The Murray Grove Birding Club of Lacey Township, NJ was started in September 2013 as an after-school program led by George Morgan, whose wonderful work we have shared previously. They have been doing some great things this year with Celebrate Urban Birds. They advertised their program in two elementary schools in the district, Lanoka Harbor School and Cedar Creek Elementary, as an after school program. The program attracted 26 students from both schools. They met for 1.5 hours every month for the entire school year.
For the duration of the program, the participants studied almost all of the birds on the program list. During some of the sessions they would study the bird of the month using Golden Guides to Birding that were donated to them, coloring pictures of the bird, and filling in pertinent questions about the bird. They also did population counts outside for 10-15 minutes. The sessions also included an activity of the day related to the day’s session.
Some of the activities the participants engaged in were making a Mourning Dove nest and Bird beak Café in which they used ordinary utensils to test which were more effective in picking up seeds. They also made different kinds of bird feeders, including pine cones with peanut butter and feeders made with pipe cleaners. The participants also recycled milk cartons and made some more bird feeders out of those. Other activities included storytelling and poetry about birds, painting watercolors of birds, etc.
Some of the most important activities the group did, however, were those outdoors. Outdoor activities are great because they give people the chance to interact directly with nature. The participants of this great program were able to plant some sunflowers and care for them as well as practice their observation skills using binoculars that were donated by a generous benefactor.The kids also played bird Olympics, where they imitated bird movements and sounds.
the program was a complete success and all the people involved had lots of fun. Some of the participants’ parents also attended the program and received completion certificates as well. The end of the program was celebrated with a picnic and a Celebrate Urban Birds cake! All of the students loved the program and look forward to participating again next year.