Blue Ridge Discovery Center shared two programs with 1st and 5th graders in Grayson County. Reaching five schools and seven classes in each grade.
The 1st-grade K-2 Reading program enlisted our very own Didelphis virginiana, the only marsupial of North America. After reading, "There is an Opossum in my Backyard", the students colored, cut and pasted together their own opossum to hang around the room. We discussed all the reasons this mammal is so special and needs protecting. As one of our guides so fondly declares; "The opossum is a true superhero among animals!"
The 5th graders and the Natural Heritage Program focused on adaptations. We focused on birds, in particular, identifying many of our winter birds and learning the various ways they adapt to survive the harsh winter. Using technology to aid in identifying and sharing data about the birds in our communities, students are able to share what is going on with true Ornithologists and see the data they are helping generate as citizen scientists. Sibleys, Merlin ID, and eBird were used to demonstrate how accessible bird information can be. We viewed the eBird website and logged in to share birds we might see while watching a feeder during winter. Using these tools, students learn the importance of this information and strengthen their relationship with nature which leads to stewardship.