For the past two years we supported the Skagit Audubon Society's all volunteer organization with grants for educational materials. In her grant follow up report to the Skagit Community Foundation, Sheila Pera, Skagit Audubon Society's volunteer education coordinator shares the result of the grant and what the Society learned:
We focus on how birds are an integral part of the world's web of life. We learned that partnering with already established youth groups such as the Boys and Girls Clubs was the best way to attract younger audiences. We learned to create our own crafts, games and other activities to meet specific habitats in the Puget Sound ecosystems. Children like to take their craft projects home. At Cama Beach State Park, our Discovery Wagon with bird and mammal displays always ranked high on park evaluations from guests.
We created a "Bird Migration" program for a visually impaired group in Burlington. We adapted the program to their hearing and tactical abilities with the use of mounted birds and recorded calls. It was the most rewarding program we have done, and we have been invited to come back and speak about owls.
Bird mounts and replica skulls are one of the most important visual aids we have. Nothing draws children's attention like skulls and mounts.When children and adults have opportunities to experience and explore the natural world, they are more likely to feel connected to their environment and to develop a sense of stewardship for the Earth's resources.
Some of our adult programs were created from requests. We created a hummingbird presentation called "Jewels in the Garden" at the request of a local nursery. It took three months to create the program. Since that time, we have had numerous requests. With Skagit Community Foundation funds, we purchased bird mounts, study specimens, binoculars and educational materials. In the last few years our presence in the community has increased greatly. In 2016, we engaged 1,200 participants. In 2017, that number increased to 1,600 participants.