Fun in the Sun with the Youth Education Committee
By Mary Britton-Simmons
Spring and summer are always busy times for the Youth Education Committee (YEC), and this year is no exception. Our calendars are filled with classroom presentations, outreach events and walks to find and identify birds at Juanita Bay Park. In April we hosted booths at Molbak’s, Bridle Trails and Lewis Creek Park. Hugh and Bev Jennings thrilled English learning students at Sammamish High School with information about the eagles and osprey who visit their school.
We moved into May with other events. One in particular stood out. The second grade teacher at Wellington Elementary borrowed our Bird Discovery Box, which includes hundreds of lessons along with the materials needed to teach them. Her classroom reflected their studies. Colorful bird art projects greeted us as we set up for our presentation on beaks. Not only were students enthusiastic learners, but they also were informed participants. They were amazing!
June found us introducing students at Arrowhead Elementary to birds. The next day these lucky second graders walked with Audubon members, rangers and a volunteer from Green Kirkland to identify plants and birds at Juanita Bay Park. The following day YEC volunteers returned to the park with Lockwood Elementary students. June ended at Camp Kindness in Bellevue where we encouraged campers to be kind to the environment and especially to birds.
July is usually a slow month for us. After a presentation about Juanita Bay Park, campers from the Peter Kirk Day Camp will walk the park ready to spy sapsuckers, chickadees, an occasional eagle and of course, the turtles sunning themselves on logs in the lake — always a favorite. August will find us spending two days with the younger set at Kiddie Academy. The summer always ends with a party for the YEC volunteers where we celebrate our love of introducing children to birds and their important place in the eco system.
One of our goals this year is to increase the membership of the Youth Education Committee. Recently we welcomed two new members and invite you to join us. We meet the first Tuesday of each month except July, August and December at 7 p.m. in the EAS office. For more information, please see eastsideaudubon.org/youth education.
The Youth Education Committee envisions a world where children are inspired to connect to nature and especially to birds so that they become lifelong stewards of the environment.