The Birds in my Neighborhood program has introduced over 1,600 2nd through 5th graders of Chicago’s Public schools to the birds and nature in their communities over the past three years. Established in 2013 by Openlands with support from Audubon Chicago Region, Birds in my Neighborhood is a volunteer-driven program that inspires students to recognize and appreciate the birds and habitat that surrounds them, even in an urban area. The program will engage 21 schools, 31 classrooms, and 65 volunteers.
Volunteers are trained and supported throughout the spring, using a format of three visits to each classroom: an in-classroom lesson, a bird walk in the schoolyard, and a field trip to a local natural area. The volunteers use their positivity, encouragement, and questions to activate the knowledge that already exists within the classroom, and guides the students on inspiring walks to recognize the feathered jewels that they maybe hadn’t noticed all around them!
In 2016, Audubon is partnering with Openlands to take the program outside Cook County for the first time, and to reach even more students in our area. If you would like to join our team of volunteers, let us know! No experience with birds or teaching is required.