During a beautiful sunny day, the Centro Básico San Mateo school in David, Chiriquí, Panama, launched its first BirdSleuth International workshop for their students in the seventh, eighth, and ninth grade. The participants were given materials all about their local birds. They had a great time with the entertaining and educational bird activities held indoors and outdoors! The program made the Centro Básico San Mateo school one of the first schools in Panama to use the BirdSleuth International curriculum in their classrooms. All of this could not have happened without the outstanding job of the teacher, Yasmín Cerrud and Elesbia Santamaria, the principal of the Centro Básico de San Mateo.
It was wonderful that the Biologist, Katherine Araúz Ponce, could come speak with the students about the extraordinary world of birds. During her presentation, students were able to value citizen science as it helps conservation and research efforts about birds and the environment. During the activity, “Knowing our Birds” students were mesmerized from hearing the beautiful sounds their local birds make. They also had materials that described the specific characteristics of the common birds in the City of David. All of these resources led to so many questions about specific birds and all the participants were thrilled to know more! The activity “Habitat Scavenger Hunt” was also exciting! Students used the printed materials in the curriculum to look for “objects” in the list. The children were actively looking for insects, spider webs, leaves, or an animal’s footprints in their school’s backyard. it was fun!
After this outdoor activity, the participants said they noticed that their school did not have enough trees, places birds could drink water from, or find food from. Local environmental leaders were also there and presented their greening plans for the local birds and the community. The students were inspired by the wonderful activities, that they began their plan to create more green spaces in their school.
The event was such a success that soon after the first event, the school decided to host another workshop! It was fantastic to hear the students reflections about the first program and how their relationships with birds have changed since then. They could now see the specific behaviors of their local birds. They said the workshop really motivated them to get interested in birds and their natural environment!
During the second workshop, Biologist Katherine Araúz Ponce held another exciting presentation! She invited students to go up to the front of the classroom to name birds using their silhouettes as clues. The kids were buzzing with enthusiasm as they named the birds and placed their name in front of their peers!
Many students wanted a better way to signal their classmates of the location of a specific bird. That way, they could enjoy the beauty of the bird without scaring the bird away. The clock method to signal the precise way to locate a bird was shared with the students during the “Tips for Bird Watching” activity. The activities of the BirdSleuth International curriculum also helped students find out about the amazing application of eBird, a cool way to enter bird observation data. Using eBird, the school entered their first observation together! They were so surprised and happy to see their data entered, and knowing it would help scientists protect birds as well as the natural environment.
The students left thrilled with all the information they took home and were excited to observe birds as well as get involved with conservation efforts! They even made a logo for their new bird watching club!
If you would like to know more about the activities the teacher, Yasmín conducted through July this year, click here!