Tuesday, August 28, 2007


The new school year has begun, but it's not only students that are busy learning. An average of 300 teachers and aspiring teachers attend the semiannual Geofests hosted by the South Carolina Geographic Alliance (SCGA).

The fall Geofest is scheduled for September 8th at the Geography Department building (Callcott)on the University of South Carolina campus. A registration form can be found here. A small registration fee covers lunch, an armfull of posters, maps, lesson plans, and other materials, plus lesson and content presentations by teachers and university staff. This is an especially valuable opportunity for new teachers short on lessons, experience and professional contacts.

Mark Musselman, education director at the Audubon Center at the Francis Beidler Forest, will make a lesson presentation describing a unit of study on bird migration. The lesson incorporates art with students using decoupage to personalize the journals in which they will comment on various wildlife or editorial cartoons that they have seen or have created. Language arts are incorporated through research on birds and their habitats plus the numerous journal entries and responses. Data collected during the migration activity are used to bring mathematics into the lesson through charts, graphs, percentage change in populations along with migration distances measured using Google Earth. Geography is inescapably covered throughout. Besides having the opportunity to be scientist gathering data during the migration activity, students can help professional scientist gather data through observations at classroom bird feeders and during international efforts like the Great Backyard Bird Count (coming in Feb!).

Audubon's mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity. That is extremely difficult if the citizens of this country and the rest of the international community do not understand these various natural systems work and are connected.

Image from a presentation by Matthew Jeffries, Audubon International Alliances Program

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