Hello, Year of the Bird Mountain Kids! 5th Grade is epic and this will be one of the most memorable of all time. Why? Because you are more free than ever before to do something different this year. 2020-2021 will have you more free than ever before to guide you own learning adventure!
This year, you aren't just a Mountain Kid. You will be a bird scientists, an ornithologist. You will work with other ornithologists in the mountains to better understand birds and their habitats. They need your help.
The reason we do Outdoor Core all year long is because every day and every week things are changing. In the summer a lot happens as birds lay and hatch their eggs and new life starts. I have watched this happen in my own yard as Raven, Chickadee and Flicker parents taught their young to fly and forage and hopefully survive the hazards of the world. As we move into fall, some of our birds and prepare for the winter while others leave, migrating to warmer and easier places. Our winter residents are tough, amazing birds who, like you, aren't afraid of a little cold and snow. Finally spring will bring a return of our migrating friends, some who will just pass by and others who will stay to nest again. It's an amazing yearly cycle that you will watch from start to finish!
During this year, don't just notice who is who in the bird world but ask yourself what they are doing and why. There is a thing called bird language and all of those songs and calls that you hear are communications between birds about what is happening around them. See if you can figure that out!
The truth is our local scientists are trying to keep track of when birds return and they could use your help. The timing of the departure and return of migrating birds is important information that you can discover and share with the pros!
Astronomy is also a part of your 5th grade year, so every once in a while go out at night, look up and notice what is happening in the deep sky. What phase is the moon? Are there any planets you can see? What constellations are overhead each month of the school year? Get to know three every season because many will disappear from our view as we orbit the sun this year. They look like they are moving because we are always moving.
A few guiding habits for the year ahead.
- Go outside everyday
- Record the moon phase every day
- Record Sunrise & Sunset time every day
- Keep track of every bird you see. You don’t need binoculars, just your eyes and curiosity. A prize to the student who sees the most species.
- Download ebird. This is a free App and will allow you to set up an account and track your bird sightings. Some of the best citizen scientists are kids! The application has a lot of cool features to explore and it will help you to become a better birder!
- Notice the connection between where birds are and where water is. Which birds like to live around which types of water.
- Field journal one adventure at least once a week
Click here to see the Plumas Audubon PEEP resources