WIldlifeKate Bird ID Challenge gets a facelift!
Over the last year and a half, I have been working on a project within a selection of primary schools, mainly in Michael Drayton Junior, where I work. I was dismayed at how few common bird species (or any other species of commonly found wildlife) that both pupils and many staff could identify. I wanted to develop some kind of challenge to encourage kids to want to learn to identify common species of birds, initially. Combining this with bird feeding stations in school, I aimed to make them much more aware of the wildlife that was right on their doorstep.
Over the last year, I have trialled, tweaked and modified the scheme and have been amazed at both the response from the staff and pupils, but also at the results! In the school I teach at we now have over 350 pupils able to identify 6 common birds (level 1), over 50 able to identify 12 common birds (Level 2) and nearly 30 pupils able to identify 20 common birds (Level 3). I even had to develop a Level 4 to cater for those keen pupils who had achieved Level 3 and wanted more. You can find out more about it and see the levels on our school website
I have trialled this in an Infant School as well, with a class of Year 1 pupils achieving both Level 1 and 2 and nearly 98% of the Year 2 class achieving both levels! The reception class are now interested.
The incentive for these pupils is a cool badge and certificate and the status of achieving such levels has risen greatly within school. Combined with all the other work I have been doing at Michael Drayton, it is now cool to be interested in the natural world and a Level 3 Bird ID badge has a lot of status!
I now have all the evidence I need to know that this scheme works. I strongly believe that being able to identify some common birds means that children then look out for them and are pleased if they are able to identify them. Watching out for them begins a connection and interest… and this can be the start of a greater love for the natural world. If they learn them at this age, they are very likely to remember them into adulthood.
I have had lots of interest in this scheme, both with teachers and other schools and individuals. This year, I wanted to turn it into a scheme that I could share and that people would be able to access for themselves and use with their class, brownies, wildlife groups etc.
Up until now, the graphics and design have been in a test mode… I have used images from Arkive and Miles Kelly. The badges and certificates were designed, initially by me. I decided to get Charlotte, my daughter, to work with me on a new logo for the scheme. She is a 2nd Year Graphic Design student and her skills are coming in very handy! I simply loved the design she came up with!
Taking this, we used it to create the three badge designs…
and the certificates that would be available for each level.
I will be keeping you up to date on the developments over the year , with the aim that the scheme is available to buy into by the end of the year….. fingers crossed…
You can also follow my daughter’s work at www.charlottemacrae.weebly.com