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Youth Education Year in Review

2013 was another busy year for the Youth Education Committee (YEC) of Eastside Audubon.

By Mary Britton-Simmons

Our records show that we worked (and played) with 1,100+ children and 900 adults.

Youth Education Committee Members, by Mick ThompsonClassrooms Everywhere

Elementary school children examined feathers with magnifying glasses, listened attentively to bird songs, described beaks in detail and flapped their “wings” to try to beat a hummingbird. Middle school students learned how to identify birds and how to use binoculars. They were excited to practice their new skills on bird walks.

Our newly formed Secondary Committee is focusing its attention on our goal of reaching out to high school students. Our work with youth goes beyond the classroom to locations such as REI, Lewis Creek Park Nature Center, and Peter Kirk Summer Camp.

Walks and Crafts

During the year, we hosted five birding walks for families, in Duvall, Issaquah, Kirkland, and Redmond. Led by expert EAS birders, the walks were a popular way to spend a Saturday morning.

Families also attended festivals where the YEC hosted booths. A particular favorite is always Molbak’s Fall Festival. Attracted by the Red-tailed Hawk perched on our table, children visit our booth to make bird feeders and learn more about their feathered friends.

Investing in Future Conservationists

Thanks in part to the generosity of an EAS member who prefers to remain anonymous, we were able to grant two college scholarships to high school students whose dedication to the environment was evident.

Students are not the only recipients of awards. Grants to teachers are also available through the YEC. This year we awarded funds for grow lights to teachers at Cottage Lake Elementary.

And last but never least, one of our most important programs: camp scholarships. Thanks to the generosity of EAS members several years ago, a program was established to send low-income middle-school students to environmental summer camps. This year a foster child from a Lake Washington middle school went to Call of the North Cascades, a YMCA camp where boys hiked in the Cascades and swam in Ross Lake.

Youth Education Volunteers

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of YEC members: Jill Keeney, Margaret Lie, Diane Crestanello, Jim and Shirlee Hall, Tora Roksvog, Candy Allen, Margie Huff, Barbara Picat, Moira Ohl, Kim Brunskill, Margaret Snell, Susan Carlson, and Mary Britton-Simmons.

Photo: (L to R) Committee members Jill Keeney, Mary Britton-Simmons, Shirlee Hall, and Jim Hall. By Mick Thompson.

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The mission of Eastside Audubon is to protect, preserve and enhance natural ecosystems and our communities for the benefit of birds, other wildlife and people.