On July 26th, 2021, 23 students from 2nd grade to 9th grade joined me and a teacher/nature expert on a birding trip to John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Tinicum, Pennsylvania. These 23 students, who all heavily participate in their school district’s after-school nature program, were about to embark on a great nature adventure. Using binoculars, laser pointers, our combined knowledge, and even fake bird calls, my partner and I taught these nature enthusiasts about nature and its fragile beauty. With topics ranging from the migratory patterns of egrets to general conservation methods, the campers gained much environmental knowledge. 

Despite the heat, the campers trekked roughly three miles through the refuge and enjoyed every second of it. We saw 42 species of birds and ducks, and even witnessed a wild osprey diving into a pond to catch a fish. By the end of the day, the students received a copy of the ​​American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Pennsylvania to serve as a reference for their future nature endeavors; a waterproof notepad for noting observations while in the field; and an education on ecosystems, sustainability, and conservation. 

Personally, I immensely enjoyed the experience of teaching, researching, and working with fellow nature enthusiasts. Meeting young students who were enthusiastic about birding and eager to learn about nature made me glad that the future of our environment will be in such caring hands. It was also great to work with Mr. Quindlen, my former teacher and birding expert, who expanded my knowledge of birds and the environment. Mr. Quindlen is a passionate birder, and has helped me and many other students realize the importance of protecting our environment. With his help, we were able to give 23 students a memorable experience to grow their passion for sustainability. Thank you Mr. Quindlen!

I would also like to thank the CSGC and the Workman family for helping me teach sustainability and give young nature-enthusiasts a fond memory. This trip and experience would not have been possible without their support, and for that, I am extremely grateful. I hope my trip impassioned these students with regards to sustainability, and thank you again to Mr. Quindlen and the CSGC for their immense contributions to my project!

-Derek Zhang ’22

Click here to watch a video of a pish, an imitated bird call.

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