This article  by Joy A. Bell is a free download from the Summer 2018 Green Teacher magazine.  It begins:

ENVIRONMENTAL LITERACY is a cumulative process of learning a variety of concepts, skills, and knowledge of the natural world. It can be especially impactful to introduce children to this process.1 The challenge is finding a hook or entry point. An interactive outdoor activity, like birding, can be that entry point. Birding can connect children to the excitement of making discoveries about the natural world with learning ecological concepts. Birding also builds scientific skills. Making detailed observations for species identification, such as recording bird appearance, sounds, behaviors, and habitat uses; and using field guidebooks and technology tools like cameras, websites, and sound recordings to support field findings, are routine practices in birding.

With a classroom or large group, birding is best accomplished with sound field preparations and some structured and guided discovery. One method that can be implemented as a guided discovery lesson is a birding activity bag. The birding activity bag was created for an environmental education center with an extensive trail network. Designed for 8-12 year-old children, the birding activity bag was originally intended to facilitate exploration of the Sonoran desert habitat, but it can be used in any other location, including a lake, park, or yard. Beyond bird identification, ecology concepts like energy expenditure, the food chain, and ecosystem services are incorporated into the birding activity bag. These concept links serve as branch points for additional ecology lessons, building on the field experiences gained using the birding activity bag.

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