Education

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.

Fox Student Grant

Mary WoodruffApplications for the Robert Cooper Audubon Society’s Fox Student Grant were due March 8. This grant funds bird-centered student research projects through a generous donation provided by RCAS members Josie and Geoff Fox. The 2021 winner(s) will be announced soon!

The Fox Student Grant is open to both undergraduate and graduate degree-seeking students and provides 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, as graduate students in biology at Ball State University, received the Fox Student Grant in 2016 and 2017, respectively, followed in 2019 by Mary Woodruff, a Ph.D. student in the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Graduate Program at Indiana University.

Cornell Lab’s Inside Birding Series 

Inside BirdingIf you’re new to birding or just don’t feel confident about your identification skills, we recommend that you visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Inside Birding Series

In each of the following videos, you'll learn some of birding strategies used by Chris Wood and Jessie Barry, two expert birders who work at the Lab:

Past education programs

Nature Play DayIn partnership with BY5 and the Apple Tree Child Development Center, we offered Nature Play Days to 50 preschool children in summer 2019. Focusing on common bird species, the program consisted of a reading and discussion of Our Yard Is Full of Birds, an examination of study specimens, and a bird walk.

That same summer, we helped facilitate Nature Preschool Summer Camp at Cooper Farm, just outside of Muncie.  Children at the Nature Preschool Summer Camp —a program developed by Apple Tree—joined RCAS volunteers to learn about birds.

Click to see more photos taken by Robert Williams at both events.

Tom SproatWe've given children and their parents 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.

childrensprogramIn the summer of 2015, in collaboration with the Whitely Neighborhood Association, we launched our About Birds program.

We distributed copies of the book About Birds (by Cathryn Sill) and binoculars to after-school programs in Muncie.
Click to see more photos from About Birds.

Camp Prairie CreekIn summer 2016, we 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.


RCAS Youth Conservation Scholarship

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.


Audubon Adventures

Audubon AdventuresLocal 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, or if you'd like to sponsor Audubon Adventures for a classroom, please contact Annette Rose, at rosenflowers@hughes.net.