A huge bravo goes out to Liberty Wildlife’s Education Team. After weeks of preparation, the debut of our “Intersession” pilot program ensued. Intersession is fall break for students who aren’t taking a fall break. The Phoenix Elementary School District hosted Liberty Wildlife’s handler/educators and their wildlife ambassadors for a week at Capitol Elementary School on 16th Ave. Here’s how it came down.
Monday through Thursday our carefully planned curriculum covered owls, hawks, falcons, and the “misunderstood”, vultures and reptiles who in reality were big hits with all of the students. The classes were geared to K-1st grade, 2nd-3rdgrade, 4th-5th grade and 6th-8th grade. The focus was on natural history, outdoor ethics, active listening, problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. Each student received a certificate of completion and a personal nature journal for future activities in nature.
Then on Friday the entire bunch came to the auditorium where they were greeted with a continuous loop power point of the students in their morning classes and their activities in the afternoon classes…activities like building kestrel nesting boxes, making owl themed lunch bags, and animal themed sun catchers…using measuring skills, problem solving, active listening and critical thinking skills to complete the tasks. They loved seeing themselves on the big screen and their giggles and gasps were audible. Then they were introduced to a riveting 8 minute video on wildlife in the wild doing what it was supposed to be doing…and they responded with cheers and claps. And, if that didn’t cap the day off
they were next introduced to the eagles, bald and golden. They were blessed by the wind from eagle wings, learned about these charismatic animals and gazed at their potential strength and obvious beauty! They were totally taken by the experience. The finale was the release of two American kestrels, a male and a female, who we are hoping will find one of the kestrel boxes that the kids made in their afternoon classes.
The preparation each day was like a staging for a huge production. The education volunteers assembled at Liberty early in the morning. Travel boxes were loaded with animals, needed equipment was stacked in cars, and all the materials needed for the day’s education were tucked in bags. Four classes a day with two educators for four hours a day and with all of the critters they were featuring made for a great deal of pre-organization. And it pretty much went by without a hitch.
What I have failed to mention is that Terry S. was on hand with two cameras to catch all of the activities. He assembled the power point, assembled the audio visual equipment and made Friday happen successfully. This is what I call TEAM WORK. No one took center stage and yet all starred all week long.
A big thanks goes to Carol S. and Peggy C. for the pre-work and to Peggy for her determination, her amazing organizational skills and for sharing her teaching talents. All of the educators involved…some old hands and some brand new did remarkable jobs. From where I stood it looked like every student present took away the message, and I feel sure that message went home.
One brother said, “My brother came home yesterday and said he got to touch a snake! Will I?” Yes, you will, and you will get so much more. Your enthusiasm touches us all. What a great week!
This Week @ Liberty
The intake number is now at 4893.
So, as Megan pointed out above, last week was pretty much spent trying to make the first Intersession a success. We had a full crew of Education volunteers each day and our ambassadors got a lot of exposure – and experience in front of an up-close-and-personal audience. Someone made some totally cool animal cutout posters and hung them around the school to welcome Liberty and get the kids into a “Get Your Wild On” kinda mind. The kids got lots of hands-on with the reptiles and learned a lot about birds and wildlife in general. Rather than filling this week with more text, I thought I’d just post some of the pictures and let you enjoy. All in all, it was a great experience!