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Photo submitted - Students hold fun fact cards that taught them the diet, habitat and migration habits of Adirondack birds.

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Students make like birds and ‘fly’ away

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - Updated: 8:00 AM

By CAITLIN STEWART

For the Express

LAKE PLEASANT - Second and third graders of Lake Pleasant Public Library’s after school program flapped and tweeted their way through the Great Migratory Challenge Nov. 6, presented by the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Fourteen students discovered that birds in their hometown, such as belted kingfishers, common loons, great blue herons and osprey, migrate for food and nesting ground resources.

SWCD Educator Caitlin Stewart explained birds might fly thousands of miles between their summer breeding grounds in New York state and wintering locales as far away as Central America.

Through the power of imagination, students became birds and formed flocks to take The Great Migratory Challenge. They flew to different stations around the library, experiencing the many hazards and beneficial surprises birds encounter when migrating.

During the game, students were able to advance when they landed at stations where an overgrown field offered plentiful food, scientists banded birds for research, a strong tail wind aided flying or a wildlife refuge offered a safe haven.

Students moved back stations when a shopping mall was built on last year’s resting spot, an unexpected freeze caused food scarcity, a polluted marsh poisoned the birds or a rainstorm made flying impossible.

Some died after crashing into the window of a highrise office building, being eaten by a cat or flying with a flock of birds that had a deadly virus. Some successfully made it to the last station to complete the Great Migratory Challenge.

“The children had a super time learning about bird migration,” said Children’s Librarian Marty Shean. “The game kept their interest up, so they wanted to do it again. What a learning experience.”

The SWCD has been managing and promoting the wise use of natural resources in Hamilton County since 1965. To schedule a free program for a library call (518) 548-3991 or email to hcswcd@frontiernet.net.

     

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