In February 2002, we visited Centennial Public School with our female peregrine falcon "Qetesh". Below are two drawings from students who attended the presentations, and a letter from the school's principal:
This note is to let you know that, according to two very experienced teachers here, the recent presentation in our school on environmental issues and the peregrine falcon, were "the best I've seen in a long time, with lots of good information" and "superb; the questions were age-appropriate and the presentation allowed good follow-up activities. The manuals he left are great."
The presenter, Mark Nash, was very skilled in his approach. Pupils were kept engaged, not just by a beautiful bird, but by the manner in which he presented the information. Through careful questioning, he was able to draw on their prior knowledge to develop new insights. He was, the teachers noted, "engaging, dynamic and personable."
The pupils were, of course, very excited to see a wild predator so close. Something I am excited about (in addition to having a live peregrine in my school) is the clear connection between the information presented and the Ontario Curriculum. My Grade 3 teacher chatted with me about the tie-in to what she is addressing in her Plants unit regarding the widespread effects of pesticides on plants, the lingering impact of DDT, and pollution in general. She even saw a possibility for cross-reference to her Physical Education and Health program, in which she addresses the issue of the relationship between healthy vegetation and our health. The Grade 4 teachers found they can relate this event tot heir lessons on Habitats and their importance in maintaining life, while the Grade 6 teacher will use the materials left as a part of the unit on Diversity of Living Things and the Food Chain. You managed to hit a lot of topics with one bird and one knowledgeable presenter!
Thank you for including our school on your "tour" this year. I hope we can be included again in the future. It was an exceptional opportunity for pupils to see, up close, a rare bird which is starting to come back from the edge of extinction only because of intense, directed efforts. What a lesson for them.
I shall be sending a letter to the sponsors of the presentation at our school: the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, letting them know how beneficial this was.
All of the very best to you and your group in the future. I most highly recommend that this presentation be made in every school in Ontario! It is that relevant, and that important.
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