Thoughts on Nature Mappingby Amanda Bolich and Lauren Green
Birds. You see them everyday, but how much do you really know about our feathered friends? Probably less than you think!
We started our NatureMapping project with a bird quiz and a "bird packet". It had a complete list of all the birds in the Glenrose Watershed area, and we were quizzed to test our knowledge. With the help of the National Geographic Society and Peterson field guides, we were able to correctly color and identify the 36 species of birds. This made identifying birds much easier since we had already been studying them.
To start our adventure we had guest speaker, Jan Reynolds, come to talk to us about the wild life in the area. To venture outside, we divided into seven groups to explore the vast world of birds. Within our teams we had a recorder, an identifier, and two spotters. Jan Reynolds came along with the teachers to help us to recognize the birds. When a bird was first sighted or heard, our spotters frantically searched the area through binoculars to find the bird. Once found, the identifier looked up the bird in the field guide and shared its picture with the group. Next, the recorder put the bird on a list with a description of its activities. All together we spotted about 46 different species of birds.
Mostly we searched in the sites (A), the sand hill, (B), the ravine with trees, (C), the forest edge, and (D), our schoolyard and parking lot. But once we took a special visit to the pond where we found a completely different variety of birds than we had seen before. Our trip to the pond let us know that the habitat greatly affects the birds and other species that live there. We also saw a wide variety of plant life and water organisms.
Now that we are finished, our experiences with NatureMapping have taught us many skills such as being able to identify birds, do GIS mapping, and working as a team. We hope these skills will be useful in our future. It was a great opportunity to both learn about and experience the wildlife of the Glenrose Watershed area and beyond!!