(Connecting with nature is more important than learning the facts)

In April 2018 I teamed up with Greening Australia to design and deliver the Cumberland Stepping Stones School Workshops.

The project covered 9 schools from a seasonal presentation to Kindergarten at Katoomba Public School to a curriculum-based presentation at Fairfield High School, where a flexible delivery allowed me to ‘Avianate’ a total of over 360 students. Workshop structure was an in-class presentation followed by a bird walk with photos and bird list taken on the day used to create a DL leaflet.

At Cambridge Park Public School (above) Students had studied the Lorax as preparation for a presentation on the loss of habitat and the Emus of the nearby ADI site. An AV presentation on Emus and loss of Cumberland Plain Woodland was prepared for St Marys, Bidwill, and Lalor Park Public Schools.

A Superb Lyrebird and Satin Bowerbirds at Mount Riverview Public School in the lower Blue Mountains inspired me to talk about how the males ‘show off’ with their calls or bowers to attract females. This way it’s only the ‘best’ (fittest) males who get to breed and pass on their genes to the next generation. At Megalong Public School on the western slopes we spoke about the birds of the western slopes following up with ‘Red’ Robins‘ on a winter visit.

As Londonderry Public School is located in the Richmond Woodlands Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) the presentation covered the two flagship species, the endangered Regent Honeyeater and Swift Parrot.  Starting with the familiar Noisy Miner (a Honeyeater) and Rainbow Lorikeet (a Parrot) students could focus on other Honeyeater and Parrot species, and maybe find these rarities.

“Amazing. Engaging for all students. Great knowledge of local area. Good link to curriculum areas that are otherwise hard to cover in an engaging manner”. Alice Gravina, Bidwill Public School

“A great day of learning. Mark is a gifted Environmentalist and Teacher. Seeing a raptor diving for a hunt was the highlight of our day”. Prue Thompson, Cambridge Park Public School

“This is the bestest day ever”. Max, St Marys Public School (K1)

“I have found 2 Masked Lapwings”. Joshua, St Marys Public School (Y1) (4 weeks after the visit)

Connecting people to nature through birds