Audubon New York’s For the Birds! is an elementary education program that teaches environmental awareness and appreciation of nature through the study of birds. During a 4, 8 or 16-week session, elementary students in grades two through four learn about their local, natural environment through classroom lessons, outdoor field trips, and a conservation project designed to provide or enhance bird habitat in the local community. Each student receives a laminated bird guide and journal to use throughout the length of the program which they use to identify birds, write about the weekly concepts they are learning and the outdoor experiences they have in the local community, as well as draw pictures of the birds they learn to identify. For the Birds! is a well-rounded curriculum aligned to New York State’s performance standards in Math, Science and Technology and English Language Arts.
For the Birds! started in New York City in 1997 and has since spread to other cities throughout New York State. The main goal of For the Birds! is to excite students about learning through hands-on discovery of the natural world that exists right in their own neighborhood. For the Birds! emphasizes local birds and local habitats. This place-based learning not only provides knowledge of local species and habitats, but also encourages a sense of pride in one’s own community and empowers students to take an active interest in protecting their local environment.
For the Birds! is team-taught by Audubon New York staff and Audubon-trained volunteers who visit students directly at their schools and lead them through lessons either inside their classrooms or outside in the local school neighborhood. The program culminates in a field trip to a local city park where students apply their newly acquired bird knowledge and identification skills as they observe birds and bird behavior in various natural habitats.
The For the Birds! Program:
- Provides fun, hands-on indoor and outdoor activities
- Exploration of local, natural habitats
- Fosters science literacy, environmental awareness and stewardship
- Aligned to National and New York State standards in Math, Science and Technology and English Language Arts
- Integrates across disciplines including math, geography, social studies, art, reading and writing
- Supports classroom teachers in meeting curriculum and standard requirements
- Involves community volunteers and partners
"In our class there are twenty one different student names. In the world there are 8,500 different bird names. Birds are named because of their looks, their color, what they do, where they were born, or who discovered them. Some are named for the way they sing and for friends and family. The black-capped chickadee is named after its black cap and the sound it makes." - Gabriela Hernandez, 4th Grade student
"There was a question on the NY State Science exam regarding migration. All of the children knew what migration was thanks to the For the Birds! program. I was amazed at the level of commitment exhibited by the educators from the program. They really want to see the children learn and excel." - Carissa Becker, Teacher, PS 102
"Being able to work with and help children learn to see, appreciate and gain more knowledge about nature has been a wonderfully satisfying experience. Not only are the students more observant of the natural world, but their regular journal recordings about birds and their habitats have improved the children's overall attentiveness and writing skills. We make a difference. It is truly exhilarating!" - Gini Stowe, Volunteer
"My teachers and I have witnessed the time and effort that go into "For The Birds!" We are impressed with Audubon's grasp of both MST and ELA standards in the lessons they design. Parents have commented on the excitement with which their children describe the program." - Fran Rosenstein, Principal, PS 159
To see the For the Birds! program in action, click here to see footage from a field trip to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.
Click to see For the Birds! students improving bird habitat in Highbridge Park in Manhattan as part of a Toyota TogetherGreen Grant partnership between Audubon New York and New York Restoration Project.
For a copy of our brochure, click here.
For more information or to learn how you can volunteer, please contact:
Haley Main, Program Director, For the Birds!
225 Varick Street, NY, NY 10014