Celebrate Urban Birds

From Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Dear friend,

A wonderful activity is coming up May 10-13 to help young people reconnect with nature, learn about birds, and contribute to science. “Celebrate Urban Birds!” is taking place across the country, sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Families, schools, youth groups, clubs, and after-school programs will be part of the action, joining activities that include gardening, bird watching, the arts, and science. And it’s all free.

We hope you’ll consider joining us too! We offer some suggested activities in this letter, with many more listed on the “Celebrate Urban Birds!” web site: www.urbanbirds.org/celebration (click on “Getting Started”).

Students of all ages and abilities can contribute data to help scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology learn how birds use urban habitats. Students watch birds for at least 10 minutes, checking off the ones they see from a list of 15 species we provide on an identification poster. Then they enter the list on the “Celebrate Urban Birds!” web site or send us a paper form.

While supplies last, educators can receive a celebration kit, in English and Spanish. It includes a colorful poster, educational materials about birds and urban greening, data forms, and sunflower seed packets for planting in pots and gardens. Kits will be available in early April. All materials will also available on the web site: www.urbanbirds.org/celebration .

These events will raise awareness about birds in cities and get young people involved in projects to “green” up their communities-and data collected will help scientists better understand how birds are affected by urban green spaces.

To learn more about “Celebrate Urban Birds!” or to sign up and request a kit, visit www.urbanbirds.org/celebration . It’s free, it’s fun-and it helps the birds!

Many thanks for your help!


Karen Purcell

Urban Bird Studies

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

159 Sapsucker Woods Road

Ithaca, NY 14850

(607) 254-2455

How Schools Can “Celebrate Urban Birds!”

  • Focus on science. Participate in very simple data collection focused on birds (it takes just 10 minutes). The Cornell Lab of Ornithology will provide all materials (available in early April). Contribute to real science!
  • Involve parents and extended families. Invite parents and families to your school or organization for a family-friendly celebration of birds. That may include displays of student science projects, a gallery of art projects focusing on urban nature, presentations by students about the findings of their data collection, or student-led bird walks for parents and families. Don’t forget to send us photos!
  • Read books, create displays, or host a movie night about birds and conservation. We have listed some wonderful books and movies on the web site.
  • Focus on the arts. Have kids create/paint postcards inspired by urban nature and conservation. Send the postcards to the Lab of Ornithology. Students can also create a mural or make urban terrariums with city landscapes and green spaces.
  • Pair up with a senior center in your community. Have students pair up with a senior center to design and carry out a community action project. They might create a small community garden, plant flowers in containers, collect data for citizen science, or build and erect a bird feeder or birdhouse.
  • Alert your local media about the work that your school or youth group is doing. News releases, photos, and information are available from the “Celebrate Urban Birds!” web site.
  • Post the enclosed posters in your school or other public area. You can download and print additional copies from the “Celebrate Urban Birds!” web site or request them from Natalie Hardnett at nlh22@cornell.edu.
  • Alert members of your school and your community about the celebration by sending an email message encouraging them to participate and sending them to www.urbanbirds.org/celebration for more information.

We have many more specific ideas on fun activities to help “Celebrate Urban Birds!” on our web site! Please pay a visit: www.urbanbirds.org/celebration/GettingStarted/Schools


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