Finally the Santa Lucia Forest School started off into the new year a few days ago. We invited the participants - children and adolescents between 5 and 16 years this time - to our office in La Delicia, Nanegal we ran a program on birds all morning.
A few weeks ago we received a training from the Aves y Conservación Foundation and we decided to pass some part of the activities on to our own expedition crew. Aves y Conservación also donated plenty of material, so it was practically a no-brainer to start the year with this topic.
This time around 23 kids assisted which is a new record for our forest school.
We started with a little class inside (something we usually avoid, but it was just too hot outside) and we discussed the different parts of a bird's body. This knowledge will be useful in the future when it comes to describing birds.
Then we did of course some birding session. Because of the size of the group we split them up into two - three or four would have been better. Birding is one of the crew's favorite activities and some of the youngsters have fantastic eye-sight and spot birds even at a long distance. There is still some work to do about the handling of binoculars, especially with the younger participants, but we'll get there.
In total we found 22 species with the Lineated Woodpecker which we observed for about 10 minutes maybe being the highlight.
Afterwards we went inside again and discussed the local birds, their characteristics and life styles. We also always try to use the English names, so you could say we also do our bit in teaching a foreign language! ;)
Finally we all drew our favorite birds. So, the whole event was a mixture of theory, practice and art sticking with one topic. Usually we are bit more mixed and we'll discuss internally what's the best course of action for the future. We will also need to see how deal with the group of participants growing bigger and bigger.
The whole morning was fun and everybody (including the birds) seem to have enjoyed it very much.