by Denny Olson

After 14 presentations (and the planning and research for each) in late February and March, (including the FAS monthly program on Bird Intelligence) and 20 hours of volunteer work in OSNA, I looked at the April schedule. I only had the FAS Board and public meetings, my STEAM Alliance Board meeting, 3 meetings with schools about our 7-8th grade Bird Education programming, our Education Committee meeting to write the Education Strategic Plan for 2022-23, a presentation to Flathead Conservation District to receive a grant for 30 new binoculars, a Smith Valley School presentation and a field trip with 7th graders a week later, another field trip with Heritage School, and the all-day Arbor Day educational event for 3rd-graders. Considering that these kinds of events are actually fun for me, April looked reasonable.

But then, finding out that at least 3 and probably 4 schools had decided to do our Bird Education 4-Unit Sequence starting next fall, and receiving a 4th-grade “water trunk” request from a private school, I realized the five trunks needed for those Units had to be done sooner rather than later. So, I researched, planned and found all the materials, and produced five (5!) new educational trunks (River Bottom Bird Songs and Ospreys, Spring Waterfowl Migrations, Winter Birds of Prey, Wetland Kids! for 4 -6 grades, and “I’m Made of Water” for grades 6 – 12) They contain 3 new scripted PowerPoints, 38 activities and housekeeping info in binders, and 4 seasonal field trips.

I’m starting May 1 with an open-to-the-public birding field trip, and so far in the rest of the month have a for-credit teacher’s workshop (with planning and research, of course) on our Bird Ed. Program, helping our Science Fair Award winner with a PowerPoint presentation of his winning project at our monthly FAS meeting, getting all of our FAS teacher / student offerings onto the STEAM website, the all-day Forestry Expo event, presentations to a PEO women’s group, and a field trip with Evergreen 8th graders — on the docket. And May is when I’ll be doing most of the shooting, editing and production of our new “Natives Rule!” video. In my world it’s what is not on the schedule yet that makes planning interesting. Woo-hoo!