Eva Carlston Academy
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Self Guided Aviary Tour

What does it take to make us happy in these difficult times? 

One answer, it turns out, is being in nature and, more specifically, birdwatching. Studies have shown that birdwatching and being outdoors offer a consistent boost to helping us feel much happier in ourselves.

With one of the only two aviaries in the U.S. just down the road from Eva Carlston, we didn’t need reminding of how lucky we are with our access to nature’s joys. So once again, we set off to visit our feathered friends. 

On our last trip to the aviary, Eva Carlston students learned how to start a nature journal. The journals allow students to document observations and help them delve into nature in a deeper way.  It’s a place to record ideas, questions, and thoughts about the world that surrounds you.

This week our girls had an opportunity to venture out into the gardens of Tracy Aviary for a self-guided treasure hunt, as well as using the nature journals they created.

The schedule for the morning included a secret plant scavenger hunt, observing birds feeding and plenty of time to explore their favorite feathered friends.

Below are a few of the assigned activities the girls completed:

Activities For Eva Carlston Students

Sound map

Sound maps use pictures, shapes, or words to show the relative locations of the sounds around you. Students draw an X to represent their location and then draw what they hear around them. Afterwards they present the sound map to classmates and describe what they heard and where the sounds came from to compare and contrast their observations with that of others. It’s amazing how two people in the same place can observe such different things!

Secret Plant scavenger hunt

Students were asked to find a plant in the gardens that they liked and draw a picture of it, or part of the plant, with as much detail as possible and without letting their classmates see their work. Once done they traded plant pictures with a partner and the scavenger hunt began as they tried to figure out which plant the partner drew. Because it was chilly, the girls went into the Rainforest to pick their plants. However, there are over fifty different plants and over 50 free-flying birds in there so it was not an easy challenge.

Bird Feeder surveys

Lots of wild birds visit the Aviary for easily accessible food, especially when the cold weather arrives. For this task the students were asked to find a comfy spot where they could watch the bird feeders without disturbing the birds. Students were asked to note colors, behavior, and other details so that they could look in the bird ID booklet to identify the bird. They recorded the data and drew pictures of the birds in their nature journals and kept track of the types of birds they saw and how many came and went from the feeders.


  1. Anna says:

    I volunteered at the aviary! Loved it

    1. Eva Carlston says:

      Thank you! Tracy Aviary is just one of our partners. We’ve expanded and our students get to volunteer for a number of community organizations.

  2. Sarah says:

    Be sure to check out the Andean Condor if you visit the aviary. So cool.

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