N.H. students connect with birding pen pals in Belize

It’s International Migratory Bird Day, and we’ve got a perfect story to share on this day bringing attention to the spectacular bird migrations connecting people and places from across the Americas.

Not everyone is aware of the diversity of birds around the world, the amazing migrations some take, and the phenomenal range of behaviors, plumages, and songs they exhibit. International Migratory Bird Day 2014 shares the many ways in which birds matter to the earth, to ecosystems, and of course, to us. – Environment for the Americas

Third-grade students in Canterbury, New Hampshire, have become pen pals with the Golden Stream School in Belize. Our staff recently visited the Canterbury school to deliver letters from Belize and teach the students about the migratory birds that they share during different parts of the year, such as red-eyed vireo, yellow warbler, chestnut-sided warbler, yellow-rumped warbler, magnolia warbler, black-and-white warbler, northern waterthrush, gray catbird, least flycatcher, eastern kingbird, and wood thrush.

The children were so excited to learn about their new friends, bursting with questions like, What do they eat? What sports do they like? What games do they play? What’s their favorite animal?

“The pen pal project is expanding the children’s world – I felt like I was watching them grow as they imagined these new friends in a far away place and then saw how real they were through their pictures and letters,” said Molly Sperduto of our New England Field Office. “It was amazing to be a part of that connection.”

Students from Golden Stream Government School, Belize.  Photo courtesy of Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education.

Students from Golden Stream Government School, Belize. Photo courtesy of Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education.

Students from Canterbury Elementary School, Canterbury, New Hampshire. Credit: USFWS

Students from Canterbury Elementary School, Canterbury, New Hampshire. Credit: USFWS

Letters from New Hampshire are now on their way to Belize. Both classes have read Mary Lyn Ray’s book about the wood thrush, “Welcome, Brown Bird.”

Biologist Molly Sperduto with students of the Golden Stream Government School. Credit: USFWS

Biologist Molly Sperduto with students of the Golden Stream Government School. Credit: USFWS

“We listened to the sounds of a wood thrush, and hands shot up as many exclaimed that they’ve heard that bird in their backyard,” Molly said. “When the wood thrush returns to New Hampshire, we’re going out to listen for them in the woods around the school.”

The program is part of an effort to educate people about the need for conservation throughout a bird’s life cycle and range. It complements other work that we’re doing in Belize–working with Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education to restore winter forest habitat to support neotropical migrants that were affected at the Nyanza Chemical Waste Dump Superfund Site in Massachusetts.

Happy International Migratory Bird Day!

One Comment on “N.H. students connect with birding pen pals in Belize

  1. Pingback: Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education US Fish & Wildlife Service feature BFREE Pen Pal collaboration on their blog » Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education

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