Mini-Grants and Free Materials for Teachers

Celebrate Urban Birds eNewsletter

October 2013

Adopt-A-School Celebrate Birds Kit

Adopt-A-School Celebrate Birds Kit! Free for teachers.

Adopt-A-School Program

Birds add excitement to classrooms–and this kit can help teachers everywhere bring birds closer to their students!

We are teaming up with Walmart and Pennington® Wild Bird Food brand to distribute free kits to 2,500 teachers across the country through their brand new Adopt-A-School program.

This kit provides classrooms with a bird feeder to put on the window, birdseed, kids’ binoculars, fun classroom activities, and the chance to win a mini-grant that will help the schools hold a Celebrate Birds event! Nominate your school on this simple form.

Participants at 2013 Careers and Conservation Workshop

Group photo from Careers and Conservation Workshop at Cornell Lab of Ornithology held October 24 and 25. Photo by Diane Tessaglia-Hymes

Careers and Conservation Workshop

Celebrate Urban Birds hosted 22 youth and 9 educators/chaperones from across the Northeast on October 24th and 25th. Participants took part in our Careers and Conservation Workshop focused on exploring careers in conservation science and paths to higher education. Selected youth applied or were nominated for the program.They participated in a whirlwind of activities including early morning bird banding, exploring the Museum of Vertebrates, learning about our Bioacoustics Research Program, learning illustration techniques from a Lab artist, meeting archivists, recordists, and researchers at Macaulay Library, interacting with scientists, and learning about cutting-edge research and technology.

Youth toured the Cornell campus, listened to an exciting talk by the Assistant Director of Admissions/Multicultural Recruitment, and got to experience Cornell dining. (They loved it.) They learned about the power of community-based citizen science, dino-fuzz (Do you know what dino-fuzz is?), web design and data visualization, and got a thorough overview of the Lab’s conservation science initiatives in the Neotropics. Students also enjoyed nighttime and daytime walks through Sapsucker Woods.

Some of their comments:

“My favorite part of the entire workshop was taking a walk through the woods because it gave me an experience I’ve never had before and forced me to get over my fears.”

“My favorite part has to be when we did the night walk. I felt my senses adapting during the night and something about it, I just admire.”

“I loved watching the students release the birds after banding, and walking in the woods. These are experiences that the students have never had the opportunity to have.”

“Exposure to different career pathways and the different ways to get there was very powerful and helpful inspiration.”

“My students come from the inner city and they have very limited experience being in an open green space. I think that having this experience made them more aware of their environment.”

“I’ve been inspired to apply to Cornell and do actual research work.”

“I liked the dead things in jars.”

“I’ve been inspired to study science.”

“My favorite part of the workshop was the sound equipment. I love music and sound in general so it was very exciting.”

On Our Blog

This month the Celebrate Urban Birds blog highlights mini-grant application season, the Adopt-A-School program, and Tricky Bird IDs.
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Proyecto Juan Diego - Mini-Grant winnner

Proyecto Juan Diego, mini-grant winner!

Offering Mini-Grants for Celebrate Urban Birds Events

With every autumn comes the falling of leaves, the appearance of cider- and pumpkin-flavored hot drinks, and our invitation to apply for a mini-grant. We invite organizations, educators, and youth to apply for mini-grants to help fund creative neighborhood events. Proposals should integrate the arts, greening, and citizen science. We hope these community events will be creative and inspire others to organize similar events. They do not need to be complicated. All mini-grant applicants are offered free materials and training to support their events (even if their proposals are not funded). Organizations working with underserved communities are strongly encouraged to apply. No experience with birding needed. Mini-grants range from $100 to $750.

We love out-of-the-box ideas! We encourage businesses, hospitals, healthcare organizations, senior centers, and community centers to apply. In the past we’ve offered mini-grants to an ice-cream shop that gave coupons to customers who collected data and planted bird-friendly flowers; an oncology center that encouraged patients to collect data while they waited for appointments; a courthouse waiting-room for children to learn about birds through the arts; a theatre troupe that wanted to connect inner-city youth with nature; a day habilitation program that combined community work, gardening, birdwatching, and the arts; many youth-led community greening projects; and dozens of other community organizations.

Our application is simple and straightforward. You don’t need to know anything about writing grant proposals to apply. Simply answer our questions about what you plan to do, where, when, and with whom. We’d be happy to help! Email: or call 607-254-2455.

Learn more!

Last year's grand prize winner. Photo by Catherine Diehl-Robbins from Anchorage, AK

Last year’s grand prize winner. Photo of Pine Grosbeak by Catherine Diehl-Robbins from Anchorage, AK

BirdSpotter is Back: Grab Your Camera and Win!

Project FeederWatch and Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods are teaming up to bring back the annual BirdSpotter photo contest. Participating is as easy as point-and-shoot. Just take photos of the birds that visit your feeders and post them on the contest web page at Voting on the web page will decide the weekly winners, with prizes such as a Cornell Lab Sapsucker camera strap and a bag of Bob’s Red Mill steel cut oats. The contest runs during the FeederWatch survey season, from November through February, with a grand-prize winner receiving a trip to Oregon to go birding with Bob himself!

Learn more


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