September 11, 2013 at 12:30 pm (Citizen Scientist)
Tags: citizen science project, Citizen Scientist, Conservation, google maps, habitat, Mapping, Ornithology, Yardmap
Get a Bird’s Eye View of Your Habitat
YardMap is a citizen science project offered by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The goal of YardMap is to support the lab scientists’ work in understanding bird populations. Families participate by creating maps of the habitat provided within their yard (whether it’s native or not) using Google maps, which are then submitted to the lab…
The average American lawn is filled with lush green grass and some landscaped trees and shrubs. Here in western Massachusetts, we’re lucky enough to be able to live amongst natural and beautiful surroundings like forests, fields, mountains, and water of all types. Even if we have grassy yards, many homes are surrounded by natural habitat that has existed since long before our homes were built. Of course, we do have an impact on the environment around us, but our small communities leave us with the opportunity to work to blend in with nature, rather than set ourselves apart from it.
Natural habitat is incredibly important for supporting the many different kinds of creatures who share your surroundings. Plant and animal populations exist within a delicately balanced system that can easily be influenced by eliminating or drastically changing habitats. One way to ensure that your effect on your surroundings isn’t negative is by planting native species of trees, shrubs, and even flowers in your yard, but with the growing season rapidly coming to an end, what should families do in order to support natural critter habitat? Participate in YardMap!
January 9, 2013 at 10:15 am (Animals, Art, Homeschooling)
Tags: arts curriculum, Conservation, duck stamp program, ducks, Ecology, Environment, Federal Fish and Wildlife Services, habitat conservation, Junior Duck Stamp Program, Nature, nature science, Ornithology, place-based education, Research, Science, Science Curriculum, STEM, western massachusetts
Supplement Habitat Studies with the Junior Duck Stamp Program
The Junior Duck Stamp Program offers an educational arts and science curriculum which educators can use for incorporating science, art, math and technology into habitat conservation studies. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)
Western Massachusetts is home to a wide variety of duck species. These beautiful birds make their homes in wetland areas, a habitat in need of conservation. Students can learn about duck species and help to promote wetland conservation by participating in the Federal Fish and Wildlife Services’ Junior Duck Stamp Program! This contest calls for students to create their own stamps, featuring a specific duck species portrayed in its habitat. Students should learn about their species of choice, so as to make the best and most accurate depiction possible! Their design should reflect the group’s goal in creating the stamp – to share the beauty and importance of the species of the duck depicted.
Students should learn to understand the relationship between the duck and its specific environment, and should understand why the duck has such specific habitat requirements. Students can also study other stamp designs to learn what makes a good stamp!
Entries in the contest will be judged in four different age groups, and the winning entry will be made into a stamp and released in June. The contest is an opportunity for students to learn about local biodiversity, and to work on their understanding of the interrelatedness of species and their habitat. Students can also work on their art skills, working carefully to clearly portray their duck. The contest deadline is March 15th. For more information visit www.fws.gov/juniorduck.
Online resources for educators:
December 14, 2011 at 12:30 pm (Science, Take Action, Volunteer Opportunity)
Tags: Bald Eagle, Citizen Scientist, Conservation, Volunteer Opportunity, western massachusetts
Bald Eagle Count
This winter families can participate in conservation and species preservation while helping out as citizen scientists!
Along with Audubon’s December Christmas Bird Count comes a second opportunity to participate as a citizen scientist while observing bird populations in your area. The Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) conducts an annual survey of Bald Eagle sightings during January- this year’s dates are the 4th through 18th.
Citizen participation in the survey is important because Bald Eagle populations have been increasing, making it more difficult for DFW workers to ensure that all Bald Eagles have been accounted for. The department’s website offers a fact sheet on Bald Eagles to help prepare citizen scientists for sightings.
If you see a Bald Eagle, report the sighting by e-mailing with the date, time, location, and time of the sighting along with the number and age (juvenile or adult) of the birds to firstname.lastname@example.org. Sighting submissions can also be mailed to: Eagle Survey, MassWildlife, Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA, 01581.
[Photo credit: (ccl) Eric Bégin]