Sharon, an education specialist from the National Aviary and her volunteer Norm were some of Mrs. Chelsea Geist’s special visitors on Wednesday afternoon at the high school. Sharon gave an eye-opening slide presentation to Mrs. Geist’s Zoology students on many endangered birds and what we can do to help. She presented three case studies on some birds that are going extinct and gave some interesting facts about birds like how 1 in 8 birds are endangered and 40% of birds’ species are threatened. One of the big reasons birds are becoming extinct is because of HIPPO:
- H- habitat loss
- I – invasive species
- P – Pollution
- P – Population Human
- O – Overharvesting
“So why should we care if these birds are becoming extinct?” is one of the important questions she asked the class and one of the big reasons we should care is because birds are bioindicators, pollinators and biodiviersity is another reason. Basically they let us know how our habitat is doing. Some ways that zoos help are by breeding some of the extinct animals, and spreading awareness. Another important question she asked was – what can you do? Here she presented a long list of things that included recycling, eliminating plastic (to which she handed out reusable straws), advocate, donate, visit, and more!
The end of the presentation was perhaps the most exciting because this is where she brought out the Eurasian Kestrel (pictured). She walked around the class and allowed the students to ask questions about the Kestrel. She also handed out free adult general admission coupons that applies to high school or middle school students with the purchase of an adult or senior general admission ticket. So if you’re interested in visiting Pittsburgh’s National Aviary make sure you take advantage of your student’s free admission coupon, valid through June 30th, every day of the week 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Also towards the end one of the students asked about volunteer opportunities and Sharon mentioned that if she visits the website there are places where the students can volunteer to work at the National Aviary. Chance are if they’re taking Mrs. Geist’s Zoology class that they probably have an interest in animals so this could be a great opportunity for them!