From the Educators: Cold weather can't keep these kids inside!

Fall migration and the start of the school year are behind us, and we’re beginning to gear up
for spring migration and end-of-school-year field trips.

  Students identify ducks during fall migration.

Students identify ducks during fall migration.

Last fall Madison Audubon provided after school programming at two different community centers: Vera Court, and Salvation Army. Through these programs we helped underserved city kids learn about themselves through nature exploration. We watched them build their self-confidence with each lesson; a trait that carries over into every aspect of their lives. Our after school kids explored prairies, examined old birds’ nests, called for owls in a dusky woodlot, and used our microscope to get a closer look at water critters.

We provided free field trips to local natural areas for more than 300 middle school students. These trips allowed Glacial Drumlin to bring their entire 7th grade to visit the school forest.  While there, kids identified and collected prairie seeds, which they will use to restore wildlife habitat on their school grounds.

  Cold weather and snow don't slow these kids down from learning animal tracks.

Cold weather and snow don't slow these kids down from learning animal tracks.

This winter we have been visiting several schools in the city of Madison, including Muir and Wingra Elementary, and have strengthened our partnership with Lincoln Elementary. More than half of the kids at Lincoln Elementary come from low-income families, and the freeprogramming you help us to provide really goes a long way! This year we have met with Ms. Guiney’s 4th grade classroom each week for Outdoor Wednesday. The students have been observing and recording phenology around their schoolyard and at nearby Wingra creek. They have tried their hand a tracking animals, snowshoeing, and learning common winter birdcalls. In February, they being a month-long “build a bird” project: each student will create their own imaginary bird, giving it adaptations necessary for its survival in a particular habitat.

This spring we are looking forward to taking several different school groups out on field trips to local natural areas. Transportation costs are one of the biggest hurdles for teachers taking kids on field trips. Because of you, we are able to provide free bussing to kids who really deserve it. We will focus primarily on middle and high school groups from underserved schools. These are the groups with the least opportunity to get out and explore nature.

We have two new education interns this spring! Abe Lenoch will be creating a new partnership with Bayview Community Center’s elementary school kids. Olivia Sanderfoot will continue our partnership at Vera Court. Both will to provide more outstanding afterschool programming for kids. They will focus on exploring different types of natural habitats and the animals that call those places home.

  Plants offer a new look and feel during the winter months.

Plants offer a new look and feel during the winter months.

This work was made possible by you! Thank you for helping Madison Audubon Society connect kids with nature!