By Allison Clark
For the past ten years, Wild Birds Unlimited has generously awarded summer scholarships to Audubon centers, giving children the opportunity to learn and explore nature. This summer the Grange Insurance Audubon Center was awarded a scholarship that allowed us to partner with one of Columbus’ community recreation centers – Indian Mound Community Recreation Center, specifically their Playground Camp. The community center is located within 5 miles of the Grange Insurance Audubon Center and served up to 25 children ages 6-12 years old. During their visits we incorporated science, language arts, math, and art concepts into each program. Each visit built upon the previous one, allowing the same group of children to expand their knowledge and encouraging stewardship in the world around them whether it be their backyard or a park.
During their initial visit, we introduced children to the world of birds with the opportunity to use binoculars and field guides throughout the four main habitats in the park. After learning about migration in the second visit, children explored ways in which they could support birds during the migration journey. This continued throughout the rest of the year by creating bird-friendly habitats, playing the migration game, and going on a seasonal, bird-themed scavenger hunt. Finally, during the last visit, children engaged in conservation action by removing 97+ invasive common teasel plants in the park and created posters using what they had learned to promote bird conservation. It was a very hot day when we removed the teasel but the children requested additional time in the activity because they were having so much fun! After they completed their artwork indoors, we surprised them with a cool treat – popsicles!