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Children from a Title I North County school learn how to become advocates for protecting threatened shorebirds through beach field trips.
Sharing our Shores is an Audubon program that helps elementary students learn how to protect threatened and endangered shore birds through science, conservation, and art. This innovative program combines classroom learning with hands-on activities at local beaches.
Buena Vista Audubon Society will take 100 North County San Diego elementary school children from Title I schools to a local beach to learn about at-risk shorebirds and their coastal sand dune habitat.
The students first receive in-class lessons on the biology and conservation of shorebirds, such as the western snowy plover. Then the students design and draw beach signs alerting the public not to disturb snowy plover coastal dunes nesting sites. The four winning signs are made into durable signs and installed at the nesting sites. And, finally, students visit coastal dunes habitat as a class field trip and engage in activities to learn more about these shorebirds.
These students are from urban, underserved communities; Sharing our Shores allows them to become involved in the conservation of shorebirds at their local beaches. They might not otherwise be able to visit these beach habitats and learn about the threatened and endangered shorebirds that live minutes away from their neighborhoods.
Sharing our Shores benefits both shorebirds and children:
1. The colorful and creative signs that children make help alert the public to avoid snowy plover nesting sites, and, because they were created by children, are more likely to make an impression on beach-goers than a governmental sign.
2. It empowers children to become advocates to protect shorebirds. The children see their signs displayed at beaches and know that their artwork is performing an important function for threatened wildlife.
3. Children have an opportunity to be outside and to interact with nature; studies have shown that being able to engage with nature is tied closely to healthy childhood development.
4. It provides an opportunity for children from park-poor areas to visit their local natural areas.
100 3rd, 4th or 5th grade kids.
We are working with three school districts, and will conduct outreach to all three this fall in order to select the school(s) for our project: Oceanside Unified School District, Vista Unified School District, and San Marcos Unified School District.