Inspiring Education and Conservation at St. Paul High School

St. Paul High School students have been chirping with excitement thanks to some incredible experiences centred around bird education and conservation. Dominique Lacroix’s grade 8 Religion class recently had the pleasure of hosting Patty McLaughlin from the Ottawa Wild Bird Center. This exciting series of classroom visits captivated both students and teachers by birdwatching’s wonders.

Classroom Visits with Patty McLaughlin

During Patty’s visits, the students delved into the fascinating world of birds. They learned about various bird species native to our region and acquired essential birdwatching skills, including how to use binoculars, identify bird species, and assemble bird feeders. Patty also introduced the students to the Merlin Bird ID app, a remarkable tool that aids in bird identification through audio recordings.

One particularly memorable moment was meeting Indigo, a real bird and Patty’s classroom mascot. Despite being unable to return to the wild due to injury, Indigo captivated the students’ hearts and served as a tangible reminder of the importance of wildlife conservation.

An Excursion to Remember

Following the classroom sessions, Patty accompanied the class on a field trip to the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Here, the students had the unique opportunity to feed chickadees by hand—an experience that sparked joy and wonder in each participant. Equipped with binoculars and the Merlin Bird ID app, they eagerly identified various bird species, soaking in the beauty of nature firsthand.

Building Bird Feeders

Furthering the commitment to environmental stewardship, Ms. Lacroix’s class then welcomed Joshua and Kindell from Wild Birds Unlimited, who generously donated bird feeders for the school’s courtyards. Guided by their expertise, students assembled the feeders and initiated a schedule to ensure they remained stocked with food. Additionally, they’ve collected data on the birds frequenting the feeders, fostering a deeper understanding of local bird populations.

Faith in Flight

While bird education may not be the typical religious activity, it provides a unique opportunity for students to embody the Catholic Graduate Expectation of being discerning believers. By engaging in activities that promote environmental stewardship and appreciation for God’s creations, students learn to celebrate the signs of God’s presence in the natural world. 

Looking Toward the Future

As the students continue to observe and monitor the bird feeders, they eagerly anticipate the arrival of more feathered visitors, particularly as spring approaches. Ms. Lacroix looks forward to continuing her partnership with Patty, fostering further exploration, discovery, and a deeper connection between her students and the environment.

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