Citizen Science at Cal-Wood

Posted on Nov 15, 2017

Citizen Science at Cal-Wood

Birds are our messengers – they tell us when our seasons are changing, welcome us every morning with their beautiful songs and calls, and now we are discovering that they are giving us an urgent message about the health of our world. We are excited to engage Cal-Wood students as citizen scientists, collecting bird distribution data that can further international knowledge on this issue through our new Citizen Science Bird curriculum.  

Citizen Science is an important part of international scientific data collection, and bird citizen science has been one of the most successful. With the support of data from millions of birdwatchers, scientists have determined that birds are on the move in response to changes in our global climate. Each bird is uniquely adapted to their environment including temperature, precipitation, and changing seasons, and nearly half of the bird species in the United States and Canada are threatened by this change.

Cal-Wood’s new Citizen Science curriculum uses our native birds as a conduit for students’ learning. Students learn how to identify and observe birds and collect data for Ebird while hiking on Cal-Wood’s 1200 acres. Each Cal-Wood student:

-Learns field skills – identifying birds, careful observation, inquiry, and data recording
Interprets real data from the eBird Citizen Science project, drawing their own conclusions about what it means
-Joins those an international network, and their data is shared with a global community of educators, land managers, ornithologists, and conservation biologists.
-Learns the importance of Citizen Science – their data will further this international initiative which helps provide a better understanding of bird distribution across the western hemisphere and beyond.
-Has the skills to continue their contribution to Ebird when they leave Cal-Wood

Cal-Wood holds a large diversity of birds and an are an integral part of our natural aesthetic.  But birds are omnipresent, and birds make any place a chance for discovery. They make a garden seem wild. They are a little bit of wilderness coming into a city park, and for a bird watcher every walk is filled with anticipation.

Written by Field Instructor,  Aidan Goldie.

Aidan was inspired by a 2017 student from Compass Montessori whose thank you letter to Cal-Wood was actually a wonderful bird field guide inspired by his trip to Cal-Wood and this curricula.