Mission: Education

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Education

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers lifelong opportunities for learning about, enjoying, and conserving birds. People of all ages participate in our projects and courses in classrooms, homes, and neighborhoods around the world.

Here at the Cornell Lab’s Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity, we engage hundreds of students in research, preparing our future leaders in science and conservation. In locations around the world, we lead workshops to train international colleagues in the latest techniques to conserve natural habitats and biodiversity.

Whether you are a beginning bird watcher or a seasoned expert, we invite you to join us in discovering more about birds and nature.

Project Highlights

BirdSleuth

Students become scientists with the BirdSleuth curriculum. They observe birds, ask questions, and conduct investigations to seek answers. They can publish their research in BirdSleuth Investigator and help scientists by contributing their bird observations to the Cornell Lab’s citizen-science projects. BirdSleuth students benefit from spending time outdoors, connecting with nature, and learning how they can make a difference.

Crossing Boundaries

Crossing Boundaries

Crossing Boundaries students in middle school and high school use high-tech tools to explore conservation issues. With Google Earth they predict how landscape changes might affect plants and animals. Using geographic information systems (GIS), they try to select the best location for a preserve in the Amazon. Students also conduct field studies and use GPS to accurately locate their field data on maps and satellite imagery of their study site.

Celebrate Urban Birds

Celebrate Urban Birds is a bilingual project focused on underserved urban and rural communities. Participants watch for 10 minutes and report on the presence or absence of 16 species of birds. The project also assesses the value of green spaces for birds. Celebrate Urban Birds partners with thousands of community groups to distribute educational kits in English and Spanish, and to support local bird, habitat, and art events with mini-grants.

Student Research at the Cornell Lab

We offer Cornell undergraduate and graduate students a wealth of stimulating project and a productive environment for postdoctoral scholars. The Cornell Lab is a nonacademic unit and does not award academic degrees, but our faculty regularly advise students through their joint appointments with Cornell University.

Training for Teachers

Our BirdSleuth curriculum workshops help middle school teachers spark student interest in science by exploring intriguing questions related to birds. We offer in-person and customized workshops as well as online professional development. Our self-paced online course, Integrating Inquiry for Educators: Developing Student Science Practices demystifies inquiry and scientific investigation and makes it fun, using outdoor observations and citizen-science participation.

Sound Recording Workshops

Sound Recording WorkshopThe Lab’s Macaulay Library leads recording workshops to teach state-of-the-art techniques for recording the sounds and behavior of animals in the wild. Participants learn through daily field recording sessions, coupled with lectures and demonstrations from our skilled staff. In collaboration the Cornell Lab’s Conservation Program, we also conduct capacity-building workshops in developing nations.

Sound Analysis Workshops

To help scientists use the latest technologies to study the sounds of wildlife, we offer professional workshops twice per year at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York, and occasionally at other sites in the United States and abroad. Our workshops have been attended by participants from more than 30 countries. If you’re interested in attending please contact Liz Rowland, edr6@cornell.edu.

Bird Academy

Explore free and premium content on topics ranging from bird identification to bird song and behavior. Bird Academy offers new ways to learn about the world of birds through courses, videos, interactives, puzzles, quizzes and more. Whether you’re in the mood for browsing videos of wild bird behavior or ready to dive into learning all the duck species in your area, Bird Academy is here to help.

Ornithology: Comprehensive Bird Biology

Learn bird biology at your own pace from anywhere in the world with the Cornell Lab’s comprehensive ornithology course. Online course materials from Bird Academy augment the Handbook of Bird Biology textbook, with custom media elements and rigorous quizzes on each chapter of the textbook. Comparable to an introductory university level course in ornithology, this course is well suited for anyone with a serious interest in learning more about birds.

Spring Field Ornithology

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned birder, you can take your bird ID skills to the next level with this popular eight-week course. Select from lectures in person or online, weekend outings, and special overnight trips to birding hotspots. Topics covered include identification tips, breeding bird biology, bird song, migration, and much more. .

Sound Recording Workshops

Sound Recording WorkshopThe Lab’s Macaulay Library leads recording workshops to teach state-of-the-art techniques for recording the sounds and behavior of animals in the wild. Participants learn through daily field recording sessions, coupled with lectures and demonstrations from our skilled staff. In collaboration the Cornell Lab’s Conservation Program, we also conduct capacity-building workshops in developing nations.

The Birds of North America

Birds of North AmericaThe Birds of North America is the preeminent source of life history information for more than 750 bird species that breed in the United States and Canada. This comprehensive resource is authored by experts on each species. Each species account includes information on systematics, distribution, identification, behavior, breeding biology, and conservation along with photos, audio, and video. It is maintained by the Cornell Lab in partnership with the American Ornithological Society.

Neotropical Birds

Neotropical Birds is an innovative collaboration of researchers, birders, and the conservation community to create an authoritative online resource with life histories of Neotropical birds from Mexico and the Caribbean to South America. Learn more about birds south of the border and consider contributing your own information, sounds, video, or translations.

Learning with Nature Center Exhibits

Experts at the Cornell Lab design interactive exhibits for nature centers, museums, and wildlife refuges to help visitors learn about bird and animal sounds using our Raven sound analysis software. With our eBird Trail Tracker kiosk, you can browse bird photos and facts, see what’s been reported in the area and submit your own observations.

Online Resources for Learning

One way we fulfill our mission to inform the world about birds is by creating rich web resources. Our free All About Birds species guide provides life-history details, photos, sounds, and videos for nearly 600 North American species. All About Birds also offers bird-feeding tips, advice on where to go birding, videos and interactive tutorials on bird identification, and online versions of our member magazine, Living Bird.

A self-paced online tutorial. Learn to ID birds by size and shape
Birds of North America Online, ultimate source for bird info, join for $5/month
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