Glenwood Springs school encourages learning to take flight
Falconer visit assembly highlights week of students and staff
Benjamin Cortez is a third grader at Two Rivers Community School and said he can see himself becoming a falconer one day, and although the name he’d give his bird would depend on its characteristics, the first name that came to his mind when asked was “Jeff.”
Ben Canady, a founding member of Two Rivers and middle school teacher at the school, organized for falconer Paul Kaufman to visit the school for an assembly last week. Canady wrote the “Birds of prey” unit back in 2003 when he was still teaching second and third grade. Canady said since the school tries to arrange its curriculum around a PBL perspective, place based learning, COVID-19 restrictions have made this past year particularly difficult.
The entire school gathered for the assembly in the front parking lot where students learned about falcon rehabilitation and got to view a Cooper’s hawk and sharp-shinned hawk.
Patrick Jewett, a sixth grader, said he enjoyed the presentation but was disappointed that the liability restrictions Kaufman had in place for safety reasons didn’t allow him an up close and personal look at the falcons.
“But I asked if the falcon could come on my cast and he said no,” Jewett said.
Another notable part of the presentation was when Kaufman brought out the Sharp-Shinned Hawk and almost immediately a crow approached a nearby tree and started cawing loudly. Kaufman said this type of falcon guards its food very closely because crows are always looking to come in and take it from them.
Elliot Woolley, a third grader, said she was familiar with this dynamic between the falcons and crows prior to the presentation.
“The crows are scavengers and they also take a lot of stuff from birds and I know that because before, in kindergarten, we also learned about birds of prey,” Woolley said.
She also added that owls are her favorite birds of prey and if she had one of her own someday she would name it Owen.
“I just like a lot of (birds of prey) especially owls. I’ve loved owls ever since I was little. Because I used to go to my babysitter’s house she had a bunch of owls hanging out and I just love them a lot,” Woolley said.
Canady said Two Rivers Community School is always trying to make learning as experiential as possible for its students. The pandemic has limited their capacity of what they’ve been able to put together curriculum-wise for the students, but they’re always looking for COVID-19 friendly ways to help make lesson plans more memorable.
“I really just think that this is a beautiful metaphor because we do feel kind of cooped up. So this should be a really neat symbolic option to see something they’ve been studying and have a firsthand experience.”
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Danna Cuc Valenzuela and Logan Averill are second graders at Riverview School and have been friends since preschool, so they’re pretty familiar with what’s behind each other’s masks.