The mission of the Buffalo Audubon Society is to promote the appreciation and enjoyment of the natural world through education and stewardship. At every opportunity, Buffalo Audubon programs should include an outdoor component and opportunities for the audience to actively participate. Primary focus on the wildlife and habitats of Western New York.
For the Birds! is presented as either a 4 or 8 week multi-session program. Students learn about a variety of topics related to nature and the environment. One-hour lessons are taught by Audubon staff and volunteers. A journaling activity, including both art and writing, is connected to each lesson. The program culminates with a field trip. The study of birds and the myriad of colors in the avian world create a perfect bridge for a cross-curricular unit between the arts, language and science. The works of John James Audubon will also be featured.
The standard 8-week curriculum includes the following topics:
- Bird Identification
- Schoolyard Bird Walk
- Beak Adaptations
- Junior Birders
The Grandpa Tree
This project will improve core literacy and nature literacy for students by engaging them through the outdoors. The story “The Grandpa Tree” is an elementary tale of the life cycle of a tree, from its beginnings as a sapling to its demise on the forest floor, where it decomposes and becomes "a home for rabbits, and food for flowers". Each classroom will receive a copy of the book. The book will be read in class and students will engage in conversations about trees, forests and wildlife.
A field trip to Beaver Meadow Audubon Center will allow students to make connections by visiting the Grandpa Tree on our property. Students will go on a short nature walk that will end at the Grandpa Tree. The book will be read again outside (weather permitting) or inside if necessary. Teachers and Audubon Naturalists and volunteers will direct the students through inquiry-based exercises to better understand the Grandpa Tree and the ecosystem that it supports. Families will be engaged since copies of the book will also be available in classrooms and school libraries. Children will be encouraged to borrow and share the book at home. After the program at Beaver Meadow, students will participate in a prompted writing and collage art exercise to build on their experiences at the center and with the book.
While connections between arts literacy, core literacy and environmental literacy occur in other contexts and in other learning environments across the country, the connection between the Grandpa Tree from the book and the Grandpa Tree at Beaver Meadow should set the stage for forming stronger connections with both reading, art and the outdoors. While we encourage a field trip to Beaver Meadow, we understand that it may not be financially feasible for some schools to do this. In lieu of the field trip, our staff and volunteers can also conduct an outdoor workshop in the schoolyard working to set the stage for stronger connections with reading, art and the outdoors.