Hello, hello! Last week required a lot of focus because there was a lot of work to complete. Wednesday was scheduled as my first time teaching a class of kids from the Parkmont Day School. It was finally time for all the work I had been doing to be put to the test.
I was a bit nervous because I needed to fill up two hours of educational time with these little knowledge sponges. They loved the education stations I created because it allowed them to become engaged with the lesson plan, rather than me blurting out a lecture for an hour.
After the first lecture about bird identification, we got out into the field and did some birding out on the docks!
It was great to see a small flock of cormorants sunning themselves on the docks adjacent to the ECC Pumphouse, the Mallards calmly floating across the river, and the patient Osprey perched in its nest. I took a step back and let the kids enjoy the time outside, but the questions came flying! I tried, to the best of my knowledge, to answer every question, but I always wanted to leave a little curiosity so I could lead them into the next segment about birds and how they migrate.
After a quick video about a Snowy Owl named Baltimore and his amazing migration story, the kids were ready to jump into a fun activity. They voted and decided to do the Create Your Own Bird activity, that was crazy successful in both letting the kids open up creatively and also apply some of what they learned from the earlier lectures. At the end, the children volunteered to present the name of their “newly discovered” bird, some physical characteristics, and one special adaption it developed to handle a long migration journey. The two hours flew by and I was relieved that it was finally over…that is, until I learned I would teaching again the next day! O_O
I wasn’t too worried because I was told that it’d be another group of children, no sweat. When they showed up, it was actually a group of high school exchange students from Germany. This made me a little nervous, because I thought they would either be full of questions I didn’t know how to answer or that they would be completely unresponsive. It was neither of those scenarios, but they used half the time teaching how to say some words in German to help them better understand the material. After I had given them my speech, we headed outside to do more birding and some water quality testing.
After all that, I learned that I can do this thing — environmental education! It made me feel good inside to see these people getting more and more curious as I went on talking, because it seemed apparent that the most common thing known about birds is that they fly sometimes. I’m still far from where I want to be in terms of knowledge about birds, but I feel that by creating more programs I’ll become more comfortable speaking and advocating for bird conservation!