Wednesday, February 03, 2016

BirdSleuth School Garden Grant

School gardens provide the context for lessons across subjects and offer a wonderful opportunity to engage students in hands-on, project-based learning opportunities. Students that engage in school gardening are likely to experience academic, physical, emotional, social, and even behavioral benefits.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is seeking ten dedicated teachers within the United States who strive to bring STEM and healthy living from the garden to the classroom. These teachers will receive a $500-$2,000 grant, gardening supplies, and BirdSleuth’s Habitat Connections kit. Funds may be used to support the building or revitalization of school gardens. In addition to food gardens, preference will be given to bird, pollinator, native habitat, rain, and other natural projects.

Application Process & Eligibility
The application is open to all K-12 schools, public and private, within the United States. Application deadline is February 15, 2016. All applicants will be notified on February 22, 2016. At least half the gardens funded will be underserved, high-need, urban schools. Apply now. Email with any questions.

Grant Details & Timeline
  • All winners will be notified February 22, 2016.
  • Selected winners must first attend an online training either March 3 at 7pm ET or March 7 at 8pm ET. Upon completion, 75% of the allocated funds will be provided along with the Habitat Connections kit.
  • Between March and June, the winning schools must implement their proposed garden plan and the kit lessons.
  • A final report is required no later than July 1, 2016 from each school. This final report will consist of a brief survey and sharing the school’s progress on the BirdSleuth Action Map. Upon submission of the final report, each school will receive the remaining 25% of the funds to support continuation of the project.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Counting Birds for Science

Bundle up, grab your binoculars and head out to count birds for science! Join in on the 2016 Great Backyard Bird Count. 

Simply tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, February 12-15, 2016. Count birds in as many places and on as many days as you like—one day, two days, or all four days

Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time. Since then, more than 100,000 people of all ages and walks of life have joined the four-day count each February to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds.

If you’re new to the count, first register online then enter your checklist.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Conservation Connect LIVE!

Conservation Connect is a new web-based video series produced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Conservation Training Center (NCTC), which aims to connect youth, ages 9-13 (although any age is encouraged to enjoy), with the great outdoors, wildlife species, and conservation careers. 

Each 5-7 minute episode of Conservation Connect will feature a specialist and include footage of a species. Viewers are encouraged to spend time outdoors, observe wildlife in their own communities, and learn more about natural resource conservation.

On the third Wednesday of every month at 2:00pm ET, students have the opportunity to view a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Conservation Connect episode and chat with Conservation Professionals LIVE. Mark your school calendars for the dates below.

Bald Eagles and Junior Duck Stamps
Date: 2/17/2016

Mussels and American Eels
Date: 3/16/2016

California Condors and Black Footed-Ferrets
Date: 4/20/2016

Bog Turtles and Salamanders
Date: 5/18/2016

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Teaching Environmental Sustainability - Model My Watershed

The Concord Consortium and the Stroud Water Research Center are pleased to announce the Teaching Environmental Sustainability-Model My Watershed (TES-MMW) workshop, a project funded by the National Science Foundation. Participants and their students will use free portal-based activities that employ maps and models to study their school’s watershed; teachers will participate in a 2016 summer face-to-face teacher workshop, two online courses for teachers and a 2-3 week unit of study with their students during the 2016-17 academic year, and follow-up 1 day teacher workshop in summer 2017. TES-MMW activities support NGSS and Math Common Core. Teachers will receive a stipend for participating ($1000 total details below). 

This program is for Iowa  middle and high school science teachers whose curriculum includes watershed studies, and who are willing and available to participate in all TES-MMW workshop and online activities that include:
·         3 day workshop at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS , July 26-28 (travel costs reimbursed by grant), 8 hours of meeting/day + 2-3 hrs. homework each day (total of 32 hours of work in 3 days)
·      2016-17 academic year: 2 online courses for teachers (15 hours of time for each course); and a 2-3 week unit of study (9-15 class periods of activities) with your students.
·      1 day of follow-up activities in summer 2017 (date TBD). 
·      Completion of all research activities required for NSF funding (see consent form, pp. 2-3)

Applications are due May 1, 2016. For more information contact Rob Kleinow.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Celebrating Aldo Leopold

Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher "standard of living" is worth its cost in things natural, wild, and free.

