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.
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 Deborah as well.