Help children and teens develop a new hobby and learn about biology in the process. Use the information provided by Diana Ruark of Nature’s Workshop Plus!, Dale Gausman of the North American Montessori Center, and Sandy R. Wilbur, retired wildlife biologist specializing in ornithology, from Condor Tales to take you step-by-step through a series of integrated lesson presentations.
In Part I of the AMC Spring 2011 edition, Sandy answers general as well specific questions which will help you to understand the benefits of this hobby. You’ll learn how to get started, what types of products to buy, and what pitfalls to avoid, to name a few. Sandy is also sensitive to the concerns educators may feel about presenting lessons on this topic.
“If you’re starting out not knowing birds yourself, you could feel intimidated trying to help others learn. But, remember, even though
there are over 500 species of birds in the United States, there are probably not more than 25 or so common ones in any given area. And you already know a lot of types of birds, even if you don’t think you do. Most everyone recognizes crows, robins, blackbirds, doves, sparrows, hawks, woodpeckers, and “sea gulls.” Many of the birds you see are going to look similar to some of these that you know. With a very little study of a bird guide covering your region, you will find that although there are 50 “sparrows” in the country, only two or three of them will be found in your area or in the type of environment you will be looking in. Twenty hawks become only one or two you’re likely to see; most areas won’t have more than one type of dove or quail, etc.“
Sandy R. Wilbur Copyright 2011
Diana Ruark of Nature’s Workshop Plus! also offers useful lesson planning information for helping your students appreciate nature in general, with an additional tip or two about birds and bird watching. Click here for details. Diana provides you with resources and a useful book to help you with your nature planning lessons.
Last, but not least, in Part IV of this issue, Montessorian Dale Gausman leads you through the process of introducing a bird feeder to a group of children. Besides offering suggestions on how to get started, Dale provides a list of materials and other resources you will need to ensure a successful set of lesson presentations.
Heidi Anne Spietz
American Montessori Consulting