For us of in the minority, the opportunity to see geese is more important than television, and the chance to find a pasque-flower is a right as inalienable as free speech.

--Aldo Leopold

Iowa native, Aldo Leopold, truly enjoyed exploring outdoors and sharing his observations with others throughout his life. He is considered the "father" of the wildlife management profession.

Leopold was a conservationist, forester, philosopher, dedicated teacher, writer, and outdoor enthusiast. Leopold's goal in his popular wildlife ecology course was "to teach the student to see the land, to understand what he sees, and enjoy what he understands."

Leopold’s writing inspires others to look at the natural environment through a “lens” of appreciation and respect.

The Aldo Leopold Foundation provides a vast array of tools to help you use Leopold’s writings in your classroom. Resources include fact sheets and discussion guides for Leopold’s most well know publication, A Sand County Almanac, lesson plans, and access to the Aldo Leopold Archives which includes unpublished manuscripts, journals, correspondence, sketches, photographs, and implements he used on the land.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

NGSS in the Field: How to Support NGSS Learning Outdoors

FREE Professional Development Workshop
Thursday, January 14th
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

This workshop is designed to support informal science providers and K-12 teachers. Explore the three dimensions of NGSS through discussions, hands-on activities and work time to apply what you learn to your classroom or program.
  • Learn how to use the NGSS framework to support science content knowledge.
  • Experience hands-on lessons outdoors, and create links to your own activities.
  • Deepen your understanding with specific practices, techniques and strategies.
  • Collaborate with local educators on learning about and planning for the NGSS.

To Register, Visit: Seats are limited.


Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Bald Eagle Watch Events

Winter is the best time in Iowa to spot a majestic bald eagle soaring overhead. Attend a hawk watch event to take in this incredible sight. Visit the DNR website for more information about bald eagles.

