Students Swept Up In Swirling Swifts!
By Karen Hussey, SOLC Land Steward
This fall students at Hedrick School in Medford got a chance to meet their hidden schoolmates thanks to a partnership between Southern Oregon Land Conservancy and Rogue Valley Audubon Society. Hedrick Middle School’s chimney is one of Oregon’s most important migratory stops for the Vaux’s Swift, an almost always airborne bird that breeds in the greater Pacific Northwest and winters as far south as Venezuela.
With the help of our intern Emily Olsen and four core school teachers, SOLC’s Land Steward, Karen Hussey, created a swift education program at the school. One hundred and fifty 7th graders learned about swifts through class presentations and custom designed curriculum in science, math, English, and social studies. Students participated in a citizen science program to count the swifts as they flew into the chimney each night and they welcomed the greater community for the first ever Swift Migration Carnival.
Young and old enjoyed food, games, face-painting, and of course the amazing spectacle of thousands of swifts swirling into the chimney! The project was generously funded by Rogue Valley Audubon Society. If you run into one of these students ask them how to play Swift Migration Hopscotch!
Check out allaboutbirds.org/guide/Vauxs_Swift/overview to learn more about these incredibly interesting birds!
Banner image: Swift Migration Carnival Night courtesy of Mail Tribune.