We started off inside today for a change because the weather was iffy. I wanted to discuss Carrying Capacity and the meaning of the concept. We discussed the definition and then what it meant for local birds. Wixon is surrounded by woods, an ideal habitat for year round avian residents as well as stop over migrants and/or summer inhabitants who've migrated from other areas. We set out to play our carrying capacity game, a game I learned at a fantastic workshop at Clark University, run by MITS. 4 students were birds, 4 students were in charge of the aspects of the supporting habitat: food/water/shelter and we adjusted the "space" as needed. The other students were in charge of choosing the bird species; they chose: Blue Jay, Northern Cardinal, American Crow & American Robin. I wish I thought to get more photos of the game, but I was busy running it and I only got a few pictures with my phone. The first time the "birds" flew into the "habitat space" it was large and each bird was able to obtain sufficient "food", "water" & "shelter". Before I sent the "birds" back into the "habitat space", we made it smaller and I took away some "water", "food" & "shelter". The kids were starting to get it. When habitats are threatened, and/or taken away - the birds do not have a sufficient habitat to support their lives, they suffer & even perish.
I also wanted them to have hope though, because I assured them that they could very well have some answers and ideas as to how we can provide a healthier habitat future for the birds. I do not assign homework for our enrichment class, but I did ask them to think about ways in which we could make the world a better place. I wanted them to know that for the most part, their younger minds are not jammed up with paying a mortgage, fixing the roof, or coming up with insurance payments. It's wonderful to be a kid! Kids have wonderful ideas!
I can't wait to hear what they come up with!
Northern Cardinal - male
See you soon young bird nerds!