Become a citizen scientist this weekend with GBBC!
Get your binoculars ready! Scientists need your help this weekend, as this year’s Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) gets underway. GBBC is fun way to get young people outdoors and encourage them to think about and connect to the natural world around them. Whether you’re a novice bird watcher or an expert, you can make an important contribution to scientific understanding and help share citizen science with kids! Resources are available to guide participants who have no prior bird watching experience, including an online bird guide and checklists designed for your area. You’re also invited to download our free Feathered Friends resource that will help you teach children about migration, habitat, life cycles, and more through hands-on activities. The lesson for February is all about the GBBC!
GBBC is an easy, fun, and flexible way to participate in a valuable scientific endeavor, making it a perfect activity for educators to do with their students. This year, the count takes place from Friday, February 15th through Monday the 18th, but you can count for as little as 15 minutes on any of those days to help create a “real-time snapshot” of the locations of birds around the world. All you have to do is choose a spot (perhaps in your yard, at a nearby park, or at your school), count the number and types of birds you see for at least 15 minutes, and report your data online. Since the count spans weekdays and the weekend, both homeschoolers and teachers can do it.
The information you collect informs scientists who want to understand how the populations of birds are changing from year to year. If you and your students get “hooked on helping” through citizen science, you can continue with other projects and BirdSleuth resources. For example, our Most Wanted Birds Kit for middle schoolers and our Science Investigators Kit for Homeschoolers each scaffold a long-term citizen science project!
If you like the idea of exposing your students to nature your local environment, consider giving GBBC a try! Let us know in the comments if you participated, and share your experience and ideas!