This season, students explored the wildlife and habitats of Boyd Hill. Throughout the year, we encountered snakes, tortoises, raccoons, butterflies, insects, alligators, and of course many birds. They participated in scavenger hunts and toured the park via tram. The tram adventure allowed the kids to explore the outer parts of the park. Topics covered included, birds of prey, butterflies, bird habitats, and bird migration. One of the biggest highlights was the chicken coop and chickens. A couple of the girls got to take home freshly laid eggs.We participated in The Great Backyard Bird Count in February. The kids spotted and identified twenty five species of birds in an hour’s time. The biggest thrill was a Roseate Spoonbill.
While discussing bird migration, we talked about the obstacles that birds encounter on their long journeys in the fall and spring. Tall buildings / windows, loss of habitat, and severe storms are just a few of the obstacles. Students learned how to make their yards more bird-friendly by putting out bird feeders and providing water to the migrating birds.
Photo credit: Laura Packard
In all, we had a great year and are anticipating bigger and better experiences next year.
Tentative Plans for the of fall of 2016.
A few changes are in store for our Navigating Nature youth program next year. We will be meeting the first Saturday of the month, starting in October, and continuing through April. Our age range is increasing, we will be accepting children in grades 4-8. We will continue to explore the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve wildlife with a greater focus on bird identification and habitat preservation. Please check the St. Petersburg Audubon website in August for further details and registration / application forms.
Our annual Learning Gate field trip to North Beach at Ft. De Soto evolved into a two-day event.
On May 11 and 13, St. Pete Audubon volunteers provided guided expertise for third grade students as they viewed shorebirds through scopes across the Habitat Restoration Area lagoon. Two classes attended each day accompanied by their teachers, parents and volunteers. According to Jim McGinity, Environmental Resource Teacher with Learning Gate Community School, there were approximately 100 people in attendance for the field trips.
The days' activities included seining, sieving and a tag game. They explored beach vegetation ecology, as well as learning about visiting migratory birds and year-round feathered residents.
In addition, students were able to make connections with their "critter" discoveries and how they provided food resources for the birds.
A highlight from the seining net was a seahorse (a first). Although the timing contributed to fewer than hoped for birds, there were some exciting discoveries. In addition to the usual suspects, we saw a Red Knot, Black Bellied Plovers, Dunlins, Black Skimmers, Wilson's Plovers, and a pair of American Oyster Catchers with the chick appearing occasionally.
Thank you to the volunteers who enjoyed sharing the birds with very interested students AND parents.
Margaret Santangelo explains what Bird Stewards do to Learning Gate students Photo: Dave Kandz
Margaret and Steve Santangelo shared Bird Stewarding, the Habitat Restoration Area purpose and beach conservation. They set a great example by talking about trash they had picked up that morning and how dangerous it is to our beach and marine wildlife.
Judi Hopkins, President, Pat Verdino, our newest Board Member and previously volunteer at other education events, Dave Kandz, Andrea Andersen, and Wanda Dean
Many parents and teachers, as well as Jim, thanked us for the time we gladly spent with the students. It was extremely rewarding!
Congratulations to Dr. Harold Albers! Winner of 2015 Education Award at this year's Audubon Assembly.
St. Petersburg Audubon paticipated in the St. Petersburg First Night event
Andrea Leavitt Anderson, Climate Change Chairperson, Wanda Dean and volunteers describe the story of the life of a Black Skimmer.
We had so much at First Night celebrating shorebirds and the New Year.
The children sat under the "water", held up silver fish for the bird to eat, and the Black Skimmer swooped down to eat the fish! Then the children were able to make beautiful wooden relief prints to take home with them. We worked as a team and brightened a lot of children's evenings!
Audubon Adventures helps 3rd through 5th graders form positive attitudes about nature and supports teachers with instructional content aligned with national standards for Social Studies (with an emphasis on Civics), Science, and Language Arts.
*NEW* An all-new Audubon Adventures kit is now available! Click on the thumbnails to learn more about this exciting new kit - “Action for Planet Earth.”
St. Petersburg Audubon supplies Audubon Adventures to over 40 classes each school year at no cost to the school system. Each kit costs $42 dollars; we incur over $1600 in expenses each year. We feel this is a small price for showing children the wonders of Earth's habitats and natural resources.
Would you like to help? Contact us about sponsoring a class!