Thursday, November 20, 2014

Winter Bird Feeding/Watching & Winter Wildlife Habitat Workshop

Date: Saturday, December 6, 2014
Time: 10 AM - 11:15 AM
Location: Oelwein Library
Cost: Free!
Who: All Ages / Public Workshop

    Snow and cold weather are part of this time of year, so how about learning more about enjoying the winter activity of bird watching and feeding, plus wildlife tracking and habitats? 

    The Fayette Iowa State University Extension and Outreach office is hosting a free public workshop about Winter Bird Feeding/Watching & Winter Wildlife Habitat.  

    For many this is a fun way to appreciate nature and help birds survive.  In fact, the US Fish and Wildlife Service reports that 51.3 million (one out of six) Americans enjoy this, making it the fastest growing outdoor sport.  

    Speakers for the workshop include Dawn L. Amundson, Fayette County Conservation Board Environmental Education Coordinator, and Ron Lenth, Iowa State University Extension & Outreach – Fayette County Program Coordinator.  

    The workshop is free and open to the public.  

    Join in the excitement of learning what birds might come to visit bird feeders, make your own "Recycled Bird Feeder" to take home if you want to, and more. 

    Educational handout materials and samples of various feed types and feeders will be on display.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Egg Story! New Program Being Offered in 2015!

    Last year as some of you who visited the Gilbertson Nature Center during May’s field trip season discovered I used my personal incubator to hatch some eggs.  It was a fun and excited to do and the kids seemed to enjoy learning about “The Egg Story”. 

    In visiting some of the classrooms I noted that some of teachers also were trying to hatch eggs as part of a lesson.  Some had good luck, others had very poor luck.  In talking with not only those teachers who had tried or were trying to hatch eggs I also found others who were interested in trying but had no access to an incubator, eggs to hatch or even a place for the chicks to go once they hatched.

    I did offer the use of my personal incubator for those who might interested in using, but reminded them a schedule would have to be made so that as many teachers could use it as possible.  Plus my hope is to hatch more eggs at the nature center during field trip season in 2015.

    Well an opportunity came for me to acquire two small Incubator’s and other support equipment to go with them.  So I have set up 2 hatching kits that can be checked out and used in the classroom.

The kits include:
1 Brinsea Mini Advanced Incubator
        [holds 7 regular size chicken eggs]
OvaScope Cordless Egg Scope
Chick Brooder (for up to 20 chicks)
Plastic Chick enclosure
Lesson Plan Manual on a CD
Binder that includes a printed off
        Lesson Plan Manual, all of the needed 
        instructions, pictures, and more.
Additional Lesson Plans, Crafts, 
        Support Information, Work Sheets and 
        more all on a DVD
•       Incubator Disinfectant concentrated

The kit can also include if needed:
7 Hatching Eggs
Starter Chick Feed
Vitamins for the water
A home for the chicks once they are ready to leave the classroom
Books [A list of what books can be checked out will be provided before the kit arrives 
        so the teacher can pick the one’s they would like in the kit.]

    Below is a link to a Google Doc, this Doc has a lot of Chicken Hatching Resources than can help you.  A copy of this Doc. will also be included in the Binder that comes with the kit.

    This program can only be done almost year round but remember it takes 21 days for chicken eggs to hatch.  Time is also needed for setting up the incubator and cleaning up the incubator so plan for 24 to 25 days using the kit.  It will be possible to split the kit up so that once the chicks are hatched and are in the brooder another teacher can start using the incubator.  The best time of the year is August, September, March and April.

    The program can be done in October, November, December, January, or February.  But I may or may not have eggs that will hatch due to the cold temperatures outside.

    This kit meets many of the US National Science Education Standards.   The kit includes information about what national standards it meets for Grades 3 – 5 and 6 – 8.  But in looking over the US National Science Education Standards for Preschool – 2nd grade this kit meets those standards also.

    The Naturalist is also willing to do as many or as few support programs to help the teacher use this kit successfully in their classroom.

    If you are interested in “The Egg Story!” and your school district is in or part of it is in Fayette County contact Dawn L. Amundson to schedule you program, check out of the kit or both at 563-426-5740 or