Educational Resources - Discover Birds Program
Inspired by the Discover Birds Activity Book and a desire to give classroom students and their teachers a lasting introduction to birds, the Knoxville Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society initiated the donation of books to area classrooms and added guided “bird walks” to introduce students to birds.
From this simple idea, the Discover Birds Program developed. Along with donating books to classrooms (all of the students in a single grade level), a team of volunteers visits the school to present a three-part program about birds. On a rotating schedule, students experience a slide show presentation of Tennessee birds and their songs; enjoy a show-and-tell treasure chest of bird related items, including talons, feathers and nests; and learn to identify the birds in their school yard through guided bird walks with close-up views of birds through birding telescopes.
Students get to see the color of a bird’s beaks, the color of their eyes, and sometimes get to view birds incubating eggs on the nest, all without disturbing the bird.
During the 2012-2013 school year, the Discover Birds Program reached nearly 400 students in the East Tennessee area. Here is what one teacher had to say after the program visited her school:
“…thanks so much for all your efforts. I still have students stop me in the hall and tell me that they have put a bird feeder up for the first time, or they have seen a bird that you all introduced them to. You’ve changed lives, and thank you for that. Please come back to our school.”
For more information about this program, how to arrange a Discover Birds visit to your school, or how to become a Discover Birds volunteer, contact Billie Cantwell: firstname.lastname@example.org
You may also enjoy visiting the Discover Birds Blog to see photos and descriptions of recent school visits and student activities.
Sponsored by the Tennessee Ornithological Society and written and illustrated by Vickie Henderson, the thirty-six page Discover Birds Activity Book is designed to inspire the student’s curiosity and creativity while presenting facts about birds that make them unique among all wildlife.
Initially requested by teachers and created as a student activity for the 2012 Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival, the activity book was expanded and into its third printing by early 2013. Within a year, more than 2000 books had been distributed around the state by TOS members who donated the books to teacher classrooms. The activity book was also introduced to community organizations and distributed through local environmental education and science programs.
Activities in the book have been contributed by educators from The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, and other Tennessee naturalists and educators. The book includes illustrations to color and activities, including word search, word scramble, draw-a-nest, matching, message decoding, crossword and others. A vocabulary list is provided along with a list of books for young readers, and a list of websites for more information about birds and related activities. Created at the third grade level, the book is appropriate for grades two through six.
The complete activity book and individual pages are available in PDF format at the links below. To purchase printed copies of the book, contact Cyndi Routledge at email@example.com. A curriculum guide is also available at the link below.