At Georgia’s first and only STEM-certified K-8th grade school, Amana Academy, students have partnered with the city of Alpharetta and the Atlanta Audubon Society to try to ensure the future preservation of the Brown-headed Nuthatch, a bird native to the Southeast.
Working with the Audubon society, the third grade children learned about the declining population of the bird and decided they wanted to help.
They researched the Nuthatch in technology classes, learned about environmental factors affecting the birds’ natural habitat in science classes and, using the engineering design process, developed plans for birdhouses that will soon be installed in Alpharetta.
Students composed persuasive letters that were presented to the city of Alpharetta, advocating for the installation of these birdhouses in parks throughout the city. They even staged a fundraising campaign to collect enough money to purchase supplies for 35 Nuthatch houses, 10 of which will be installed in Wills Park — a place they frequently visit.
According to a news release from the school: “Amana’s mission is to prepare students to become changemakers. The school’s challenging academic program is rooted in the Harvard-based (Expeditionary Learning) Education model, which empowers kids to reach beyond what they think they are capable of in order to make the world a better place. Students become leaders of their own learning and collaborate on semester-long learning expeditions that seek to find solutions to real world problems locally and globally.”
Nikki Belmonte, executive director of the Atlanta Audubon Society, worked closely with students on this project.
“Atlanta Audubon was thrilled to partner with Amana's crew to provide much needed nesting opportunities for the declining Brown-headed Nuthatch. As these students grow up, this bird will suffer greatly from habitat loss and effects of climate change,” Belmonte said in a statement. “This project demonstrated that when education takes a place-based, empathetic and collaborative approach, it can result in real and necessary conservation action.”
Amana Academy is a Fulton County public charter school serving 750 students. The school is holding open enrollment through Jan. 31 for the 2017-2018 school year.