Wild Neighbors Nature Connection (WNNC) offers Relational Birding experiences for K-12 grade level groups that include lessons that focus on two major categories: Awareness Skills and Ecological Study. These are made to meet NYS Science Standards and Next Generation Science Standards on the topic of Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems for K-12 grade level groups. Each experience is crafted to be enjoyable, educational, and to engage young people's senses of wonder and curiosity. The Relational Birding curriculum aims to develop the following awareness skills while learning the ecological study topics also listed below:
ABC's of Relational Birding
Sensory Wildlife Observation
How to Move in the Forest
Exploring Sit Spot
Bird Vocal Language
Bird Body Language
Reading the Landscape
Interpreting the Soundscape
How to Use Binoculars
Plant, Animal, and Fungi Relationships
Natural Resources Ecology
Some activities include the following (customized for grade level standards):
Bird Fitness Assessment in Temperate and Boreal Habitats 3-LS4-3
Flocking for Survival 3-LS2-1
Beavers Impact on Birds and other Wildlife K-ESS2-2, 3-LS4-4, MS-LS2-4, HS-LS2-6
Tree Relationships with Birds 2-LS2-2, 2-LS4-1, MS-LS2-4
Bird Nest Dissection Project K-ESS2-2
Stocking Up for Winter with Jays and Squirrels K-ESS2-2, MS-LS2-1
Interpreting a Bird Song Soundscape MS-LS2-2, HS-LS2-8
Naturalist Explorer (Nature Awareness Basics) MS-LS-2-2
What Makes a Home (comparing the basic needs of birds with the basic needs of humans) K-LS1-1
Mapping Ecological Connections 5-LS2-1, MS-LS2-3,
See Below for a Free Sample Activity Sheet and Companion Video:
Naturalist Explorer (6-8)
Awareness Skills: ABC's of Relational Birding
Crafted to meet NYS Science Education Standard
Imagine that you are a naturalist explorer, like Charles Darwin exploring the Galapagos Islands, cataloging previously unknown animals so the world can learn about them and their environments.
This activity is meant to facilitate strands of connection between young people and wildlife through practicing the ABC’s of Relational Birding. Through this, young people will learn a valuable observational skill set that will equip them to be able to notice patterns and relationships in the natural world. The observational skills acquired through this activity will empower young people to approach work related to NYS Standards for Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems, Natural Selection and Adaptations, and Human Impacts more confidently and holistically.
The Naturalist Explorer activity can be done in any outdoor setting, since birds are literally everywhere! Ideally, this activity should be done in an open-air environment where sounds can be part of the experience as well as sight. Each participant will need this worksheet, a pencil, and a clipboard.
After completing this activity, participants may be given the opportunity to share their findings in a small group setting or to present in front of their class or another audience.
For a habitat comparison activity, have students complete this activity twice, observing the same species of bird in two different ecological settings for a habitat comparison.