50 Birds In Lakewood

  • Location
    Lakewood, Colorado
  • Status
  • Age Level
    Any Age

The Problem

Raise awareness of the problems that birds are facing in our community. Encourage community involvement through education and promoting specific steps they can take to help birds.

Our Plan

To engage people of all ages, but especially youth, in recognizing the wonderful diversity and importance of birds in our community through educational efforts and identification contests in conjunction with our city's 50th anniversary.

Themes Addressed

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    Community Enhancement
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    Endangered Species
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The Benefit

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Here is how the project went:

Their project engaged people of all ages, but especially youth, in recognizing the wonderful diversity and importance of birds in our community through educational efforts and identification contests. We had over 50 area youth create artwork to depict the 50 most common birds in Lakewood for an eight-week art and educational exhibit at Belmar Library. This display also promoted a bird identification contest. Youth participants were encouraged to sight and identify as many local birds listed on the contest sheet as they were able. They were not required to identify a minimum number of birds to participate. Over 600 contest forms were printed and distributed. Forms were also available on social media and many were printed at home by contestants. The homeschool students met with Wild Birds Unlimited in Lakewood and asked for help with sponsoring the contest. Wild Birds promoted the contest on their weekly podcast, served as a collection place for contest forms, gave all participants a free five-pound bag of birdseed, and donated bird feeders for winners of a drawing at the end of the contest. Green Mountain Area Homeschoolers (GMAH) also used a grant from the Jane Goodall Institute to purchase birding fiction and non-fiction books to give away in the drawing. In all, there were 16 winners randomly selected from four categories, preschool through high school. In the spring and summer, GMAH held birding walks open to the community at Bear Creek Lake Park, Belmar Park, and Main Reservoir. Local adult and youth birding experts from Audubon and Denver Field Ornithologists volunteered to help participants with identification. GMAH student-written articles about the "50 Birds In Lakewood" project were published in the DFO and Audubon newsletters. Education efforts within the homeschool group included a visit to the National Eagle Repository, the Audubon annual meeting, and events with speakers from Birds of Prey and Nature's Educators. "50 Birds in Lakewood" was capped off by a holiday lamppost at Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park featuring additional bird artwork by local youth and a message to promote conservation and awareness.

Through this project I/we learned:

The students wanted to convey the number of species of birds that live here without overwhelming people. They also wanted to help people of all ages, particularly youth, realize what an important part of our ecosystem birds are. They designed the contest so that a casual observer could 1. realize they might already recognize a fair number of common birds (e.g. robin, sparrow, crow, duck, etc.) and 2. use provided resources to learn more about bird identification if they wanted. Resources also were provided for learning about the importance of birds in our ecosystem. Developing community partnerships and gaining support from businesses and organizations like Wild Birds Unltd, Denver Audubon, and Denver Field Ornithologists was a great learning experience in community collaboration for the students and helped them complete the project with much more success than they might have achieved otherwise.

What I/we might change:

We might add a contest for adults if we had additional members and resources to reach a broader audience.

My/our favorite part of this project was:

Seeing area youth explore and learn about how many species of birds we have here. Witnessing their feelings of accomplishment as they did this.

Some tips, tricks or fun facts about the project:

It was a new and rewarding experience for our students to ask a local business to help with their efforts.

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