Written by Janelle Wicks
The week of January 18th, the first sets of Bird Scout activity packets were delivered to Slater Elementary school and the Harney County Public Library. This program has been designed to support both independent, at-home exploration and a brand new afterschool program for local 5th graders.
This month’s kit is themed ‘Dinosaurs in Your Backyards’ with activities focused on understanding the unique characteristics of birds that will lead to beginner bird identification skills. Every Bird Scouts bi-monthly kit will include all of the materials needed to complete the activities and will culminate with the participation in a national or international community science program. This month, Scouts received several sets of flashcards (Prehistoric Birds, Bird Feet, Habitat Cards and more) along with an activity booklet, feathers, and a Field Notes notebook. In February, we will encourage to Scouts to all participate in Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Great Backyard Bird Count. To supplement the lessons and help Scouts to engage with eBird and other tools for participating in community science projects, we will occasionally post videos to our YouTube Chanel, @MalheurFriends, and to the Bird Scouts – Harney County Oregon Facebook Page. At the end of each bi-monthly lesson Bird Scouts will earn a bird patch from Bird Collective if they completed one or more of the activities and participated in the community science program. The Dinosaurs in Your Backyard patch is a Loggerhead Shrike!
In addition to these bi-monthly lessons, Portland Audubon will be offering monthly, Covid-Safe, community bird walks. This will be an opportunity for Bird Scouts and their families to get outside and go birding with Teresa Wicks of Portland Audubon and other community members.
Lastly, we are excited that our Explorer Packs are almost ready! Very soon there will be 5 Explorer Packs available for check-out from the Harney County Public Library and 10 will go to Slater Elementary School. During the Summer, the school’s packs will come to the Crane’s Nest Nature Center & Store at Refuge Headquarters for check-out by visitors. These packs will include a pair of binoculars, bird and other ID booklets, a hand lens, and bug boxes.
Bird Scouts is a collaborative effort to create accessible bird and nature themed educational activities for the youth of Harney County.
This program is made possible with the generous support of:
- Leupold & Stevens who donated 15 pairs of binoculars for Explorer Packs
- Bird Collective who generously discounted their bird patches
- The Burns BLM District who purchased these patches from Bird Collective
- Field Notes who donated 20 packs of all weather notebooks for participants
If you want to support Educational Programs like Bird Scouts, please make a donation HERE.
If you are local to Harney County and would like to sign your 3rd-6th grader up to participate in Bird Scouts, please visit our Bird Scouts page HERE.