Adventures in Biodiversity

I’ve spent the past several weeks preparing for a series of events which finished appropriately today, on National Public Lands Day.

I connected with Deborah Perryman on Twitter, and because I have been paying close attention to teachers of science lately, I caught some very important posts going by in my feed. That’s how I learned about the National Biodiversity Teach-In.

I sent Deb a copy of our book, Lessons from Pond Scum, thinking she might be interested in sharing it with her students. How gratified was I to have her tell me she loved it and would pass it around? Very. How gratified was I to see this Tweet?

@Odie34306156:No place better to read “Lessons from Pond Scum”!@MissMartha1914 @elgin_high@stein_valeriepic.twitter.com/T8XsKskQ9G” 😀 yay!

12:46 AM – 16 Sep 14

Exceedingly.

Deb is the faculty adviser of students in the Elgin High School Environmental Program. She was recently awarded Illinois Environmental Teacher of the Year for her efforts, and even more recently shared the news that she’s been named to Earth Echo’s Learning Education and Advisory Panel, launched by Philippe Cousteau.

I felt that Homeostasis Press could be an active part of the Teach-In, and I hosted an “Out-in-Biodiversity” event in association with the Teach-In, called Biodiversity is For the Birds!

Last weekend, we welcomed families and bird-lovers of all ages. I had no idea what to expect from this event, but the response was gratifying. Those who came hoped more people would come and experience the range of activities and information we had to share. Those who missed it asked if we’d host another. I had great volunteers, too! It was a fun-filled day.

So what did we do at Soundview School during our event?

We watched and listened for birds in the forest.

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We did a nest craft.

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We examined a wide assortment of nests and marveled at their variety and complexity.

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We played “Whose Dinner Am I?” with Cornell University’s BirdSleuth cards, and found out that kids of any age love these beautiful bird cards!!

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We told bird encounter stories, shared information, talked about favorite bird books, and poked into several bird identification guides, including Merlin, Cornell’s bird ID app.

We celebrated biodiversity together, and had so much fun sharing and learning! Homeostasis Press will definitely be hosting other events like this one in the future.

After the weekend events, the Teach-In began, and Soundview’s students and teachers spent a few days of this past week joining with webinars presented by scientists and  authors with specialties in many areas of ecology and the environment.

We were able to get in on three that fit our age range, and we had fun learning things we’d never known before.

Batty for Bats!

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This webinar was attended by 63 of our school community members, and students were fascinated and engaged in learning more about bats and their importance in the environment. The presenter actually lives to the south of us, in our state, and now our teachers want a field trip to see a colony – or to have her visit the school!

Marine Mammal Strandings

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It took some intrepid 4th graders to attend this webinar, since it began before the regular school day. A couple of community members were also able to join us too, so we had 23 attendees for this informative talk. The speaker was very engaging and easy to understand for our age group, and she answered some of our questions later via Facebook, going above and beyond to share her passion.

No Monkeys, No Chocolate

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This wonderful nonfiction picture book was fun to read with students before the Q& A webinar with the author. Teachers also shared her publication timeline with classes. It shows in a unique way how many revisions and steps it took to get the book published, including different versions of the manuscript which were submitted. We had 30 attendees at this webinar, too.

Homeostasis Press has already committed to help with next year’s Biodiversity Teach-In. Maybe our support will take the same form, or maybe we’ll be involved in other ways. Either way, this is what it’s all about for us – spreading the word to young people everywhere. They are our future, and the key to a bright future for the amazing planet we inhabit.

Thanks, Deb, and students of Elgin High School! We felt the power of your efforts this week, and we appreciate all you’ve done to raise awareness.

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About vst3in

I am a writer, avid reader, library techie, birder and runner. I make felt and teach others. I love colors and textures and birds and books. I'm working on a historical novel and reading lots of books for young people. I am running to get stronger, and I sail with my husband. This blog contains thoughts about all these things.
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