Before setting off to Alaska, I am gaining experience by assisting with Point Reyes Bird Observatory Conservation Science’s (PRBO) educational programs. Missy Wipf, education coordinator at PRBO, has taken me under her wing! One of the programs I’m involved with is Bird Education and Awareness in Communities (BEAC) which provides hands-on bird science programs to elementary students in San Rafael, CA. Students learn scientific observation skills and are connected to the ecology of their community park, which is an important habitat for birds in this community. This year the students had the opportunity to participate in habitat restoration, in conjunction with intensive wildlife studies, part of a 12-week science education program developed and delivered by PRBO’s STRAW (Students and Teachers Restoring A Watershed) Project.  I have assisted in several BEAC and STRAW programs including in-class presentations on scientific observations, outdoor field observation class visits, a habitat restoration workday, and a Youth Winter Bird Count. My role included aiding students in bird identification skills and providing bilingual support to Spanish speaking students and parents. I have also learned about education techniques. I am amazed to see how interested the students are in learning about important bird habitats in their local park.   These programs are offered in a neighborhood of San Rafael that is primarily Latino. Participating in these programs is especially rewarding because we get the chance to educate and expose a diverse student body to science career options. I hope that these programs inspire a new generation of stewards and scientists.  I look forward to taking what I have learned from Missy and PRBO to the work I will be doing in Alaska.

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