144 kids!!

Musical Nests

Paper Owl Fun

Preparing for musical nests

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In only six hours, Mianna and myself managed to visit 11 classes from K-8th grade, watch 70 paper-bag owls be made, give out 40 bird activity books, watch 30 kids pretend to be birds, and have 44 kids participate in a JeoBIRDy game. A total of 144 kids learned about the importance of birds!! In a big town that might not seem like much, but here it does.. That’s a WHOLE school we outreached to in one day! A WHOLE school that let us take time from their busy testing schedule just so we could teach their children about birds. The most memorable moment of the day was receiving the biggest hug from a group of kindergarteners. I’ll never forget these moments 🙂

GOT TO SEE SOME BLACK-NECKED STILTS TODAY!! LOVE THOSE BIRDS!!

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Best Job Ever!

As the sun begins to appear on the horizon, I prepare myself for the day ahead. Binoculars…. check…. Field guide… check…. window scope… check…. datasheet… check…. excitement… double check. My first survey for this internship was absolutely amazing! I saw American Avocets, Marbled Godwits, Willets, Great Egrets, Yellowlegs, White Faced-Ibis’, a Black-necked Stilt, Dowitchers, and my favorite…Wilson’s Phalaropes. Why is it my favorite? Thats simple. They make me laugh. They swim in circles. You haven’t lived until you have seen a Wilson’s Phalarope swim. I had the honor to see a flock of 400 Wilson’s Phalaropes swim in circles. As I watched them, the sudden image of a mob of people at a black friday sale came to mind. Can’t wait for my next survey 🙂

What do you get when you have four hours, 20 fifth graders, two EFTA interns, and six bird related activities? A FUN DAY! Mianna and myself spent the afternoon with 20 amazingly smart fifth graders. They learned about the differences between mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and birds. They learned how to make pine cone bird feeders. They learned how to read a dichotomous key. They learned about the life cycle of the American Avocet. They learned about the importance of birds through a Bird Jeopardy game. They learned how to identify birds through their shape, color, legs, and beaks. They learned how to use binoculars. And most importantly.. they became so interested in birds that they didn’t want us to leave. I really felt like I made a difference in these kids. I hope they will take what they learned in one day, convert it into a long term memory, and have that memory emerge when it comes time to choosing a career. ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

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Wilson’s Phalaropes

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My little house and huge backyard!

The Hunt

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The chaos has begun! I must say it is the best chaos that I have ever been involved with. I never realized until Monday how hard it truly is to make creative, educational, and fun coloring/ activity books for kids. I give props to the teachers who are able to do so and make it both flawless and exciting to do. Deisy and I decided to be “responsible” on Tuesday and took the time to go to the recycling center to find jugs for future bird feeders. It was a stinky job! We had a blast doing it and realized it was even better after we got to Walmart to buy other supplies and decided to scratch the whole idea and do a cheerio bird feeder instead. Last week our pine cone adventure was a fail, however, this week it was the complete opposite. We took our chances of getting lost and took a road trip to Terrace Reservoir. We were pretty sure we were lost a few too many times but thankfully our gut was wrong and we actually were right on track. Unfortunately the pine cones were not as fat and juicy as we would like, but, the ones we did find will do just fine!

Thursday was the record setter for us. It was our first outreach experience. ELL night was one for the books and gave me the realization that Deisy and I’s hard work truly is paying off. We gave a presentation and made  pine cone bird feeders to the Spanish children and parents at Alamosa Elementary. We also had enough time to play a game that Deisy came up with to help the kids identify the differences between reptiles, mammals, amphibians, and birds.  Stefan Armenta (an intern for BLM) assisted us by making cheerio bird feeders with the younger students and educated them on the birds that are in the valley. To see the engagement was truly miraculous I had such a great time and was happy to be making a difference in their lives. We not only spoiled them with all of the fun but they also spoiled us by giving us food and interaction with new faces of the San Luis Valley. I am ready to face next week that will be full of events for other schools. Until then, have a great Easter!

DUCKS!

DUCKS!

The snow slowly fell and began to cover the ground below. I stared into the horizon as the sun began to make its appearance. The sun light reflected across every tiny snow flake, making each one sparkle as it crossed … Continue reading

The Early Bird Gets the Worm

 

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“The early bird gets the worm” – I never cared much for this, but now I know that the statement is very true. I had the privilege of going out to the field with Lisa and Deisy bright and early Monday morning. Thank goodness we started at 7 o’clock because we had to take a detour back to La Jara to get all the gear we forgot back at the office.

Finally, we got back on track and headed to the Wetlands. We traveled from pond to pond to pinpoint the most accurate spot in which we could see the most shoreline. As we bumped down the road our eyes veered off into a tree that had a juvenile great horned owl. I often hear them in trees at my house but rarely get to see them because they are great at camouflaging themselves. That was only the beginning to the beautiful creatures we saw. We went on to see another two great horned owls. After we finished the first four ponds we went on to finish up on the mission we had set out on. Coming up to pond 115 we had the privilege of seeing a whole flock of American Avocets. On to the next pond we saw one Avocet floating on the water solito. I asked Lisa if it was possible to get out of the vehicle and attempt getting closer. I was about ten steps away from it and had just snapped a picture when it noticed my shadow and flushed from sight. After we finished surveying the ponds we went on to check on Lisa’s designated ponds. It was a good thing we did because on the way there we saw a humongous coyote. It was pretty funny because as soon as we got to it, Lisa’s first sight of the hundreds of ducks flushed from being frightened by the vehicle, yet a predator was inches away from gobbling them down.

Tuesday and Wednesday were much quieter. Deisy and I organized our activities and prepared for our upcoming outreach. Thursday the two of us set out for another adventure. In order to make bird feeders out of pine cones we had to go find pine cones. I knew just the place, or so I thought. I took Deisy to my childhood stomping grounds of Forbes Trinchera. We searched the hills only to realize it is not the season for the big pine cones. Defeated by our failure I decided to show her around the place. We went up to look out point where we could see the entire view of fields and the three closest towns. It truly is a miraculous sight to see.

I honestly can say this week showed me such great beauty. Every day that passes I realize that I am more and more in love with my job and cannot get enough time out in the hill. I’ll leave you with the note of knowing next week begins the chaos of our many outreach opportunities so I will be back with countless stories. Ta-Ta for now =)