Materials and curriculum for introducing children to birds
India is lucky to have an incredibly rich birdlife, with 13% of the world’s species of birds, thanks to an amazing diversity of habitats found in the subcontinent. The goal of this project is to get young people interested in and excited about birds, by creating high-quality print and online resources.
A learning programme on birds and nature
While birdwatching and bird photography as popular hobbies have grown rapidly in the last decade, relatively little material exists for young children to learn about and get excited by birdwatching. In this project, we plan to develop a variety of educational materials, test these in the field and in the classroom, and refine the material based on their feedback. Through birds, we also hope to encourage and facilitate a deeper connection with nature.
The main objective of this effort will be to design and develop an educational “kit” or “curriculum” consisting or a set of interactive lessons or tutorials, each with a detailed teacher’s manual to guide the educator through a series of linked activities that flow into each other. The suggested activities would involve a set of educational aids – print material such as flashcards on common birds, a handy bird guide, posters for classroom display, as well as electronic resources such as videos and presentations highlighting interesting aspects of bird behaviour. These print and e-resources would also be available as standalone tools that can be used by nature groups conducting their own after-school programmes with children.
Set of flashcards on common birds
Our first set of material has been tested in the field by nature educators and facilitators, and will soon be available for purchase! We have designed a set of cards on birds of peninsular India, which feature 40 common species, to introduce children to the wonderful world of birds. These are slightly larger than postcard size, and printed on thick paper to withstand rough usage.
Each card features a photograph of the species on the front, and interesting information about it on the back. The text has been kept to a minimum, focusing on icons to convey information on food, habitat and size. The cards also feature a trivia section, and can be used to play educational games in the classroom, by following instructions given in a separate card that is included with the set.
The flashcards set is available for purchase. Please click here for details.
Handy pocket guides
As the beginner birdwatcher learns to identify more birds, there is often a need for a simple pocket guide that lists the common species of the region in a portable format that can be easily carried in the field. This is especially needed for children who may be confused by the comprehensive and often bulky field guides.
We have produced a handy pocket guide to birds of the Indian peninsula to fill this need. The pocket guide folds into a size of 3.5" x 8.5", features 135 familiar birds, and is laminated for protection. The featured species have been divided into 5 categories based on habitat (eg. Wetland Birds) and Behaviour (eg. Ground-feeding Birds), with winter visitors and Western Ghats species marked separately. Illustrations of birds have been used with permission from "Birds of the Indian Subcontinent" by Richard Grimmett, Carol Inskipp and Tim Inskipp.
We also have a version of the pocket guide focusing on the birds of Spiti/Ladakh. These are being used by the Himalayan Nature Clubs that are run by our High Altitude Programme in this region, and have been distributed to schools, monasteries and Govt offices.
Both pocket guides are available for purchase. Please click here for details.
Pocket guides in regional languages
In the last one year, we have had several requests to produce area-specific pocket guides in regional languages. We now have two of these available - a bilingual (English/Malayalam) pocket guide to Birds of Kerala, produced in collaboration with WWF in Kerala, and a bilingual (Kannada/English) pocket guide to Birds of Cauvery/MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, produced in collaboration with our Western Ghats programme (supported under the Integrated Tiger
Habitat Conservation Programme by IUCN). These pocket guides are distributed free of cost to
schools, community members, social leaders and others in the