Youth Education

From the Educators: Summer education programs wrap up

This year has been filled with adventure for kids and young adults in our Madison Audubon programs. Thanks to your support, we have been able to reach 2,259 youth since January – and have built long-term relationships with over 100 of them! Because of your support, local kids are spending more time exploring outside, asking questions, and making observations about nature...and they're unearthing their own special love and connection to our natural world as they explore.

Conservation Academy partcipants from Operation Fresh Start learn about water quality management.  Photo by Carolyn Byers

Conservation Academy partcipants from Operation Fresh Start learn about water quality management. Photo by Carolyn Byers

What were we up to this summer?

Operation Fresh Start Conservation Academy participants celebrate the end of their summer season with Smokey the Bear!  Photo by Carolyn Byers.

Operation Fresh Start Conservation Academy participants celebrate the end of their summer season with Smokey the Bear! Photo by Carolyn Byers.

  • Kids at Vera Court Neighborhood Center and Salvation Army Community Center adventured with insects, water critters, and tiny flowers in our Micro Explorers curriculum.

  • Through our Conservation Academy program, Operation Fresh Start crews learned about career paths in habitat restoration, stream ecology, ornithology, wildlife biology, urban forestry, and water resource management. We celebrated their summer of learning with a retreat at the Mackenzie Environmental Education Center!

  • A partnership with MSCR (Madison School & Community Recreation) allowed us to provide a week of Wildlife Immersion lessons for summer camp kids. Birds, binoculars, scat, tracks, and art projects were our highlights!

This fall, we plan to continue our partnerships with local schools and community centers, and hope to share the wonder of wildlife with as many kids as possible!

- Carolyn Byers
Director of Education
 

An Education Update

Winter sometimes seems like the calm between two storms in the MAS education world…

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.

Last fall Madison Audubon provided after school programming at four different community centers: Kennedy Heights, Lussier, 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 made frog slime, explored prairies and examined grasshoppers, and used dip nets to get a closer look at water critters.

Our Education Intern, Mary Schneider, did an excellent job leading programs at both Vera Court Neighborhood Center and Lussier Community Education Center. She grew as an educator, mastering techniques needed to reach reluctant kids, and gaining experience with planning lessons.

This winter we have been visiting several schools in the city of Madison, and have strengthened our partnership with Lincoln Elementary. More than half of the kids at Lincoln Elementary come from low-income families, and the free programming you help us to provide really goes a long way! Some of our favorite lessons involve identifying animal tracks and scat- poop! Animal signs are a great way to learn about the wildlife around us, and the kids love learning about them.

Students from Wingra School explore the world of animal signs with fake scat from our free lending kits

Students from Wingra School explore the world of animal signs with fake scat from our free lending kits

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.

Our new education intern, Lauren Sinclair (left, in green, surrounded by adoring students), will be working with Vera Court and Goodman Community Centers to provide more afterschool programming for kids. They will focus on exploring different types of natural habitats and the animals that call those places home.

This work was made possible by you! Thank you for helping Madison Audubon Society connect kids with nature! 
-- Carolyn Byers, Education Director