This grant is for the birds! We mean that literally. But, it is also so much more than that. Sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, it supports projects that combine learning about urban birds with art, gardening, and citizen science. Since all projects should have a data collection component, it is a way to make learning fun for the entire family. Ultimately, it is about fostering a deeper connection with nature, validating the enchantment that birds bring us, and inspiring others to do the same.
Celebrate Urban Birds Mini-Grant Program
To be considered for this grant, a project must have all the components below:
- Involve the arts.
- Involve gardening.
- Connect the public with nature.
- Educate the public about birds, particularly these 16 focal species.
- Include a 10 minute Celebrate Urban Bird citizen science activity that includes neighborhood bird watching and observation.
- Distribute Celebrate Urban Bird kits, including posters, seeds (for planting, not munching), and more.
Priority will be given to those who work with underserved communities.
Selected Past Winners
- Watsonville, CA – Students at Parajo Valley High School observed birds as they cleared invasive species for their new garden. Painted rocks now line the path, bird feeders and baths make avian friends feel welcome, and weekly bird surveys for the Cornell database will be ongoing events.
- El Paso, TX – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department taught local school children the ins and outs of bird watching on a hike in Franklin Mountains State Park. Older kids then mentored younger kids in building creative planters for mini green spaces to help feed birds and butterflies. Recording the data they captured on the hike rounded out the day.
- East Elmhurst, Queens, NY – Bird observations at Public School 228Q were feathered with science, math, writing, and art as students complied books on bird behavior, planted sunflower gardens, built birdhouses, then shared what they learned with their parents.
- Lancaster County, PA – The Lancaster County Department of Parks and Recreation teamed up with Lafayette Elementary school to create an after school program that encouraged environmental stewardship. In addition to scientific observation, there was bird bingo, journal keeping, and pastel oil painting.
- Philadelphia, PA– Lets Go Outdoors helped kids “embrace their inner bird” via nature workshops, art lessons, acting sessions, remote controlled Angry Birds, origami birds and, of course, the chicken dance!
Applying for the Celebrate Birds Mini-Grant Program
Eligible applicants are Native American tribes, state and local governments, academic institutions, schools/school districts, nonprofits and consortia. The deadline is December 31, 2017.
Are you looking for a healthy New Year's resolution that is joyful to keep? As it turns out, bird watching may help relieve stress. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has resources to help:
- Merlin – A free app that helps you identify what species birds may belong to as you come across them. Just answer five simple questions and you get a list of probably matches in your area.
- Citizen Science – For those who want to take bird watching to the next level, the lab offers many ways for ordinary people to participate in data collection and conservation efforts.
- Bird Cam – When it is absolutely too cold to go outdoors, or you just need a soothing mini break at your desk, visit their live bird cams.