Welcome to the News section of the iNSiGHT Ornithology website (
www.simoncherriman.com). This blog contains updates about various things I've been up to, interesting environmental issues and observations I make regularly while going about my day. It is designed to be fun AND educational, and inspire you about our wonderful natural world. Happy reading!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Eagle Education

Today I had the privilege of giving a talk and educational workshop about Wedge-tailed Eagles at Avon Vale Primary School in Northam. One of the benefits of working for Millennium Kids is I am able to be creative with my education sessions. So to get the children really inspired and give them the most practical experience possible, I designed a workshop where they had to build an eagle nest! What better way can you teach children to appreciate how clever birds are by using their beaks to build than getting the kids to use their hands for the same task?

I showed up at the school with a ute full of large sticks (conveniently our backyard stick pile needed moving before our upcoming rent inspection!) and made a big pile near the school oval. After a brief powerpoint presentation on eagle biology in the classroom, I took the children outside and asked them to think about how eagles build nests. They’d seen many pictures during my presentation so already knew the nest had to be large, stable, and lined with green leaves. We even found the perfect tree: a Eucalypt with a nice,  large fork low to the ground. But the challenge arose when it came to working out how to get the thing to stay together!

The group of Avon Vale children were excellent and were soon working together to construct their eagle nest, weaving sticks tightly and discussing the best approach to stop the nest from falling apart. Even though the fork was low down, I still had to get them a couple of chairs so they could reach up and add the finishing branches and green lining.

After the nest was complete, the children had to do a bone-identification activity - just like real eagle diet research! I hid lots of bones in and around the completed eagle nest, and the idea was for the children to collect the bones and identify them using life-size, laminated photos of all the bones. They did brilliantly and managed to tell the difference between left and right Kangaroo legs, and many smaller rabbit bones. The final result was 5 Rabbits, 2 young Kangaroos, and 1 Australian Raven. What a meal!

There is definitely no better way to learn than hands on!

If you like the sound of this activity and would like me to visit your school, please email me for a quote.


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