Acquainting Students with Local Nature
Since 2013, the volunteer-driven Birds in my Neighborhood® program has helped connect more than 10,000 youth from 60 schools in the Illinois region to nature through birds. The program promotes children spending time outdoors as a safe way to socialize, exercise, support mental health, and become more familiar with the natural world.
Apply to Bring Birds in my Neighborhood to Your Classroom or School!
Schools and Teachers can expect to receive 4 components of support through the Birds in my Neighborhood: 1) hands-on professional development, 2) three volunteer-led visits of in class, schoolyard and field trip sessions, 3) bird-related classroom resources, and 4) $500 in digital funds to be able to purchase materials related to the inquiry-based experience about birds.
School communities with the most need and interest in Birds in my Neighborhood, schools that have had a previous relationship with the program, and educator teams of two or more from the same grade band are encouraged to apply.
During the three visits, volunteers lead the students through various indoor and outdoor activities. Classroom educators are responsible for coordinating with their volunteers for the dates and times for these sessions. Educators also assist the volunteers with classroom management as needed. Educators have the important role of engaging students with birds in the time between volunteer visits. This is where the mini-grant comes in. You are able to use the $500 mini-grant and work with your fellow teachers to purchase materials to follow your student’s interests in birds. For example, if your students are curious about bird nests, a participating teacher can use the $500 to purchase building materials for students to build their own nests. Or if an educator’s students really love everything about bird poop, they can purchase real bird poop and scientific inquiry tools like magnifying glasses to explore. You are your student’s partner in learning all about birds!