HawkWatch has provided unique educational opportunities for my fifth grade students. I teach fifth grade in a Utah public school. Our classes are crowded (I have 32 students this year) and we have limited resources. Fifth grade is also a transitional grade for kids. Their interests and priorities shift dramatically. They began to have emotional, personal and academic problems. Many of my students don’t like school. It’s hard to teach these kids. HawkWatch’s education Director, Jenn Hajj offers educational programs about raptors and our environment. She traveled to our school to teach our challenging students. She brought a live red-tailed hawk. She also brought her guitar. She sang creative songs teaching about raptors and their ecosystems. She taught the kids about what scientists and volunteers at HawkWatch do (collecting data from different places about various species of birds). She explained why this data needs to be collected and what HawkWatch does with it. She even brought in calipers and rulers with cardstock photographs of raptors as models. This was for the kids to get some hands-on experiences using measurement and collecting data. My class was engaged. They actually experienced the importance of making accurate metric measurements. They loved having HawkWatch teach them. They were finally able to see a real connection with science, math, and reading. They made statements like, “Oh, this is why we need to make graphs.” This lesson made an impression on my students. They are still singing Jenn’s “Raptor Bird” song. Our introduction to HawkWatch was also a bridge to other learning opportunities. We were introduced to two live nest web cameras. One is for bald eagles, the other is for barn owls. My students have loved learning about these birds and watching them from our classroom. We observed them hatching, eating, growing, moving, and last year we watched one fledge. HawkWatch is a wonderful non-profit organization for schools.
HawkWatch International offers exceptional environmental outreach education to students at the Nature Center where I work. Presenters design their programs to capture the attention of young students who marvel to see a live hawk. Children learn about the importance of the natural world around them and begin to recognize how they can be stewards of it. Presenters often incorporate role-playing, music sing-a-longs, and games to instill their important message. Thank you, HawkWatch!