Adopt-a-School Project: Public School 119 Amersfort

Public School 119 Amersfort is located in a densely populated area of Brooklyn, New York, where there is little connection to the natural world. Schoolteacher Kate Judge feels that it is important to help children grow more aware of the existing wildlife surrounding them in their community, so she is planning a Birds of Brooklyn event with the school’s Pennington Adopt-a-School Mini-grant.

Prior to the event, students will learn about the CUBs focal species in the classroom. Then, on the day of the event, they’ll visit Avenue J Park to collect data, observe their surroundings and experience the park in a new way. Using new sketchbooks, they’ll draw pencil sketches of birds they observe, and compose poems reflecting their birdwatching experience.

A designated audiographer will record/document the event for later podcasting on the school blog, which will also include photos, reporting, interviewing and the reading of nature-inspired poetry.
Parents and teachers will be invited to participate in this event, since their presence will enable children to further discuss their experiences at home and across classrooms.

As Kate wrote us, “Visual art is an aspect of reaching a level of deeper understanding in this project. By asking one to draw and sketch the bird at rest or in flight and defining its environment we gain a context by which to relate to the birds. Furthermore, by putting it into words through an exploratory creative writing opportunity participants will solidify their learned experiences, create opinions and develop an appreciation for the world around them.”

While drawing and further observing, participants will notice what the birds are doing, what they eat, and where they rest. By bringing these observations and conversations back into the classroom, they’ll develop ideas on gardening for birds and bird habitat creation in their school garden. Since Avenue J Park is less than a block from the school, watching the birds there will show students the birds they can attract to their garden.