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

Lara Jones, a 2021 Fox Grant recipient

Each spring, graduate students who are conducting bird-centered research on species native to Indiana, including migratory species that breed in Indiana, are invited to apply for the Fox Student Grant.  Proposals for study of habitat critical to breeding and wintering grounds of said species will also be considered.

The grant awards up to $1,500 for the purchase of supplies and/or support for travel and field research expenses.  This year’s submissions were due on April 8, 2022. Results will be announced soon!

This grant program is made possible through the generous funding of RCAS members Josie and Geoff Fox. 

For complete details, including submission requirements, download the 2022 Fox Student Grant Funding Guidelines.

Lara Jones (pictured above) was one of two 2021 Fox Grant recipients.  A master’s-degree student at Ball State University, Lara has been studying the impacts of non-breeding habitat quality and long-distance dispersal on Cerulean Warbler reproductive success. 

Ryan Leys (right) was our other 2021 Fox Grant recipient.  A master’s student at the University of Waterloo (Canada), Ryan is studying the use of nocturnal heterothermy (self-regulation of body temperature) in North American songbirds during migration.

Past recipients of the grant are Clay Delancey (M.S., Ball State University, 2016), Garrett MacDonald (M.S., Ball State University, 2017), and Mary Woodruff (Ph.D., Indiana University, 2019).

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

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, or if you’d like to sponsor Audubon Adventures for a classroom, please please contact either of our Education Co-chairs, Emma Dragoo (egdragoo@bsu.edu) and Emma Soderstrom (eesoderstrom@bsu.edu).

Past Education Programs

We’ve created and hosted many programs for children in East Central Indiana, introducing them to birds, other wildlife, and their habitats, often in collaboration with other local organizations. 

Our Nature Play Days and our involvement with Nature Preschool Summer Camp helped dozens of preschool children learn about common bird species. 

Our birding class and hike during Camp Prairie Creek—a free environmental day camp for youth, sponsored by Muncie Sanitary District/Stormwater Management—introduced 80 campers to local birds, habitat, and birdwatching.

We’ve brought in special speakers like Dr. Tom Sproat, a wildlife biologist from Kentucky, who let kids and their parents get a close-up look at live owls and hawks. Perhaps most important, in 2015, in collaboration with the Whitely Neighborhood Association, we launched our About Birds program. We distributed copies of Cathryn Sill’s book About Birds and binoculars to after-school programs in Muncie. Since then, we’ve continued to host periodic About Birds activities for kids at Cooper Farm and other locations.