Science, technology, engineering and math. That’s what “STEM” promotes through its various programs in various locations. The goal is to keep kids interested in these subjects so that they can potentially move into these types of careers one day. Working for EFTA, this movement pairs nicely with our job – as our goal is to engage latino audiences and promote shorebird conservation. One of the ways we do this is through outreach, and Anjelica and I had a unique opportunity this weekend to do that with STEM Saturday at Adams State University. We were able to make this particular STEM Saturday a bird theme and spent a couple hours doing educational activities with kids ages 9-12. It was awesome! We played a few educational games and then made different crafts that the kids could re-create to help birds near their own homes in the future. It was great to be outside and get them excited about not only learning about birds, but making a difference for them as well!
And while it was an opportunity to have fun and be goofy with the kids all while learning about birds, I realized something much bigger in the midst of the chaos. We regrouped at the end of the day to talk about what we had learned that day and one little boy was excited to talk about the things he could do to help birds. When his parents arrived to pick him up he was eager to tell them about the pictures he was going to color to put up in his window so that birds wouldn’t fly into them. I felt an immediate sense of pride at hearing his enthusiasm for birds – it was working. It wasn’t that I doubted the effect that outreach would have on promoting bird conservation, it was that I never imagined how rewarding it was going to be. How cool is it that I have the opportunity to influence kids to make a difference?
I know that making eco-friendly bird feeders isn’t necessarily going to save the planet, but I like to think that maybe some of them might continue to attend events like STEM Saturday and continue telling people with that same ardor that they are going to help the birds. It was pretty amazing to see how one small activity could spark an interest in the kids who would then impart that new knowledge to their parents. They might go on with their lives and forget what we taught them that day, but then again…. they might not 🙂