While virtually every activity of the Robert Cooper Audubon Society has an underlying educational goal, some of our most important educational programs are aimed at children, youth, and university students.
Education Chair for the Robert Cooper Audubon Society is Savannah Lundgren, who works as a naturalist at Mounds State Park. RCAS members, friends, and their families are invited to participate in the following events at Mounds State Park Nature Center, all of them led by Savannah.
Birds You Never Knew Existed
Sept. 23, 10 a.m.
Some birds look so strange, you might think they were aliens! Abnormal plumage, malformed beaks, unusual shape, and of course infrequent appearance make some species of birds seem strange. Some also show weird habits in diet, flight, and mating practices.
Join Savannah Lundgren for this 30-minute indoor video presentation, where you can see the wildest and craziest birds on a big screen!
Breakfast with the Birds
Sept. 16, 9 a.m., and Sept. 23, 9 a.m.
Join naturalist Savannah Lundgren to discover what makes a bird a bird! This 30-minute program is geared for young birders (ages 4-10) to learn what wonderful creatures our feathered friends are. During the talk, you can help Savannah fill up the bird feeders and call in the birds for breakfast! Afterwards, sit in the Wildlife Observation Room and see the animals that come to eat, then enjoy the Mounds Nature Center.
Birding 101 Hike
Sept. 16, 2 p.m.
Have you ever wanted to learn more about the birds of East Central Indiana, but were unsure how to start? Join naturalist Savannah Lundgren and learn more about where to look for birds, how to identify them, and tools you can use on your hike.
The event will begin with a brief birding talk and an hour-long hike afterwards, which involves stairs and rough terrain. Bring your own binoculars if you have them, since Mounds’ supply is limited!
P.S. Learning how to bird is much easier when you go with experienced birders!
The Robert Cooper Audubon Society awards funds for bird-centered student research projects through a generous donation provided by RCAS members Josie and Geoff Fox. The Fox Student Grant will provide an undergraduate or graduate degree-seeking student with up to $1,000 to purchase supplies and/or support for travel and field research expenses.
The research proposal must focus on bird species native to Indiana, including migratory species that breed in Indiana. Proposals for study of habitat critical to breeding and wintering grounds of these species will also be considered.
Clay Delancey and Garrett MacDonald, both graduate students in biology at Ball State University, received the Fox Student Grant in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Applications for the 2018 Fox Student Grant were due in March.
The Robert Cooper Audubon Society has worked especially hard to introduce area children to wildlife. For example, in two separate presentations at Kennedy Library, children and their parents had the chance to meet Dr. Tom Sproat, a wildlife biologist at Northern Kentucky University, and some of his feathered friends, including several owls and a hawk or two.
Click to see photos of Dr. Sproat's most recent presentation, taken by Robert Williams.
In the summer of 2015, in collaboration with the Whitely Neighborhood Association, the Robert Cooper Audubon Society launched its About Birds program.
Ten copies of the book About Birds (by Cathryn Sill) and two pairs of binoculars were distributed to each of five after-school programs in Muncie that serve minority children from low-income families in the Whitely neighborhood. Children participated in a group reading of the book About Birds, which is aimed at readers in kindergarten through third grade. After the reading and discussion, students gathered outside for a short walk, learning how to use binoculars and identify birds. Click to see more photos from About Birds.
In July 2016, RCAS presented a birding class and hike during Camp Prairie Creek, a free environmental day camp for youth, sponsored by Muncie Sanitary District/Stormwater Management.
RCAS introduced about 80 campers to local birds, habitat, and birdwatching.
To see more camp photos, taken by Robert Williams, visit his photo site.
Each year, the winner of our chapter's Charles Wise Youth Conservation Award receives a Robert Cooper Audubon Society Conservation Scholarship.
The scholarship may be used by the winners to fund an ecology project that they have designed or want to participate in.
Local teachers of 3rd through 5th grades are invited to request Audubon Adventures kits. Each kit serves a classroom of up to 32 children and contains four nature- or conservation-related themes for each academic year.
If you are an educator or you know an
educator who would like to use Audubon Adventures in a classroom, please
contact Kim Lee, Education Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you'd like to sponsor Audubon Adventures for a classroom, please contact
Kim as well.