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Birds in my Neighborhood

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,  Audubon Great Lakes, and Illinois Department of Resources at Volo Bog, this classroom-based and volunteer-driven program is offered to schools in the City of Chicago, McHenry County, and Lake County, Illinois.

“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

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.

Volunteer with Birds in my Neighborhood

Due to the pandemic caused by COVID-19, all Birds in My Neighborhood onsite programming is cancelled for the 2019-2020 school year.  We are following all advice from the CDC to prevent the spread of the virus at this time. We thank all the wonderful volunteers this school year for your dedication and we hope to work with you again in the next school year. 

Birds in my Neighborhood 2020 Volunteer Information

Birds in my Neighborhood relies on volunteers to assist our in-school programs to thrive. 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
  • Bird walk in the schoolyard
  • Bird walk in a local natural area

For those interested in volunteering in Cook County, or for more information about Birds in my Neighborhood, please contact schools@openlands.org.

For those interested in volunteering with the program in McHenry or Lake counties, please contact Stacy Iwanicki at dnr.volobog@illinois.gov or 815.344.1294.


Support for Birds in my Neighborhood is generously provided by BNSF Railway and US Forest Service – International Programs.

Birds in my Neighborhoods Partners: