Friday, December 4, 2015

12.4.15 - Wixon Innovation School - For The Birds Enrichment Class

We lucked out with the weather once again and we even had some warming sun on our side today as we ventured outside.  For whatever reason, we are still not seeing and hearing as many birds as I did with this class in the spring - which I suppose makes sense. Many species, though non-migratory, are finding food elsewhere and the school yard is just not as busy in the feather department!  Occasionally we do see someone fly over, like a bonus bird!  Today there was a Herring Gull for instance.  We did see, but mostly heard, some Black-capped Chickadees in the tall pitch pines on the edge of the school yard.  I'm waiting for some of the vegetation to clear a little more before we head into the woods behind the school.  Today's focus was on leaves.  WHY?  I asked the young bird nerds some questions about the value of trees in relation to birds.  Their answers: shelter, shared habitat, helps with food.  Perfect answers.  We also discussed photosynthesis and the importance of plants and how they relate to human survival and existence as well.  They knew that the trees and the plants make the air we breathe.  They are the source of wood for building our shelters/homes & making paper products that we use, and hopefully responsibly recycle.  There were many excellent observations about trees and leaves and plants and discussions about why they are vital as a facet in a healthy ecosystem.  I am pressing the leaves so that we can use them for future indoor classes on rainy days... and these students are so inspiring, they'll more than likely come up with another use for our pressed leaves as well!  (double click photos to enlarge)

Our List:
Black-capped Chickadee
Herring Gull

Ready to press!

Finding different species of oak leaves

Comparing similarities and differences in the leaves

Hidden treasure on an oak leaf

Pressing the leaves

Grasshopper found!

Grasshopper appreciation

Oak leaf bouquet

Collecting leaves

Turkey Tail fungus
(studies have shown this fungi to be of use in treating some cancers)

Turkey Tail fungus

Searching for the Black-capped Chickadees

Happy Birding young Bird Nerds!

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