Students with their take-home bird feeders at Loudonville Elementary Ecology club. Photo by Kimberlee Musser

New Habitat Heroes Are Here!

Thanks to our sponsor Pennington Wild Bird Food, BirdSleuth is able to award mini-grants of up to $700 to outstanding student projects that encourage mindful observation of schoolyard habitats and stewardship in their local community. Every month from January through June this year, we have heard about some amazing projects on our Action Map. Recently, five outstanding projects have been selected as our new Habitat Heroes!

Photo by Wayne Mennecke

Students of Islip High School paint bird houses and feeders.

In Islip, NY, Wayne Mennecke and his students at Islip High School created an outdoor classroom in their previously unused school courtyard. Students constructed a 4000-gallon pond and convertible desks/benches/tables. Around the pond, they planted flowering plants, trees, and gardens for the courtyard classroom. Mallards, sparrows, wrens, chickadees and other birds are now nesting in the area. Meanwhile, to attract more species, feeders and houses were hung up around the school. The courtyard classroom project is bringing opportunities for the students to study animal behavior and development in biology and research classes. The students also want to keep improving the courtyard to have more birds visit and nest.

The young citizen scientists of Sidwell Friends Middle School in Washington, D.C. are lucky to have a national Wildlife Federation Certified Habitat! In order to pursue the school’s mission of community and environmental stewardship, they strive to enhance their environmental science curricula, which includes ‘Bio Blitz’, bee studies, toxicology, and energy/sustainability. Now they are trying to enrich their school with bird feeders and houses, increasing the bird population so students can observe, track, and record data for scientific studies.

Photo by Alicia Hanson

Eighth graders conduct an annual survey of pollinators on campus of Sidwell Friends Middle School.

In the winter of this year, Bahama Ruritan Club set up and operated a bird feeding station at Mangum Elementary School in Bahama, NC. A diverse group of birds have been found around the campus due the diverse feeder types installed. The feeders have provided great visual access for Richard Miller and his students to observe the birds. Soon, a new hummingbird/butterfly garden area at the entrance of the school will be established and the students look forward to seeing more birds and insects sharing space with them.

The students of the German American School of Portland in Beaverton, OR are encouraged to go outside and play on a daily basis. In the afterschool program, students enjoy studying the local habitats and birds; they even created a guide of schoolyard birds, and built multiple environmental education boxes to learn about birds, habitats, and nature exploration. This year, educator Ashley Parsons and her students want to establish a bird and insect garden with the new planter boxes, which were made by students’ parents. They have already built some birdhouses and bird feeders with recycled wood, and they are looking to attract additional birds, bees, butterflies, and other insects.

At the Loudonville Elementary Ecology club in Loudonville, NY, the young students were gathered together for a nature discovering experience. With the help of educator, Kimberlee Musser, the students not only cleared the butterfly/bird garden, they also planted sunflowers and installed bird feeders. Additionally, they explored birds and made bird feeders. Now they are eager to add extra feeders and seed to keep the campus more comfortable for birds.

Do you have any exciting stories about students’ hands-on projects on habitat improvement? BirdSleuth is looking to educators to lead students outside, discover nature, and enhance their interest and abilities in STEM fields. Submit your interesting stories and pictures onto our Action Map now and you could be our next Habitat Hero!

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