Webinar Series for Educators

Soar Through the Standards is your ultimate guide to the extensive resources that BirdSleuth and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers.  You’ll gain knowledge and discover tools you can leverage to ignite science learning. Participants join Cornell Lab staff live in the webinar series for this professional development opportunity. We’ll look at NGSS, make connections to standards, and recognize that STEM learning is fun when approached the right way and with the right attitude.

The Soar Through the Standards webinars are organized by four life science topics and ends with a fifth one on citizen science.  When asked which topic was best, one educator said, “How can I pick?! All the sections were great. Information was a good mix of what I knew…what I didn’t know before…and what I sort of knew but needed a refresher so that I will know it well enough to pass along/teach.”

Throughout each webinar there is a live chat where educators are encouraged to share thoughts, experiences, and ask questions throughout the webinar.  At the conclusion, everyone receives a set of teaching slides and access to a resource page that contains webinar summaries, links, NGSS connections, and available resources mentioned in the presentation.

Whether you are a seasoned educator new to birding, an expert birder new to education, or a scientist, naturalist, or principal looking for new enriching curriculum, you’ll find the world class STEM tools you are seeking to use with the children you work with.

In the year since we’ve launched the series, here is what other educators have had to say:

“I enjoyed the webinars very much.  The slides and downloads were very helpful.  I can incorporate them well in the presentations to school groups visiting our site.” — Fran

“I am thoroughly enjoying this series (this is my first and I hope I can join others in the future); great information and resources!” — Anita

“Thanks so much for putting this together – what a great value!” — Linda

“Thanks so much! I have really enjoyed these webinars….I wish my school’s entire staff could participate.” — Laurie

Chickadee_Joan Gellatly2Outline of Webinar Topics:

Webinar 1 – Birds in Your Ecosystem Birds are diverse, but they all have some things in common. Learn about adaptations that birds have to survive and reproduce in their habitats, and get insight into the roles birds play within ecosystems.

Webinar 2: Bird Talk: Songs and Calls  Birds vocalize to keep in touch, attract mates, defend territories, and communicate with their families. In this webinar, you’ll hear and see sound while discovering activities that will help your students explore the physics of sound and reasons for bird communication. Your eyes (and ears!) will be opened to the world of birds!

Webinar 3: Migration: Birds on the Move  Some birds stay in the same area year-round, while others migrate each spring and fall. Explore the costs and benefits to each strategy, learn about the basics of flight and migration, and discover how we know what we know about where and when birds travel.

Webinar 4: Nesting: Birds Raising Young  The nesting season presents challenges for both adult birds and their young. You’ll learn about the different strategies that birds have for keeping their young safe and healthy, and discover some of the things humans do to help (and hurt) nesting birds.

girl, kids, out, lookWebinar 5: Citizen Science: Next Generation Scientists  By collecting and contributing simple data about the birds in your area, you and your students can help scientists understand the distribution and abundance of birds and how birds are impacted by habitat changes. This webinar introduces each of the Cornell Lab’s citizen science projects and will help you select a project to participate in with your students.

Choose to attend as many as you wish, and if  complete the whole series, you can earn 1 CEU from Cornell University’s School of Continuing Education!

Register for one, several, or the whole series!

Schedule (times are in the Eastern zone):
  • Early Spring Series: Thursdays at 7:30pm (Eastern Time Zone) on January 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29, and February 5th.*
* This will be the last time we will offer the webinars live. Recordings will be made available in our store for purchase after the series is complete.
If you complete the series of five webinars, you can elect to earn 1 CEU  (Continuing Education Unit). There is an additional $10 fee if you opt for that credit (awarded by Cornell University).
Excited to attend? Register for one or all at this link. You must register by 3:00pm ET before each individual webinar.


If you have questions, please read the FAQs below or contact us via email.

Webinar FAQs



Do the webinars need to be completed in order?

Each webinar is designed to stand alone, but they also add up to a complete series that provides thorough background in the Cornell Lab’s resources and many of the life science concepts you can cover using birds and your local environment. You can attend the webinars in any order, and each webinar comes with different associated activities and multimedia resources for download.

Who should consider attending?

We think the webinars are perfect for K-12 teachers and homeschool parents, especially those who teach 3-8th grade. While there is a focus on classroom use and meeting NGSS standards, homeschoolers and educators who work at nature centers, afterschool programs, and science supervisors will find useful information and activities. People who are simply interested in birds and bird biology, especially those who are interested educating young people through the wonder of birds, are quite welcome. While some science background is helpful, and the series complements our innovative kits and free resources, no previous experience with birds or BirdSleuth is required. We’ll point out the best educational sites and materials we have to offer!

