On Tuesday, Tyler and I had a chance to get out of the office and get into a classroom. We ditched our work desks for some classroom tables. We headed to Fairview Elementary School in Lansing to conduct a presentation for about 65 students. The students were two classes of second graders and one class of kindergarteners. Fairview school is a STEM school in the Lansing School district and we have been asked to come do presentations from time to time since the school is so close to MUCC Headquarters (less than a mile).
The topic for our presentation was waterfowl. Our previous visits have covered the wild turkey and we have done some mammal presentations in years past. However, this year our main teacher contact Mrs. Norris asked us to focus on waterfowl. If you know me, then you know I would much rather talk ducks than turkeys, so I rounded up Tyler (who just plain loves talking about wildlife) and off we went.
This presentation was a bit different than our typical classroom visits as we not only worked with each second-grade class, but one of our 45-minute presentations had a class full of kindergarteners as special guests. I think the teachers could see the fear in the eyes of Tyler and myself when they told us about our special guests. We usually do not do presentations for under 2nd grade because the kids can get a little squirrely and wiggly. They can also be a bit rough on our taxidermy.
However, this class of 4-5-year-olds was very impressive. They paid attention and answered questions well. I think they got more questions right than the older kids did. These 5-year-olds knew their ducks!
Our presentation covered a variety of topics. Things like what a makes an animal a bird? Why are ducks unique? The differences between diving ducks and dabbling ducks. What ducks eat, where they migrate, and even the variety of ducks we have living here in Michigan, were all discussed.
The highlight of the presentation was the taxidermy mounts. Thanks to a donation from Last Flight Waterfowl Taxidermy, MUCC Camp received nine mounted ducks last year. These ducks make the rounds to schools, sports shows, and even job fairs. The kids get to touch the mounts feel the softness of the bird’s feathers and get an up-close look at the birds. All of the kids had fun getting hands-on with the different ducks.
At the end of the day, all of the kids enjoyed the change of pace from typical schoolwork and having the chance to learn about ducks they see near their school. Tyler and I always enjoy our visits to Fairview, and are more than willing to come to a classroom near you! If you would like a roughly on hour presentation on Michigan Wildlife send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will see what we can work out!