Tualatin Valley Academy
21975 SW Baseline Road
Hillsboro, OR 97123
In a collaborative effort BirdsEye, BirdSleuth (K-12 educational outreach of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology), and the Educator Academy in the Amazon Rainforest worked to put the BirdsEye bird finding app into the hands of thirty K-12 educators who participated in a ten day workshop exploring the Amazon Rainforest in Peru this past July. During a pre-trip webinar participants were encouraged to install the app on their phones and instructed to download content for offline use in the field. Giving educators the tools and training they need to become effective citizen scientists is an important goal of both BirdSleuth and the Educator Academy.
Each morning teachers were loaded onto small boats with local guides and teaching staff for an hour of intense rapid fire birding. It is a bit overwhelming keeping an accurate list of bird sightings when 2-3 species are being pointed out on opposite sides of the boat simultaneously. Data collection had to become a group effort, so teachers got together at the end of each day to create master lists. We were careful not to leave any of our new birders behind and gave them plenty of encouragement and helpful tips. The Bird Sounds of Peru was also a hit when we got a Common Potoo and a Spectacled Owl to answer! The sound recordings also helped us narrow down a few tricky ID’s. Several of the teachers used BirdLog SA or the eBird app to upload checklists to their eBird accounts. Overall our teacher group reported 221 species to eBird during our workshop.
Kirsten Franklin, one of the teacher participants now says, “I have been taking bird counts with eBird at my house 2-3 times a week. I have used BirdsEye to help me identify some of the birds by looking at the lists and photos of what other people in my area have posted. It’s been very enjoyable and now I am frustrated by the realization that there are a lot of birds that I really don’t know yet. But I will keep plugging away!”
If you are an educator who would like to participate in future trips please visit Educator Academy in the Amazon Rainforest at http://www.amazonworkshops.com/educator-academy.html. BirdSleuth is planning a special birding trip for educators in 2017. For more information visit http://www.birdsleuth.org/birdsleuth-in-the-amazon/.