School Programs

Bird Conservancy of the Rockies offers programs for schools in the field at our Environmental Learning Center at Barr Lake State Park in Brighton, Colorado, and in the school’s classroom. Scholarships are available to assist with bus and program fees.

Click below to learn about our school programs in Colorado.


Field Trips

Barr Lake Bird Watching Field Trips

Barr Lake features many different types of birds including songbirds, falcons, hawks, colonial nesting birds, waterfowl and Bald Eagles. On this field trip, students will explore this dynamic wildlife oasis just outside Denver and learn how and why nearly 80 different species of birds are able to coexist using different parts of this ecosystem. Students will learn how to use binoculars to view birds, and educators will teach about bird adaptations, habitat needs and the successful recovery of the once-endangered Bald Eagle. More importantly, students will have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty that can be found right in their backyard!
Dates: Late March – May 31
Time: Morning field trips recommended
Grades: 1 – adult
Duration: 1.5-2 hours
Maximum Number of Participants: 60 students per 2-hour program
Location: Barr Lake State Park, 13401 Picadilly Road, Brighton, CO
Program Fee: $5 per student, plus a $7 state park fee for each vehicle (the program fee includes an in-class pre-trip program)
Meets Colorado Science Standards 1, 2, 3 and 5

Barr Lake Banding Station Field Trips

Every spring and fall, thousands of birds stop to rest and eat at Barr Lake during their migratory journey. Spend a morning with a Bird Conservancy bird bander at Barr Lake State Park. Your students will get an “up-close and personal” experience with nature while they watch a wildlife biologist place a band on migrating birds captured harmlessly in mist nets. Students will also participate in other migration-related activities and observe wildlife on a hike along Barr Lake.
2018 Dates: August 25 – October 15
Time: 7-10 a.m.
Duration: ~2 hours
Maximum Number of Participants: 60 students
Location: Barr Lake State Park, 13401 Picadilly Road, Brighton, CO
Program Fee: $5 per student, plus a $7 state park fee for each vehicle.
Meets Colorado Science Standards 1, 2, 3 and 5

Spring Field Trips

Field trips can focus on birds, biology and outdoor exploration. Students “spring” into action as a biologist to observe birds and research life in a prairie ecosystem. Choose from a variety of program options (see below) where students explore water, the shortgrass prairie and the relationship of a bird’s structure to its function.
Dates: April – May
Duration: 2-4 hours
Program Fee: $5 per student, plus a $7 state park fee for each vehicle.

Bird Structure and Function
Theme: Bird structure – What’s your function?
Click here to download a program outline with learning objectives

Shortgrass Prairie
Theme: Colorado’s biodiversity depends on the shortgrass prairie
Click here to download a program outline with learning objectives

Colorado Water
Theme: Water is vital for survival in Northern Colorado’s dry climate
Click here to download a program outline with learning objectives

Custom Programs

Would you like us to design a program for you? If you are interested in a bird-related topic that is not already offered, we can help you design a program for your students or group. Programs can be unique and tailored to fit your class curriculum. They can be taught either in the classroom or as a field trip.
Dates: Any time of year
Time: Any time of day
Grades: 1 – adult
Duration: 1-2 hours
Maximum Number of Participants: Varies
Location: Varies
Programs can be designed to fit into multiple grade-level standards. Costs will vary.

In-Class Programs

Bird Conservancy’s in-class programs can be a follow-up program or pre-trip program for schools attending field trips, or a stand-alone program for schools that do not attend a field trip. In-class programs are designed to increase students’ understanding of science, math, geography, art and language arts by using birds as the context for learning.

In-class programs are available September through April. Sessions run 45 minutes to 1 hour and cost $4/student (unless stated otherwise). Sessions are limited to 30 students, but multiple sessions can be scheduled for the same day. A teacher or chaperone is required to be present during programs. Partial and full need-based scholarships may be available upon request. More information about each of the in-class programs can be found below.

