An Afterschool Program for Conservation
The project purpose is to broaden bird-friendly communities throughout the St. Louis region by developing an afterschool conservation program for elementary-aged students. Urban dwellers can play a critical role in fostering healthy wildlife and communities. It has been shown that children can play an important role in raising awareness of conservation concerns within their own families. This new program will focus on a joint venture focal species, the Chimney Swift. The Chimney Swift has a unique urban habitat -- chimneys -- which exist within the urban landscapes of the students' neighborhoods. This is important as it is relatable for students and emphasizes that birds and other wildlife share the same urban environment as children and their families, thereby increasing interest in the wildlife around them. Activities will begin with four classroom visits for 3rd-5th grade students at two schools, planting a native garden and building a Chimney Swift tower habitat at each school, and a four-day summer camp for 5-10 students from each afterschool site. Anticipated results include educating two to three groups of 25 students at afterschool sites and markedly increasing their knowledge of local habitats and native species. Results will be recorded through pre- and post-testing, the creation of a native garden at each school, and the installation of a Chimney Swift tower at each afterschool site.