April 2018 I teamed up with Greening Australia to design and deliver the Cumberland Stepping Stones School Workshops. A series of 10 incursions with flexible delivery ‘Avianating’ over 360 students, from Kindergarten to High School in western Sydney and the Blue Mountains, from Fairfield to the Megalong Valley

A  series of targeted in-class presentations were followed by a survey, with photos used to create a DL species list of each school. The primary purpose was to connect the students the birds of their school grounds with the take-home component of a photo guide.

At Cambridge Park Public School (above) Students had studied the Lorax which was linked to the loss of Emus and Cumberland Plain Woodland at the nearby ADI site in a verbal presentation (above).
AudioVisual presentations were prepared for St Marys, Bidwill, and Lalor Park Public Schools.

“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)

“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

Mount Riverview Public School (x5 classes, 164 students) A verbal presentation on Lyrebirds/Bowerbirds, and the intelligence of using complex calls/bowers to attract females and pass on their genes.

“It was great to compare with Blacktown/Penrith and realise Mt Riv is unique. 1/3 of them wanted to take their brochure into the playground and tick off more birds”. Ms Stockton Yr4

Katoomba Public School (x3 classes, 90 students) was an AV presentation to all classes (from K1 to Stage 3) about the seasonal changes of bird populations in the Blue Mountains.

“Wonderful to see how engaged some of the children were, particularly those who are not necessarily so excited by school”.  Cate Paterson, Katoomba Public School

Megalong Public School (7 students) on the western slopes we spoke about the birds and the Granite landscape of the western slopes, following up with ‘Red’ Robins‘ on a winter visit.

“The visit was wonderful and engaging for all students. The visuals of birds and making connection with audio sounds was useful. Very knowledgable, excitement of interest and enthusiasm was good”.  Stephanie Scott, Megalong Public School

Londonderry Public School (Year 2, 22 students) located in the Richmond Woodlands Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) the presentation focused on Honeyeater and Parrot species from Noisy Miners and Rainbow Lorikeets in the school grounds, through to the rare Regent Honeyeater and Swift Parrot, the KBAs flagship species.

“Mark was engaging and passionate about birds. The girls and boys were very interested and particularly enjoyed the walk around”. Kelly Garlick, Londonderry Public School

Fairfield High School (Year 8, 18 students)  The only High School in the program, my presentation  focussed on Classification, Food webs and Human impact to compliment their curriculum-based studies.

“Mark was knowledgable. Eye opening. Well delivered! “. Eric Wu, Fairfield High School

From Gondwanian origins to daily dramas unfolding all around, every bird has a story. Now is the time for us to listen.