By Peter Kleinhenz
The second visit to Pineview Elementary went much smoother than the first. The third to fifth grade students seemed genuinely excited to have us back. This time, we had a FAMU student, Niles Morrow, join us and Harvey Goldman joined as well.
We took the students to a classroom so that they could decorate name tags that we made for them. Judy provided sheets that showed the kids how to draw birds, and many of them created excellent bird designs on their name tags. It's important that we get to know these kids and name tags are an essential piece of that.
Judy and Harvey showed the kids a live eagle cam next. They loved it! The eagles just so happened to land immediately in front of the camera, and could be seen curiously investigating it as the kids watched in awe. I would not be surprised if none of the kids have seen a wild eagle before. You could tell that they were taken aback by this impressive animal.
We split the kids in groups and took them outside. Half of them went to a table Betsy Sullivan had set up that allowed them to participate in "Fill-the-Bill". The lesson shows students a variety of food items and different types of "bird bills" shown via common utensils such as spoons, tongs, and droppers. The students had bird cards that they then had to match with certain kinds of bills.
The other group located actual birds and photos of birds through binoculars. The students are definitely getting proficient at their use, and we are still so grateful for generous Apalachee Audubon donations in addition to the support of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to give the kids a chance to use them. Many kids could name some of the bird species they observed, and some even told me what kinds of foods they eat based on their bill shape!
Donna Legare and one of her employees from Native Nurseries moved the bird feeders at Pineview to a better location, and some kids playing on the playground stopped by to help. Now, the feeders are in a location more conducive to bird activity and have enough food to last them quite awhile.
The program just keeps getting better. I, for one, can't wait until next time.