On May 6th 2011, the Illinois Audubon Society held their first Celebrate Urban Birds Event at Adams Wildlife Sanctuary in Springfield, Illinois. The sanctuary consists of 40 acres of woods, prairie and small wetlands in the middle of an urban area in Springfield. The facility located within the sanctuary is a combination of an old 1857 house and the newly constructed headquarters for the Illinois Audubon Society. Since they now have a wonderful education center and many trails, they felt that holding a Celebrate Urban Birds event was perfect for the location.
Pleasant Hill School is located several blocks away. The area immediately surrounding the sanctuary is mostly low-income families. Since the opening of the headquarters in 2008 Audubon has been hoping to form a partnership with the school and work with them to find ways for the classrooms to utilize the natural areas at the sanctuary. After a discussion with the principal it was determined that the 5th grade would be the best audience, and so they set out to organize and hold a Celebrate Urban Birds Day.
With the help of volunteers from their new Master Naturalist class they designed a day that included art, plants and bird observation. They included a pre-event visit to the school to introduce the program and to start getting the students familiar with the birds they would be identifying.
On the day of the event the students participated in bird observations, planting sunflowers that would later be placed in the sanctuary and designed postcards depicting urban birds.. They were instructed to make two postcards. One would be sent to a family member or friend of their choice. The second postcard was designated for Cornell.
Everyone involved, from the volunteers to the students had a great day. Audubon is hoping to plan another event next year.