Parkview Elementary School third-graders hosted an International Migratory Bird Day celebration May 30, with City of Plymouth and Chamber of Commerce officials in attendance
Posted June 12, 2017
Students in Kelly Schmitz's third-grade class at Parkview Elementary School spotted or heard 31 different bird species on, over and from school grounds this spring.
The students are in the Parkview Bird Club, which meets Tuesdays from late April to late May. Advising the club is John Roehre, custodian at Parkview, an avid birder who shares his hobby with the students.
The club walks the perimeter of the 12-acre school grounds, which is located in a great mix of habitats, from neighboring houses with wooded lots and bird feeders to a corner nature center, where Northern Cardinals and House Wrens, to name a few, can be heard.
Shelly Taylor, library media specialist at Parkview, loaded iPad Touches with "Merlin," a new bird guide from The Cornell Lab. "It has many features like the former Peterson's Guide, but gives the opportunity to send results of species identified directly to Cornell University, which we may do this in the future," Mr. Roehre said. "The iPad Touches are a great tool for the students to look up immediately what we just saw and/or heard."
Students also visited a website called Mesmerizing Migration Map, which uses colored dots to follow 118 species of birds on their yearly migration from South America through North America.
The class and Mr. Roehre also hosted an International Migratory Bird Day celebration on May 30. As birds sang in the background, Plymouth Mayor Don Pohlman read an official resolution. This is the seventh year for the Plymouth Bird Club and the sixth year in a row that Plymouth has been recognized as a Bird City, in part because of the International Migratory Bird Day celebration.
The kids are excited about being part of the Bird Club. Initially, they are most taken with common birds such as robins and crows, but as the weeks go by Mr. Roehre says he's always impressed by how much they learn.
One student said, "What I learned is that there are many birds and we should respect all of the birds in the whole wide world."
Another noted, "I know birds are important because Mother Nature needs birds. If we didn't have birds, that would be bad because we need birds chirping."
For his part, Mr. Roehre was excited to see a Northern Rough Winged Swallow and hear a Wood Thrush. He hopes students leave the club appreciating the diversity of bird life that can be found in the city and on such a relatively small parcel of land.
"The third grade is a wonderful group to bird with; they pay attention and want to know what they are hearing and seeing," he said. "I like that they are tuned into nature. Hopefully the club will inspire them to be careful with our fragile planet, knowing such a variety of life depends on them."