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Birding Magazine Online: How High School Ornithology Can Save the World

Jeff Manker is a man with a mission. He believes that teaching ornithology to high school students is the best way to bring more birders into the fold and to instill a conservation and naturalist ethic in the next generation. And he has the track record to back that up.

In an essay in the April issue of Birding magazine, Manker lays out his vision for a world in which ornithology and bird study is a popular elective in high schools across the US and Canada, reaching thousands of students who then go on to have, at least, a greater appreciation for the natural world around them.

I think ornithology can save the world because I interact with young people who are on the cusp of figuring out who they are and what they want to do. They can become conservation-minded citizens. I am convinced that high school ornithology is an excellent way to achieve that goal.

Public high school students in Jeff R. Manker’s year-long ornithology class study American Robins near the top of a redwood tree. Photo by Jeff R. Manker.

Jeff Manker’s success is undeniable, but he is currently teaches one of only two high school ornithology courses in the United States. That needs to change. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of high school science teachers in the US and Canada who could potentially offer a course like this. With Jeff’s encouragement and guidance, perhaps they might.

With that in mind, we at the ABA are making this article freely available to anyone who wants it. We encourage birders to spread it around to high school teachers or high school students who might not otherwise see it. We would love to see high school ornithology offered at hundreds of schools across the ABA Area and perhaps Jeff Manker’s essay can be the spark.

You can find it here.

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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
Nate Swick

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