The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will host the Birds in the Classroom workshops for Texas teachers online July 27-31.
The free event will be held on a secured video platform from 9-11 a.m. each day. There will be an additional hour of structured activities daily that participants can complete at a flexible time.
The deadline to apply for the online Birds in the Classroom is July 10. Instruction, workshop materials, plant ID book and a bird guide will all be provided. Materials, guides and binoculars will be mailed to all participants before the start of the course. Participants who successfully complete the course can keep the binoculars.
“This is a workshop for teachers to connect healthy agriculture with healthy habitats through the experience of birding,” said Maureen Frank, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist, Uvalde. “This is a great way for teachers to learn more about ecosystems, habitats, biodiversity, sustainability and adaptations, and how to tie those concepts together for their students through lesson plans.”
AgriLife Extension and the Welder Wildlife Foundation are working together to put on the multi-day events. This is a new program geared toward science and ag educators who teach grades 7-12 and provides up to 15 Texas Education Agency continuing professional education credits.
The program is a collaboration between Frank; Megan Clayton, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension range specialist, Corpus Christi; Selma Glasscock, Ph.D., Welder Wildlife Foundation assistant director, Sinton; and Angie Arredondo, Welder Wildlife Foundation education and volunteer program coordinator, Sinton.
“We created this program to help teachers cover a large amount of material in an efficient way that really connects their students with natural resources,” said Frank. “For biology and ag teachers, this workshop will help them understand how sustainable agriculture fits into the conservation picture.”
Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS, aligned lessons and activities will be covered. Participants will learn bird identification and how to use birding to connect lessons on habitat management, bird conservation and sustainable agriculture.
The workshop is made available to teachers at no cost thanks to a grant awarded to AgriLife Extension and the Welder Wildlife Foundation, said Frank.