Kelly Schaeffer

Education Specialist

Expertise

Teaching Bird ID • Incorporating Inquiry Practices Into Education • Facilitating Citizen Science With Children • Hands-On Education Practices

I work with the Lab’s K-12 Education team to reach educators across North America and help them connect kids to nature and build science skills while fostering a lifelong passion for birds. Through fun, hands-on curricula, and online and in-person professional development, I support educators in bringing the power of citizen-science and inquiry into their classrooms. Birds are everywhere and everyone has the power to help us understand and protect them. Kids are essential to this understanding, now and in the future.

In college I found myself working on a project studying Wood Thrush, and I fell in love with spending my days in the woods, catching intimate glimpses into the life of birds. From there I caught the birding bug, traveling around the US and migrating to the Caribbean to work as a research assistant studying birds. While working on a project studying hummingbirds in Trinidad, I was inspired to help others build the same connections to science and nature that have so enriched my life.

I shifted my focus to environmental education, working at the Delaware Nature Society and the International Crane Foundation, and sharing my love of birds and passion for conservation. After completing my M.S., I was lucky enough to join the K-12 Education team and work with a dedicated group of wonderful people to bring birds and citizen-science to classrooms across the US.

Education

M.S., Natural Resources: Environmental Education/Interpretation, University of Wisconsin, Steven’s Point
B.S., Wildlife Conservation, University of Delaware
B.S., Entomology, University of Delaware

Spark Moment

The first time I held a wild bird, it was dying. It had been struck by a car and I almost stepped on it walking to the bus stop. I scooped it up in my hands and ran home, begging my Mom to take it to the nearby rescue. I still remember the shine of its dark eyes and the push of its breathing. It was like holding a whole, living world in my hands. Sadly, the bird, a White-throated Sparrow, didn’t survive, but the interest it sparked in me did. That interest grew by my mother’s side at our backyard birdfeeder, as I counted robins every spring, and when my Girl Scout leader took me on my first bird walk.

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