How do we convince someone who has never seen a forest or a river that these things are worth protecting? How can we help a child discover the magic and beauty of a bird or a beetle when most of their time is spent indoors? Environmental education is an important part of our overall mission for conservation. After all, the more people there are who love and appreciate the natural world the more people there will be who are fighting to protect it. Teaching children and adults to admire, appreciate and enjoy the natural world is necessary for the continued preservation of wildlife and their habitat. Our goal is to bring the outdoors to the classroom and show students the wonders of the natural world for the benefit of all wildlife and human communities.
Additionally, study after study has shown the importance of spending time in nature for our physical, mental and emotional health. Ornitherapy – the practice of observing birds to calm the mind, to ground or center yourself, or to help focus your thoughts on the present moment – is the cornerstone of our education program. It is important for children to have these tools on hand from an early age to help them manage stress, improve concentration and grow up to be happy and healthy.
Our team has extensive professional experience in teaching and leading outdoor environmental education programs in the US, Canada, Panama, Ecuador and Dominican Republic. Even more so, we are passionate about sharing the natural world with others, through our education program and through our tours. We feel it is essential to start getting children into nature from a young age, as children are naturally curious about the world around them and hope to blossom a lifelong love of nature and wildlife in many of the students we reach.
Through our Junior Naturalist Program, we are currently working with schools in Panama City, offering integrated natural science programs that follow the educational standards set forth by the schools. Activities we offer include classroom visits with live birds and hands-on, interactive activities, field trips to national parks, ornitherapy and art components such as sketching and individual reflection.
DIGITAL LEARNING: BRINGING NATURE INTO THE CLASSROOM
Starting in 2020, Whitehawk expanded its Junior Naturalists program to include digital-based distance education. Our programs provide engaging, inquiry-based learning for students, integrating science and environmental concepts into everyday learning, using birds as a focus. Our program includes interactive, colorful presentations, question & answer sessions, a “meet and greet” with a live raptor. Some activities include extensions that students can complete on their own and/or are complemented with nature sounds, pictures and videos of wild scenes, and story-telling. We also offer special seasonal programs featuring bird migration, and we continue to develop new programs to engage audiences of all ages and learning levels.
Our digital programs are now available to teachers and educators worldwide, and are available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Contact us for more information and to book your classroom sessions.
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION RESOURCES
Along with our mission for environmental education, we have also developed fun and informative resources including quizzes, coloring pages, infographics and word games. These available to teachers, educators, parents and others interested, and are free for non-commerical use. Test your knowledge about birds and wildlife from around the world, color a rainbow-colored toucan, or learn something new with a fun infographic and so much more! Click on the button below to access our environmental education resources.
MEET OUR EDUCATION BIRDS
Whitehawk’s environmental education ambassadors, a team of non-releasable birds of prey, enhance our education programs by allowing us to offer a “beak-to-nose” experience for the students and teachers with live raptors. Our birds are non-releasable due to permanent injury or other cause, and their calm demeanor makes them some of the best teachers we have! In every Junior Naturalist Program we run, we bring the birds to the school as a part of the follow up session. The opportunity to see wild birds up close provides an excellent chance to review the main concepts and themes we covered in each program and gives an appreciation for these beautiful animals and hopefully sparks interest in conserving nature and protecting birds and their environments.