2016 Bald Eagle Watch Events
* events with asterisk have a school day on Friday. For more information, contact the events directly.
Clinton Bald Eagle Watch 
Saturday, Jan. 9
This event is in its 32nd year.  In coordination with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Pam Steinhaus, with contributions from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Clinton CCB, numerous conservation organizations and the Iowa DNR. Wonderful family entertainment                                             
  • Outdoor viewing: Lock & Dam 13, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Live Bird and Nature Programs: Clinton Community College, 9:45-2
  • Exhibits: Clinton Community College from 9 – 2
  • Free bus service from college to the outdoor viewing area.
  • For more information call 815-259-3628
Saturdays and Sundays, Jan. 2 - Feb. 7, Arsenal Island, Rock Island, Ill. Hours are 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Combination Eagle Watch and Historic Clock Tower Tours
  • Reservations are recommended as group size is limited.
  • For more information contact Visitor’s Center Staff  at 309-794-5338
*Quad Cities Bald Eagle Days                                                       
Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 9-10
QCCA Expo Center, 2621 Fourth Avenue, Rock Island, Ill.  One of the largest bald eagle events in the nation with many exhibitors and wildlife artists and plenty of activities for the family. Hours: 4 – 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday
  • Live eagle and bird of prey programs by The World Bird Sanctuary
  • Special attractions
  • Wildlife art show and sale and environmental fair
  • For more information contact the Mississippi River Visitor Center at 309-794-5338 or Arlynn Hartwig at 309-788-2543
*Dubuque Bald Eagle Watch                                                         
Saturday, Jan. 16 at the Grand River Center with environmental-themed exhibitors.
  • Outdoor viewing south of Lock and Dam 11 at A.Y. McDonald Park from 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
  • Live eagle and bird of prey programs by The World Bird Sanctuary at 9:30 a.m., 12:30 and 3 p.m.
  • Indoor exhibits from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at the Grand River Center - Port of Dubuque
  • Trolley rides from Grand River Center to outdoor viewing area
  • For more information call 563-556-4372 or 563-582-0881
*Keokuk Bald Eagle Days
Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 16 - 17 Midwest’s largest concentration of bald eagles.  World class environmental exhibitors. Native drum and dance continue a legacy of honor for our national symbol.                                              
  • Indoor programs and environmental fair at the River City Mall, Keokuk
  • Live eagle programs Saturday 9-3 and Sunday 10-3
  • Outdoor viewing along the riverfront 
  • For more information call 1-800-383-1219
Muscatine Bald Eagle Watch
Saturday, Jan. 23 - A chance to enjoy eagles fishing in open water provided by Dam 16.  Fantastic urban viewing.
·         Outdoor viewing from 9 - 3 at Pearl City Station and Lock & Dam 16
·         Live eagle programs at 9:30 and 11 a.m. at the Pearl City Station in Riverside Park
·         Environmental exhibits inside the Pearl City Station office
·         For more information call the Muscatine Ranger office at 563-263-7913
Coralville Bald Eagle Watch
Saturday, Feb. 6
Indoor Expo: Join the Iowa City Bird Club with Karen Disbrow, at North Central Junior High.
  • Outdoor viewing at Tailwater West Picnic Shelter downstream from the dam at Coralville Lake
  • Indoor programs 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at North Central Junior High, 180 Forevergreen Road, North Liberty
  • For more information call 319-338-3543 ext. 6308 or 319-430-0315
Des Moines Bald Eagle Days                                                         
Friday and Saturday, Feb. 12 - 13 
Friday, Feb. 13: Iowa DNR will be hosting a lunch with eagles at Grays Lake, 2100 Fleur Drive in Des Moines.  Outdoor viewing and replica nest 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 14: Des Moines Parks and Rec Outdoor viewing with indoor live eagle at Fellowship Baptist Church 1503 SE Sixth Street, in Des Moines.  Ty Smedes, Urbandale author and photographer, will give a slide presentation on bald eagles at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. SOAR - Saving Our Avian Resources - will be present at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. with a live education ambassador bald eagle and another guest education ambassador. SOAR will also be discussing the current hazards that bald eagles face in today’s environment and the steps taken when eagles are brought into wildlife rehabilitation.  All ages are welcome,
  • Saturday outdoor eagle viewing, replica nest, live eagle indoors 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sixth Avenue Bridge, Fellowship Baptist Church 1503 SE Sixth Street in Des Moines.
  • There will be children’s activities and the event is free and open to the public. 
  • For more information call 515-248 6369.
Saylorville Bald Eagle Watch
Sunday, Feb. 28 A driving tour of Saylorville Lake with eagles at every stop.  Special live eagle program at Jester Park Lodge.
  • Outdoor viewing at selected sites around reservoir, start at Visitor’s Center 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • For more information call 515-276-4656
Effigy Mounds Bald Eagle Watch                                                  
Friday and Saturday, Feb. 26 - 27 Hoffman Hall exhibit area is extensive, packed with great exhibitors and exceptional live bird presentations.
  • Friday 7 p.m. - free birding programs at Country Inn & Suites and the AmericInn, in Prairie Du Chien, Wis.    
  • Outdoor viewing at Prairie Du Chien Visitor’s Center on the river
  • Indoor Program at Hoffman Hall, 1600 S Wacouta Avenue, in Prairie Du Chien, Wis.
  • For more information call 563-873-3491 or 608-326-8555 ext 11  
O’Brien County Bald Eagle Watch
Saturday, March 6 Prairie Heritage Center with elevated viewing deck.  Experienced birders on hand provide educational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages.
  • Prairie Heritage Center, 4931 Yellow Avenue, in Peterson
  • At 2 p.m., Christina Roelofs from SOAR (Saving Our Avian Resources) will have a live bald eagle.  She will talk about the bird’s special adaptations and give other information about their current population status. Bring your camera and take advantage of this amazing opportunity to see a majestic bald eagle from an arm’s length! 
  • For more information call Charlene Elyea at 712-295-7200.
Sioux Rapids
Saturday, Mar. 12 The event includes live eagles with interesting environmental presentations. It is hosted by Marian McNabb. American Legion Building, 200 Main Street, Sioux Rapids.   
  • 10 a.m.. - 2 p.m. Registration from 8:30 - 10 a.m., Lunch served at 12:15, free will offering
  • Speakers from 10 a.m. to Noon. Presentations include live birds.
  • Outdoor viewing at selected sites. For more information call 712-296-4920 or 712-295-7200