Today was the culminating activity for the science enrichment class I am teaching with my biology colleague (and my biology teacher!). We spent 3 hours traipsing about the woods with the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders and it was a great time. We built eco-art, played games, and did some hiking. It was cold, and even flurried for a good amount of time, but what a great day!
But my favorite part of the (freezing) day was on our walk back up to the parking lot. I had been keeping an eye out for bluebirds, as I have been seeing them for the past few weeks but rarely have my camera with me. I was thrilled to spot a group of bluebirds a few minutes later and whipped out my camera. As I started snapping pictures, I got the attention of a few of our students. They all froze and watched the birds as they hopped from branch to branch.
“Whoa! I’ve never seen a real blue bird before!”, one student exclaimed with quiet glee.
“Me either,” a few others responded.
At that moment, I realized I was in my twenties the first time I saw a bluebird in New Jersey. They were forced out of most areas by development and many conservation groups have been working hard to restore the population over the past fifty years. Now, we are finally getting more of them in Monmouth County.
We watched the flock quietly for a few more moments, noting the contrast between the male and female bluebirds, and the sharp contrast between the red cardinal and the bluebirds. It was a magical few minutes. The bluebirds are just so bright and look like tropical birds flitting between the winter branches and few stalks of long grass. They put a smile on anyone’s face!
I was so happy to be able to introduce these middle school students to the Eastern bluebird, and hopefully awaken a love of nature in them (even more than our 3 hour winter hike, maybe!). Nature really is amazing!
Filed under: environmental, slice of life challenge, Voices from the Land Tagged: | #slice2013, Bluebird, eastern bluebirds, Monmouth County, Monmouth County New Jersey, nature, New Jersey, science enrichment class, slice of life, slice of life challenge