Field Trips for Groups of All Ages

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Take a Trip

At the Birds of Vermont Museum, students of all ages learn about the birds that make up such a colorful, essential, and interesting part of our world. Discover birds in their natural habitats. Explore their roles in ecosystems. Learn from detailed, life-like wood-carved replicas that cannot fly away, but look like they could. School, scout, elder hostel, and other groups are especially welcome to visit us. We offer standards-compliant curricula for some ages, and will work with you to build an educational field trip that suits your teaching needs.

We offers science and art opportunities indoors, outdoors, and in partnership with Audubon Vermont.

We work with individuals and groups from schools, camps, scouts, and elder hostels to make your learning experience a success. We have some special offerings for groups of students and campers, including age- and grade-specific guiding questions, directed explorations, and scavenger hunts. Some typical directions of study are below, as are some resources for teachers and leaders.

Our trails are open to walkers of all ages from sunrise to sundown (no pre-registration or admission fee). Please leave dogs, horses, and other animal companions at home.

What to expect in the Museum

When your group arrives, a brief video gives background information regarding the Museum, woodcarving, carvers, and birds.

After the video, students travel through the Museum using age/grade-appropriate guided investigations. These "scavenger hunts" focus on topics such as bird identification, migration, adaptations, and nesting habitat. Many have been designed to coincide with Vermont's Grade Expectations and others can be tailored to your group's needs.

Our collection of biologically accurate woodcarvings offers a unique opportunity to observe birds that will not fly away! Each of more than 120 free-standing displays includes a male and female pair, their nest and eggs, and vegetation typical of their habitat.

A viewing window allows protected audio and visual learning from live birds (when they come to the feeders). We have guide books for identification, bird anatomy, and more.

There is an exhibit on North American Endangered and Extinct Species, two Wetland Dioramas of birds that can be found on Lake Champlain, and a collection of information about native butterflies, local ferns species, summer wildflowers and more.

Outdoor Learning

We have 100 acres and trails throughout the property. We are an Audubon Important Bird Area and a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat.

On our land, students develop bird identification skills, explore the Natural/Unnatural Trail, write poems and essays, investigate the different bird species in forest upland and successional habitats, and enjoy picnic lunches. If your group is interested in further outdoor education, we encourage you to combine your visit here with one to our neighbor, Green Mountain Audubon.

Scheduling a Visit

It's easy! Call the Museum at (802) 434-2167 or e-mail museum@birdsofvermont.org. Our indoor program generally lasts 1½ hours and can be combined with a visit to Audubon Vermont. Students can also have lunch at our picnic tables, or take a walk on the Museum grounds. School and camp groups get a discounted admission of $2.50 each for students age 17 and younger.

Expanding your visit with Green Mountain Audubon

The Museum partners with Audubon Vermont to create an indoor / outdoor experience for your students. For more information please read our brochure, All About Birds (3.2MB PDF)

Before leaving, encourage your students to enter our Art Contest!

Recommended Study Topics

Bird Identification

By studying the bird carvings or looking at live birds at our bird feeders, students can practice observation and identification skills. Novice birders can look for differences in size, color, and preferred location. More advanced birders can look for ID marks such as eye rings and wing bars, and preferred foods and perches. They may relate these to habitat requirements, protection and camoflage against predation, and breeding success (or not).

Habitats

Some birds prefer conifers, some open meadows and others Lake Champlain. By studying the bird's preferred nesting habitat, students can see the different types of habitats needed to sustain our diverse population of birds. This introduces students to other topics such as the need for habitat diversity, the importance of land protection, or the ways in which Vermonters' changing land use habits has affected both which birds and how many are where in Vermont.

Migration

Migration is when birds travel, often great distances, in order to survive. Using the carvings and the corresponding range maps, students can learn where Vermont's summer birds go in the winter and where the winter birds spend their summers. This leads directly to studies in geography, navigation, and habitat, as well as to biology concepts such as energy use and storage in a body, survival strategies, or generalist/specialist adaptations.

Adaptations

Birds are a special type of being. Although other creatures can fly; only birds have feathers. Birds have many special adaptations for flight. Birds fit into many ecological niches, from high forests to open farms to wetlands and shorelines. Their food choices vary at least as much as ours do: it would be impossible for a hummingbird to gobble up a mouse, and it would be just as impossible for a hawk to slurp up some nectar from a flower. Using biologically accurate carvings, discover how the structure of a bird's body and its behavior fit it to its niche in the environment.

Nesting

Birds build their nests in all kinds of places. Some nest high in trees while others nest on the ground. Birds also use a variety of nesting materials to build their nests, including sticks, mud, stones, grass, spider webs, and even snake skins. See how different nesting styles reflect birds' ingenuity at using the materials provided by their environment for protection of their young. Expand this into concepts of bird growth and development from egg to adult, competition for resources, bird reproduction and parenting strategies, variation in nests between species, and variation in nests between individuals within species. What nesting behaviors are learned and which are instinctive?

Resources for Teachers and Leaders

These PDF documents should open in a new tab or window.

Birds of Vermont Museum Scavenger Hunt: Preschool-Kindergarten (178 kb PDF, last edited 2009)

Birds of Vermont Museum Scavenger Hunt: Preschool-Kindergarten (lite) (17 kb PDF, last edited 2009)

Birds of Vermont Museum Scavenger Hunt: Grades 3-4 (19 kb PDF, last edited 2010)

Birds of Vermont Museum Scavenger Hunt: Grades 5-6 (65 kb PDF, last edited 2011)

Birds of Vermont Museum Scavenger Hunt: Grades 7-8 (62 kb PDF, last edited 2011)

Birds of Vermont Museum Scavenger Hunt: Grades 9-12 (82 kb PDF, last edited 2011)

900 Sherman Hollow Road, Huntington, VT 05462 ~~ (802) 434-2167 ~~ E-mail