Camden County educators Anthony Klock, Alexandra Rocco, Leigh Zelenski, Kelly Smart and Tracey Rossi from Voorhees Township, were awarded a $3,166 Hipp grant to fund a project to engage students in bird and butterfly watching.

Kindergarten through fifth-grade students at Kresson Elementary School will be introduced to many species for the first time. Through these encounters and other activites, students will experience a personal and meaningful connection to nature around them. In addition, students and teacher partners will be instructed on how to be more observant and mindful while encountering nature.

Existing curricular materials will be adapted to activities to suit the varied grade/age levels involved. Students will apply research strategies to develop and maintain a species database that future participants can utilize and build upon. Optics and feeding stations obtained through this grant will allow the project to continue well into the future and expand throughout the school.

Students will create and perform a monthly Podcast to share their discoveries and impressions of nature. They will also develop and maintain a webpage to effectively communicate their findings. Students will participate in the “Citizen Science” movement by collaborating with local, state, and national conservation organizations, e.g., N.J. Conservation Foundation, N.J. Audubon, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, The Natural Lands Trust, The Pinelands Preservation Foundation, among others.

Collaboration will occur with the Voorhees Township Environmental Commission to share the project’s data and to maintain a local environmental resource.  Members of the Commission will address the students to educate them on local and county conservation efforts.

In order to maintain and expand funding, students will participate in the 2017 N.J. Audubon World Series of Birding and will seek pledges for species tallied. Grants will also be sought from the local PTA group as well as from national grantors.

For further information, contact:

Anthony Klock
(856) 424-1816, ext. 2117 (Kresson Elementary School)

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