Extending Our Reach

By Erin Brown, Director of Education
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

Did you ever really want to visit someplace but you couldn't? Maybe you didn't have the money, or you didn't have a car. Maybe your parents couldn't take you, or you couldn't get off work. There lots of reasons why you can't get to Cancun tomorrow, right? 

It's the same with schools. I think we would all agree that a field trip to a site like Hawk Mountain offers new experiences and can enhance the curriculum for students, but maybe a school that would like to visit just doesn't have the funds, transportation, chaperones, or time for a field trip. Those barriers are about to be eliminated. 

The new year brings new opportunities for schools to interact with the Sanctuary without ever leaving their classroom. Distance education raptor programs via the Skype platform are now available. The programs can be modified according to classroom needs and curriculum. They are similar to our site-based programs and topics can include: our history, raptor adaptations, migration strategies, types of raptors, trapping and tracking, conservation efforts, species accounts, and live raptors. 

Student-educator interactions are essential for effective distance learning. Student engagement is assured via the use of a raptor trunks filled with learning materials used during the program and sent ahead of time. Raptor trunks are available for elementary, middle, and high school levels and contain materials and resources for use before, during, and after the program. For example, items such as skulls, talons, eggs, feathers, and weight bags may be used by students during the program. Later, activities comparing feather types or comparative wing anatomy can be completed in the classroom. 

Programs are FREE thanks to a generous donation. Educators and education interns facilitate the programs. Visit hawkmountain.org/DistanceEducation to watch pilot program clips, view raptor trunks, or to request a program or additional information. 

We can't wait to see you on the Mountain... Virtually!

To hear more about extending our reach with Distance Education, check out the latest episode of the Podcast, where Erin talks more about the future of the programs.