SAN ANTONIO – Students at Woodlawn Academy are exploring and connecting to nature, while learning about birds.
Middle school students are learning to identify birds and the role birds play in the ecosystem through the Urban Bird Project.
“The goal of this project is to get students enthusiastic about learning about science,” Amelia King-Kostelac, assistant professor of practice for Integrative biology at UTSA said.
King-Kostelac and Eres Gomez are part of the UTSA team teaching students about birds, using different tools.
“One of the things we’re learning is real skills that we use in the field. So real skills that avian ecologists or birders or people that study birds would use. So, first of all, binoculars, they are learning to use binoculars,” Gomez said.
The project was funded through a $275,000 grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Hispanic Serving Institutions program.
The Urban Bird Project integrates avian ecology, Mexican-American studies and indigenous studies.
“They’re learning to identify the different birds, but then also make the connections to the environment. And then the piece that connects back to the Mexican-American and indigenous studies is learning stories about it,” King-Kostelac said.
Another UTSA team part of this project teaches students at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy and Longfellow Middle School. King-Kostelac says they hope to expand to other schools.