Live Bird Banding Demo

We bring science to your school with a mobile bird banding station. Students have the opportunity to see how we catch wild birds and complete the banding process. The program duration can run between 1 and 3 hours, with 2-3 additional activities related to bird migration. This program must run in the morning and there must be adequate outdoor space available at the school. We cannot guarantee that we will catch birds, but we can guarantee fun!
Program fee: $10/student. Scholarships are not available for this program.
Recommended Grade Levels: K-12
Topics addressed: STEM careers, bird banding, scientific process, migration, adaptations

Model Bird Banding

Students become the bird banders in this hands-on activity. Students take turns moving through the bird banding process by extracting, measuring, identifying and banding model birds. These model birds have been created to match to proportions and field marks of real bird species so that students have the opportunity to work through the process of identifying their birds. This program is a great indoor alternative to the live banding demonstration.
Recommended grade levels: 3-9
Topics addressed: STEM careers, migration, bird banding, scientific process

Beautiful Birds

Students explore the unique features and adaptations of birds through observation and art. Students create a habitat drawing and make a model clay bird, and then have the opportunity to report out to their peers about where their bird lives, what it eats, and what adaptations help it survive in its habitat. Creativity is encouraged!
Recommended grade levels: 1-6
Topics addressed: adaptations, habitat, art, birds, niche

Feathers and Flight

Explore the wonders of feathers! Students will learn that feathers are unique to birds, gain insights into how feathers evolved, and explore the structure and function of feathers. Teachers then have the option for their students to further explore flight through an interactive online game or to get up and moving with a flight vs. ground movement relay race challenge.
Recommended grade levels: 4-8
Topics addressed: evolution, adaptations, birds, feathers, flight, observations, critical thinking

What Makes a Bird a Bird?

What makes birds unique from each other and from other animals? How are birds’ bodies similar to and different from our bodies? Do all birds sing the same songs and behave the same way? Do all birds live in trees? These are just some of the questions students will explore through dress-up, inquiry, and hands-on activities.
Recommended grade levels: PreK-1
Topics addressed: observations, inquiry, compare and contrast, types of animals

Colorado’s Unique Ecosystems and Birds

Students work together in small groups to learn about and design a drawing of one of Colorado’s seven ecosystems, including the unique plants, animals, and land features found there. Students then work to determine which bird belongs in each ecosystem based on the bird’s specific adaptations.
Recommended grade levels: 3-6
Topics addressed: ecosystems, habitat, adaptations, critical thinking, art, research skills

Migration Mapping

Students’ understanding of migratory patterns and geography will be enhanced while they discover the factors that drive bird migration. Students will use bird banding data to map the migratory routes of four bird species banded at the Bird Conservancy Banding Station.
Recommended grade levels: 3-8
Topics addressed: mapping, geography, teamwork, migration, habitat needs

Migration Data

Students will use critical thinking skills to determine the factors that drive bird migration. They will then work in groups to graph and analyze migratory data from four birds banded at the Bird Conservancy Banding Station.
Recommended grade levels: 5-9
Topics addressed: graphing, teamwork, migration, habitat needs, data analysis

Conservation Debate

Students become the key stakeholders of a conservation debate, stepping outside of their own perspectives to better understand the views of others. Students work in small groups to research and prepare a case that supports the stakeholder group that they represent. Students will also have the opportunity to form respectful rebuttals to other groups’ presentations.
Recommended grade levels: 9-12
Topics addressed: empathy, conservation, respect, research, critical thinking, habitat needs

Half-Day Bird Festival

Middle or high school students become role models for elementary school students in this program. Older students will be trained on leading bird festival activities and then lead the half-day festival for the younger students. Program fee is dependent on the number of participants.
100 participants or less: $3/student
100-199 participants: $2/student
200 or more participants: $1/student
Recommended grade levels: K-6 for the festival activities; 5-12 for the activity leaders
Topics addressed: STEM careers, bird banding, scientific process, migration, adaptations

For more information about programs:
Kelsey Mazur
Program & Volunteer Coordinator
(303) 659-4348 x10
[email protected]