Birding at Camp Prairie Creek
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. The camp aims to increase environmental stewardship through exploring nature and learning about resource conservation.
RCAS introduced about 80 campers to local birds, habitat, and birdwatching. President Sarah McKillip led a discussion and used some of the bird skins from the BSU ornithology lab, giving the youth hands-on experience.
Board member Kim McKenzie led short bird walks, focusing on recognizing bird calls and spotting birds in the forest. Treasurer Robert Williams assisted with bird spotting and identification and was the photographer.
The kids had great questions, demonstrating their interest and concern. What a bright future we have with such conservation-minded youth!
RCAS Fox Student Grant recipient
The Robert Cooper Audubon Society has awarded its 2016 Fox Student Grant to Clayton Delancey, who is pursuing an M.S. in biology at Ball State. Clayton will receive $1,000 to purchase radio-transmitters and field supplies for his research on the Cerulean Warbler, a neotropical migrant species of conservation concern.
The new grant, funded by RCAS members Josie and Geoff Fox, is open to undergraduate or graduate degree-seeking students conducting bird-centered research. Up to $1,000 may be awarded to purchase supplies and/or support for travel and field research expenses.
Clayton completed his undergraduate education at Penn State and gained experience as a bird bander with the U.S. Forest Service. During that time he studied Cerulean Warbler ecology and learned how to apply tracking methods, including the use of radio-transmitters and geolocators, to study Cerulean Warbler movement after fledging.
As a graduate student at Ball State, Clayton is applying his knowledge and experience to further study fledgling Cerulean Warbler dispersal in southern Indiana, as well as post-breeding season movement of Cerulean Warblers. RCAS looks forward to supporting Clayton and this important research.
In two separate presentations at Kennedy Library, children and their parents had the chance to meet wildlife biologist Tom Sproat and some of his feathered friends, including several owls and a hawk or two.
Dr. Sproat, from Northern Kentucky University, also happens to be the winner of the 2015 Clyde W. Hibbs Conservation Education Award!
Click to see photos of Tom 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, with funding made available by the National Audubon Society.
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.
The program has helped fulfill the Whitely Neighborhood Association’s mission as an “Education First Community.” Participating after-school programs are Motivate Our Minds, the Buley Center, Precious Hearts, the Huffer Memorial Children’s Center, and the Longfellow Elementary Reading Club.
Click to see more photos from About Birds.
The Tweet – a chapter newsletter geared toward children under age12 – was created by past RCAS Education Chair, Deborah Brown. With Deborah's retirement from the board in July 2016, the Tweet was retired as well. Thank you, Debbie, for all the wonderful issues of the Tweet!
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.