Anita and I are headed out to do our first independent outreach program at a local library here in San Diego. We have created an interactive activity where the kids and their parents can learn about bird topography while creating their own unique birds. During our activity we explained the role that each body part plays to help the animal survive. The program was a blast, and the kids all received a bird sticker for participating and got to take home their unique birds as well as a bookmark which invited them to visit the refuge where we work as well as the Living Coast Discovery Center next door.
For our second activity for the children at the library on Thursday, we created a habitat activity for the kids and their parents to participate in. The group on this day was twice as big as the first group. We read a short story on how important it is for animals to find the right habitat that meets their needs, and followed the reading with an activity where the kids had an opportunity to discover various habitats. Each child picked a card from a table with various animals on them, and put that card around their neck to represent what animal they were. After everyone chose an animal, they had to wander around the room to find the different “habitats” they thought their animal lived in, then each child explained why they thought their animal should live there. The children were really excited to interact with one another, and all of them worked as a team to organize their animals. After the activity they all got to take home their animal cards and a bookmark. I was really nervous when I first saw the larger group of kids and was worried I wouldn’t be able to grab their attention, but in the end the kids loved the game and were more excited to take home an animal card, which was completely fine with me! They even came up to ask more questions and to thank Anita and me for their animals.
This week we also took a trip to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. We had the opportunity to sit in on a learning program that benefits a selection of teachers from San Diego, Los Angeles, and even worldwide school districts by teaching them new activities and showing them different learning techniques that they can take back to their own classrooms. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helps fund some of the teachers to come to San Diego for these seminars, and make connections with the teachers to invite them and their students to the refuge so they can apply their lessons and new methods on a real refuge rather than just in the classroom.