Do you know any children or youth who would like to learn about birds and the out of doors? In response to requests for child-oriented birding outings, SAS plans to fill this gap by offering field trips specifically for families with children. Leaders will work with children and youth to present the basics of birding and to show everyone local resident and wintering birds. Binoculars suitable for smaller hands will be available in case the children don’t have their own.
FAMILY FRIENDLY TRIPS – STARTING AGAIN!
September 15th and October 20th
Fall is coming and migrating and winter birds will be coming back. Good time for families to join the family-friendly field trips and see what’s out there. The first will be September 15th, probably at Mather Lake, the second on October 20, probably at Traylor Ranch near Penryn. Both will be lead by Sandra Beseler, a very popular trip leader plus several co-leaders to help.
These monthly birding and nature walks are specifically geared to and appropriate for families and children. There is a trip limit to ensure a quality experience for all. Register for trips by contacting Maureen Geiger, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 444-0804.
Children aged 6 to 16 are welcome; other ages at the agreement of the leader. Each must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult.
The following pictures were taken by on past trips. Click on the photo to enlarge.
FOR BIRDING CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES…
some ideas for families with children and teens who
would like to be more involved with birds, nature and the out of doors:
Christmas Bird Count (CBC) for Kids!
The First Annual Sacramento Area Kids’
Christmas Bird Count was a smashing success! Attended by 22 children and youth,
their associated parents and grandparents plus 10 leaders and 11 other
volunteers, mostly from Sacramento Audubon, everyone had a great
In spite of gale force winds at the
Cosumnes River Preserve, the kids and adults exhibited enormous enthusiasm for
what they were doing. They all delighted in the many beautiful birds seen on the
Preserve which totaled 50 species and nearly 6,300 individual
The kids formed 5 teams before setting off.
When the teams returned to the Visitor's Center the Official Compilation began
with results projected on the big screen by team, species and numbers of birds.
This gave everyone the chance to see what all the teams had observed. During
this compilation, children came forward to collect a prize with each child given
the opportunity to choose what she or he most wanted. Some of the prizes were
new National Geographic Field Guides to Birds, several Audubon Pocket Bird
Guides, bird feeders and bird seed (donated by Wild Birds Unlimited), and more.
Refreshments were served and lunches eaten
and lots of great bird talk.
Two able photographers memorialized the
entire count with photos of everyone in action from pre-registration chaos to
tired but satisfied departures. The images are pure magic, some of which can be seen here.
This was definitely a winner and only the
first of many such counts.
Effie Yeaw Nature Center
The Effie Yeaw Nature Center is an award winning environmental education center located within the American River Parkway in Carmichael, CA. Visit www.sacnaturecenter.net/ for details
Although primarily for teachers, the Flying WILD website is “designed to inspire young people to discover more about conservation and the natural world” and has lots of information on many bird- and nature-related resources. Visit: http://www.flyingwild.org/aboutus.htm
Project Wild and Growing up Wild
These websites also provide ideas and information primarily for educators, but they also have sections that would appeal to parents as well. Visit: Projectwild.org .
Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology
Cornell’s Ornithology Lab is THE place to go for a myriad of bird-related information. The Young Birder Event for 2010 was a well-attended, two-day event for teenagers held in Ithaca, New York. Its purpose was to bring together teens with a passion for birding and to assist them with identification, citizen science, education and various other supports. To see what will be offered in 2011, click here.
Families might want to participate in PFW, conducted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada. Families can count different birds that visit their backyard bird feeders from November until early April, then send the count results to Cornell.
In addition to helping scientists track what is going on with birds during the winter, the data are part of a useful citizen science project to help identify long-term trends in native and non-native bird distribution. The cost is $15. Cornell’s web site also has many wonderful educational materials about birds for parents and their children at Feederwatch.org
Camps for Young Birders
This past year, the American Birding Association announced five Young Birder Camps to assist kids toward excelling in the fields of natural history, ecology and ornithology. The camps were in diverse locations such as Maine, Colorado, Arizona and Washington. The ABA offered $5,000 in scholarships to help individuals attend these camps. It is likely there will be similar camping opportunities in 2011. For more information, visit: Aba.org/yb/camps
The Nature Rocks website is "your family fun nature planner. This site will help you find all sorts of nature activities, plus tools to help guide and plan your adventures. You’ll also find useful tips and information to help you get into nature without getting over your head. It's fast and easy so you can shut your computer down quickly, open up that door and be on your way in as little as 5 minutes. Nature is closer than you think! Visit naturerocks.org .
The Children & Nature Network
This Network (C&NN) “…was created to encourage and support the people and organizations working nationally and internationally to reconnect children with nature. The network provides a critical link between researchers and individuals, educators and organizations dedicated to children's health and well-being.”
Full of information on a variety of topics and ideas on how to connect children with nature, for more information, visit: childrenandnature.org
Friends of the River Banks
This is an all-volunteer group dedicated to sharing their appreciation of their “neighborhood stretch of the American River – Sutter’s Landing Park – with others, especially young children and their families.” Toward this end, regular events are offered where everyone can experience various aspects of the American River and to learn to value the entire ecosystem. These are casual events with local expert leaders talking about birds, insects, mammals and all manner of other creatures. For more, go to www.friendsoftheriverbanks.org .
SPLASH is “a non-profit organization dedicated to helping local children understand and value their natural world through scientific investigation and outdoor exploration.” A main tenet is that all children “deserve the opportunity to learn and play in nature.” And to make that happen a variety of environmental science programs are provided in local habitats. This site is excellent for parents and teachers looking for outdoor activities for children and families. Visit www.sacsplash.org.
Yolo Basin 4 kids
The Yolo Basin Foundation is a community-based organization dedicated to being a communication link between the many people and organizations who are involved with the Yolo Bypass area between Sacramento and Davis. The Discover the Flyway program has served thousands of school children who are able to engage in hands-on learning activities. In addition, families can join bat tours in the summer, public tours at the Davis Wetlands and the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, and attend CA Duck Days in February. The website provides more information: yolobasin.org.