What grade levels are the activities targeted for?

The content of each webinar and provided activities are tied to the NGSS and meet many Core Curriculum Standards for 3-8th grade. That said, teachers of younger and older students are welcome to attend and will find the content and activities easily adaptable.

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What standards will the webinars and associated activities help me meet?

This series will help you meet many of the NGSS Life Science Disciplinary Core Ideas, as well as several Earth and Space Science Disciplinary Core Ideas related to human impacts and the environment.

Webinar 1 – Birds in Your Ecosystem 

 Webinar 2: Bird Communication: Songs and Calls

Webinar 3: Migration: Birds on the Move 

Webinar 4 – Nesting: Birds Raising Young

Webinar 5: Citizen Science: Next Generation Scientists 

The chart below maps each webinar to Life Science and Earth Science disciplinary core ideas, with the different colored triangles corresponding to the colors of each webinar above, so that you can choose the webinars that are best suited to your teaching needs:






Structure and Function



Growth and Development of Organisms


Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms





Information Processing



Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems



Cycles of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems





Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience




Social Interaction and Group Behavior





Inheritance of Traits





Variation of Traits





Evidence of Common Ancestry and Diversity





Natural Selection






Biodiversity and Humans



Human Impacts on Earth’s Systems


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Why is there a cost, and what do I get for the $15 fee ($75 for the series)?

This is not your “run of the mill” webinar that leaves you wondering how to implement what you’ve learned. Each webinar hands you the tools you need to hit the ground running. With these webinars, we want to provide teachers will real professional development that will impact classroom practice.

As a non-profit, the fee pays for the development of the webinars and future materials. The nominal fee will allow you to participate in a live webinar staffed by Cornell Lab educators who will answer your questions and offer personal support. After the webinar, you will be able to download activities, a set of teaching slides to use in your classrooms, and in many cases, multimedia files (sounds, videos, animations…ready for classroom use) that are selected especially to connect to the content and activities presented.

How can I let my supervisor/principal know I’ve participated?

At the conclusion of the webinar, you can print a letter documenting participation. If you complete the five-webinar series within one year, you will have the opportunity to write an implementation plan and earn 1 CEU, awarded by Cornell University, for only $10!

How do I get information on CEU credits?

Due to the requirement of 10 contact hours, you can only earn a CEU from Cornell University if you attend all five 1-hour webinars and complete a take-home activity and implementation plan within 1 year.  Information about CEUs will be provided during the webinar.  If you attend the five webinars (in any order, during any season) you should contact us via email so we can give you the details about the requirements and the implementation paper you can turn in to us. Expect to spend about 5 additional hours on these assignments. The CEU credit is completely optional and costs only $10. It is facilitated by Cornell Lab staff but provided by Cornell University School of Continuing Education.

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How do I register?

Register for each webinar at this site, selecting the date and time that work for you.

How do I attend, and what are the technical requirements?

After purchasing the webinar through our online store, you are enrolled in the webinar.  You will receive an email with directions to access the webinar as the date approaches.

You must be on a computer (you can’t participate from a tablet or smart phone). In order to hear the webinar, you must have working speakers on your computer.  Make sure you test your speakers and turn them on prior to joining.

I am having problems with WebEx, what should I do?

WebEx is the platform we use to host our webinars. If you are having technical problems connecting or with something on your own computer, contact the WebEx Help Desk directly. Phone: 1-866-229-3239 (U.S. and Canada Toll-Free) +1-408-435-7088 (International Toll) (Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for current customers only.) You can email them, but the response time for a web support ticket is 24 hours. For all urgent issues or if you need immediate assistance, such as getting into the event, call their 24×7 technical support.  They are VERY helpful, so do not delay calling them for a problem. They can help you enter the event and diagnose problems during the presentation through an International toll-free support numbers or call their technical support number here.

What if I register and can’t attend the webinar I’ve selected?

Please inform us if you discover that you cannot attend the time you selected.  If you give us a day’s notice, we can move your registration to a different session.

Will the webinars be archived?

Not at this time.  We are focusing on providing live, personal presentations to make a top quality professional development experience.

I’m a science supervisor, and this would be great for my district’s teachers! Can you conduct a series especially for my teachers as an inservice day?

Absolutely! We’d love to help your district implement our programs! We can conduct the entire series for you over the course of a day or two, and even Skype with your group to customize the experience and answer your group’s questions.  Contact us for more information!

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