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Bird Academy course aimed at connecting kids with nature

connecting kids with nature
A young boy uses binoculars to watch a bird. Photo by Alex Chang, courtesy Cornell Lab of Ornithology

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Bird Academy is now offering expert guidance to adults who want to help children connect with nature. A new online course from Bird Academy contains six lessons with dozens of field-tested activities to reduce screen time for kids and boost their curiosity about the natural world.

“I know so many people eager to get their kids outside and curious about nature,” says course instructor Jennifer Fee, manager of K-12 programs at the Cornell Lab. “They ask me for fun everyday activities that fit into their busy lives. Just as importantly, outdoor activities create moments of bonding and connection — memories that last a lifetime.”

The course material is intended for adults, such as parents, grandparents, and mentors. The activities described are appropriate for children from 6 to 10 years old. They help kids not only enjoy learning about birds and nature, but also about conservation and how to take care of the environment, no matter where they live.

“I grew up in an urban area, but there was still nature around if you knew where to look,” says course instructor Nicole Jackson, a board member for the Columbus, Ohio, Audubon chapter, and co-organizer of Black Birder’s Week. “This course will help you make this summer boredom-proof, especially if you go into it with a ‘beginner mind.’”

In other words, no matter how much you do or do not know about any topic, be open to seeing familiar things in a new way; for example, an American Robin is not “just” a robin. Take the time to follow what the bird is doing and how it is interacting with other birds and with the environment. Adults are encouraged to embrace the unknown and realize they don’t need to have all the answers. These are adventures in discovery for everyone involved.

The course includes six self-paced lessons that guide users on how to build enthusiasm for the outdoors through activities, videos, books, apps, and more. Find out more about the course and get a free preview on the course web page. Once purchased, the course material does not expire so you can return to it again and again.

“So many people got turned on to birdwatching during the past couple years,” says Fee. “Let’s not let that spark of curiosity die out. Let’s make appreciation of birds and nature a lifetime habit!”

Thanks to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for providing this news.

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