Since 2013, Birds in my Neighborhood® has helped more than 8,000 students learn about nature in their local community. The program introduces students to the common birds of the region through in-class lessons and field trips. Led by Openlands and Audubon Great Lakes, this classroom-based and volunteer-driven program is offered to schools in the City of Chicago, McHenry County, and Lake County, Illinois.
In Chicago, Birds in my Neighborhood is taught by volunteers at CPS schools that have shared relationships with Openlands through the Building School Gardens program. School gardens and birds can be an entrée to connect youth with a life-long passion for the environment. By understanding more about birds, including how they survive and contribute to the urban environment, students forge a critical connection with nature as it exists in their own communities.
“I always see such growth and learned knowledge in the students after going through the program. Students acutely become aware of the species found in their urban setting.” – Saucedo Elementary teacher
Birds in my Neighborhood needs volunteers to help the program run! You only need to be comfortable volunteering around kids, enjoy spending time outside, and be willing to help students learn. The commitment is minimal, but certainly rewarding.
After attending three trainings, each corresponding to one of the three sessions with students, volunteers are assigned in pairs to a classroom and lead the following sessions:
- In-classroom lesson (February)
- Bird walk in the schoolyard (March)
- Bird walk in a local natural area (April)
For information about volunteering for Birds in my Neighborhood, please contact email@example.com.
Volunteers interested in assisting the program in McHenry or Lake counties should email Stacy Iwanicki at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815.344.1294.