DonorsChoose Challenge Classroom Proposal Focus, Birds

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One of the highest poverty areas in America is in Washington DC, our nation’s capital. That’s just disgusting. But we do not need to let the kids who live there succumb to the rampant despair of broken dreams, poor health and poverty. This proposal seeks to give these kids wings by teaching them about birds. Birds are a magical gateway into biological sciences; drawing kids into learning about the wonders of evolution and behavioral ecology and conservation. I know: I started out as a poor kid and I owe my life to birds. Even though I am still poor myself, I am planning to help out by donating some of my extra review copies of birding field guides to this classroom.

I’m the visual arts teacher at a Title I elementary school in southeast Washington, DC. I currently teach visual arts to over 400 students in grades ranging from Head Start (two-year-olds) to 5th grade (twelve-year-olds). I have been teaching in the same school for the past ten years.
Our local park is truly a gem in our Nation’s Capital. It offers visitors an opportunity to reflect and soothe their spirits through the beauty of nature. Fresh air, majestic trees, wild animals, and the ebb and flow of the creek emanate the delicate aura of the forest. It is the home to over 200 different species of birds.
Birdwatching means learning to identify the birds and understand what they are doing. Life suddenly gets more interesting when you become aware of the varied bird life all around you. To do this effectively the naked eye alone is not sufficient enough, in order to do it efficiently the students will need medium powered binoculars to explore the nearby park habitat and find the various birds in their natural habitat and the notebooks so the student can be effective recorders. The books would let the students match their birds with the correct species that are commonly found in North America, more specifically Washington, DC.
With your help my students will have the opportunity to further their experience in life science while exploring a new lifetime hobby. Research has shown that children who do not regularly encounter wildlife, develop unreasonable fears. Everything wild becomes strange and scary. Studies also suggest that unless these personal connections are made in early childhood, they may not be possible on such a deep, meaningful level.
My students need 20 pairs of binoculars, steno pads and 2 Birds of North America resource books. The cost of this proposal is $1,129, which includes shipping for any materials requested and fulfillment.
[Specific funding request PDF].

Read more about my DonorsChoose Challenge.

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About GrrlScientist

grrlscientist is the pseudonym of an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who writes about evolution, ethology, and ecology, especially in birds. After earning a degree in microbiology (thesis focus: virology) and working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, she earned her PhD in zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she studied the molecular correlates of testosterone and behaviour in white-crowned sparrows. She then worked a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where she studied the speciation and distribution of lories and other parrots throughout the South Pacific Islands. A discarded scientist, she returned to her roots: writing. Formerly hosted by The Guardian (UK), she now writes about science for Forbes and for the non-profit think tank, the Evolution Institute and she writes podcasts for BirdNote Radio. An avid lifelong birder and aviculturist, she lives with a flock of songbirds and parrots somewhere in Germany.
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