January 17, 2020
|Yoshi the Gecko by Stephanie Morales|
This season’s BirdSpotter contest is celebrating teachers and students who love birds. Congratulations to our second winner for this season, Stephanie Morales, and her students at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Clifton, NJ!
Stephanie and her 7th grade biology class have several class pets, including a gecko, frogs, a hermit crab, and Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches! But watching birds has really expanded their perspectives on the natural world. She and her class have been feeding birds for five years, but this is the first year they’ve gotten involved with FeederWatch. Their classroom faces the courtyard of the school, and they have three window feeders with mixed seed to attract the birds. Stephanie goes on:
We usually see sparrows, Blue Jays, Mourning Doves, and Mr. & Mrs. Cardinal. Occasionally there is a hawk in the tree….and no songbirds. The students like Blue Jays, who announce their visit!
Stephanie brings FeederWatch into her biology class too. She says the project is an extension of the class that connects them to the outdoors. When learning about predator/prey dynamics, sexual dimorphism (the distinct difference in appearance or size between different sexes, i.e. male and female cardinals), and other relationships, the birds serve as great real-life examples.
When we asked if Stephanie had any tips for other teachers on how to get their students excited about birds, her advice was concise:
Be aware that we are surrounded by wildlife! Explore! Observe!
Thanks to Stephanie, her class (and class pets!), and to all of the schools who have entered our contest so far! The entry form is still open for one last prize drawing- if you are an educator who is participating in FeederWatch this year, enter here for your chance to win! On February 14, 2020 we will announce one final randomly-selected teacher who uses FeederWatch as a way to engage students with hands-on science. Winners receive goodies from the Cornell Lab and a gift card from our sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited. Visit our BirdSpotter homepage for more information.