Students at King Middle School have been using their NRCM Grant on a project called “It’s for the Birds.” In order to better understand their local ecosystems and the problem of shrinking bird habitats, they have been observing local bird species as well as creating a set of species cards for the Audubon Society. Check out their progress below in a report from 7th Grade Science Teacher Ruth Maclean. Congratulations on a fantastic start to your project!
In the fall of 2014 the National Audubon Society published a report in which they listed 314 birds across the country that are endangered by human activity. The Maine Audubon Society has identified 84 birds from that list that are residents in Maine for at least part of each year. This fall in our expedition titled, “It’s for the Birds,” 75 students at King Middle School created species cards on these birds that will educate the public about these birds and their needs. They learned about the connections between these birds and native insects and native plants with the goal of identifying areas in Portland where native plants can be introduced to help improve habitat for both the birds and the insects that they depend upon. Here are two examples of finished species cards. We put drawings created in art class on side 1 with a poem created in language arts class. On side 2 each student put facts learned in science, math, and social studies about the bird’s ecosystem relationships and ways for humans to help the bird. A full set of the species cards has been sent to Maine Audubon for use in their nature centers. Each student also did an Adobe slide presentation on their work during phase one of the project. Here is a link to a student summary slideshow of her fall investigation into the life and needs of the ovenbird: https://slate.adobe.com/cp/te6gl/. In phase 2 of our expedition this spring, students will add native plant species to their own backyards and teach Portland residents how to garden for habitat. We are looking forward to learning how to germinate and cultivate native seeds.
Report by Ruth MacLean
Species cards by Sierra Aponte-Clarke and Rose Stait
Species Cards (click on images to enlarge)