The students at School in the Woods near Colorado Springs are called "naturalists," and these are all fourth-graders. They're here for the full school year because they won one of the 78 spaces in the lottery. (More than 200 seek to attend each year.) The kids listen to BirdNote every day, and they are engaged, eager, knowledgeable, curious, and kind young people. All learn to observe nature carefully and take notes about what they see. Chris Peterson, founder of BirdNote, and Todd Peterson, editor and writer for the program, visited the school to give a presentation. And they took Marty, the BirdNote mascot, with them!
Twenty students are doing a spring field project on birds. They'll listen to ten BirdNote shows and then write their own script. The school uses the BirdNote script-writing as an important exercise in observing, researching, writing, and speaking.
One of their teachers, DeLene Hoffner (the woman in the green T-shirt, top photo) is co-director of the Junior Naturalists program of the Family Nature Summits - formerly a program of the National Wildlife Federation. Carol Stansfield, now retired, (far right, top photo) co-founded the School in the Woods with Jonathan Wuerth (man in beige T-shirt, top photo).
Check out School in the Woods, to learn more about this ground-breaking curriculum.