William E. Russell Elementary

Photo by Courtesy of Holly Rosa

This past May, the William E. Russell Elementary School in Dorchester, Massachusetts organized a “Bird Breakfast” to engage students, family and the community in science. The event was attended by 138 people, including members of the community. In preparation for the event, the elementary school took two weeks to teach their students about birds, they started off by asking them what they already knew about birds and then showing them the urban species that they’ll be able to find around the neighborhood.

photo © Courtesy of Holly Rosa

The event started out by serving breakfast to the students and their families. After the breakfast the students had a wildlife observation session in their Outdoor Classroom where they got to watch birds and try to identify them using CUBs data sheets and identification cards. The students had a lot of fun and were very engaged, says Holly Rose, their teacher. During their session they managed to spot pigeons, house sparrows, European starlings and a cardinal; they also found 5 bird nests around their school!

photo © Courtesy of Holly Rosa
In the second hour of the event the students had the opportunity to do more hands on work. The students got to use their creativity and painted beautiful bird houses that are sure to catch everyone’s attention. During this hour they also made two types of bird feeders, some with seeds and some with cheerios. One student was very excited to learn that birds eat cheerios too! Finally towards the end of the events all attendees helped plant flowers in the flowers beds around school. Engaging the students in greening teaches them the importance of having green spaces for birds.
photo © Courtesy of Holly Rosa

Overall the event was a complete success! Mr. Harrington, a student’s parent, said “this is such a cool event; I never had anything like this in school when I was growing up!” The event was enjoyed not only by the students, but also by their parents as well as the larger community.