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Individual Highlight

1,000 Herons

Photo of Threebe in Baltimore, looking regal after being fitted with his transmitter. The harnesses expand as the bird grows, and the transmitters are very lightweight (measured in 10’s of grams). Harriet Van Kleeck.Threebe in Baltimore, looking regal after being fitted with his transmitter. The harnesses expand as the bird grows, and the transmitters are very lightweight (measured in 10’s of grams). Harriet Van Kleeck.Snapshot : School becomes a little more interesting when students are working with real-life herons and egrets and integrating data about birds into their curriculum. Real-time tracking data is available for integration into diverse curricular areas, including science, math, English, arts, and social studies.

Principal Investigators(s) :
McGuinness, Barbara 
Research Location : Baltimore, Philadelphia, Newtown Square (Pa.), New York City
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2016
Highlight ID : 1175

Summary

The Forest Service’s Northern Research Station partnered with the nonprofit 1,000 Herons and natural resource and education partners to sponsor four herons and egrets for tracking, enabling data-driven instruction in partner schools in Baltimore, Md., Philadelphia and Newtown Square, Penn., and New York City. In Philadelphia, Erika Scarborough from the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge helped students use the data to explore all aspects of ecology, including “habitats and landforms; ancient birds and their evolution to modern birds; adaptation; and migration.” Students also predicted future movements, and explored potential new habitat for their bird. In New York City, a partner school found tracking one egret led to a passion for bird watching, and is working to integrate the newly acquired bird studies with Trout in the Classroom work at the school. In the coming year, bird data will be used at more grade levels. Even hiccups in the data, such as temporary loss of transmissions, predation of one bird, provided opportunities for students to learn the ups and downs of science and data collection. The birds are just 4 of the 18 project birds available for tracking through Movebank.org. The website provides more information on the birds and ways to use bird-tracking data in the classroom.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Audubon Pennsylvania
  • Audubon at Patterson Park
  • Baltimore Office of Sustainability
  • City of New York Parks and Recreation
  • John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge
  • New Jersey Audubon
  • New York City Audubon
  • The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Strategic
Program Areas

Priority
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