.
Students in Millville, PA maintain and learn through what they call the “Food Forest Classroom.” With perennial flowers, fruit plants, nectar plants, and more, the Food Forest Classroom attracts a variety of wildlife, providing food and habitat for them as well as interactive learning opportunities for the students. According to educator Elizabeth Sterling, she and her students “use the Food Forest Classroom regularly in all subject areas.”
Operation Bluebird, led by Stacey Millet, is a multi-phase project that combined art and science to create beautiful nest boxes for Western Bluebirds in Elizabeth, CO. A group of high school students in Patagonia, AZ is working with educator Caleb Weaver to create a hummingbird garden. Finally, Laura Todis’s students in Fillmore, CA created a native plant habitat as well as their own bird field guides.
You can apply!
Are your students habitat heroes? Each month until June, we will be selecting three to four outstanding projects to apply for a mini-grant. Post your project on our Action Map for a chance to win funding and supplies!