Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition talks birds at Searsport Elementary
On Wednesday, Feb.12, Searsport Elementary School kindergarten students met several members of the Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition and there was an instant connection.
The coalition does a number of educational workshops a year and was invited by Linda Bowe, the Searsport principal, to come as guests to the kindergarten group’s exploration of birds in the Penobscot Bay area. Cloe Chunn, naturalist and instructor for the Penobscot Bay Stewards organized the four sessions, all designed to teach students about the unique characteristics that help each bird survive in our harsh environment.
Chunn taught the children how to identify some of the more colorful local birds, along with their individual songs. Deb Smith, another naturalist with the group, brought several stuffed owls and showed students the adaptations they have developed that makes them great hunters. Afterward, students made their own owl masks. Mike Shannon, longtime naturalist with the Audubon Center and former instructor at Unity College, brought a collection of birds, especially woodpeckers, and showed the children how they perch themselves on trees to eat bugs and drink sap. Beth Henderson, a longtime educator, showed students how to trace and cut out red “feathers,” with which to construct a large cardinal. Students handled nests, bird specimens, hides of animals and had a wonderful morning.
The presentations were a kick-off to a weeks-long project-based learning unit, one in which students will learn more about how birds have developed different adaptations in order to survive.