The Centre’s Outreach Program is an essential component of our efforts to further the future of conservation efforts worldwide.
Why? Well, this is due to the fact that the children of today will be the policy makers and the conservationists of tomorrow!
We owe our children a world to inherit that is as full of the diversity of life as we have known. To offer them anything less, is to rob them of the benefits of the very richness of life itself. This is something that simply cannot be replaced. Without educational wildlife demonstrations to enlighten children with the beauty, the wonder and the importance of wildlife, what is there to ensure that the legacy of our worlds biodiversity will endure?
Scientific studies have proven that there is no better way to reach people in a manner that is so lasting, that impresses the importance of wildlife conservation in such a indelible and dynamic way, as through live animal educational demonstrations! There is just no substitute for experiencing animals first hand.
Students of all ages benefit greatly in a way that no other educational method offers. They receive the opportunity to see live birds of prey and bats up close, and to learn fascinating details about their natural lives. We are creating memories and imparting knowledge that will last a lifetime, and thus make a difference.
Our presentations are very interactive. Students are given the chance to actually touch (and sometimes feed) an owl or falcon. All questions are welcomed (sometimes this depends on the audience and the type of question presented). We are able to allow for additional time to answer questions.
The number of animals that we bring to a school is flexible. Our typical format is to bring a hawk, a falcon, two species of owls and three species of bats. Other options include only birds of prey or only bats. There is also a nocturnal option, which includes only owls and bats. Limiting the number of animals we bring to a school allows us to increase the amount of educational content and to direct our focus on specific topics.
Not surprisingly, the animals used in presentations vary depending upon a number of factors. Some of the species that we use in our programs include: Swainson’s Hawks, Ferruginous Hawks, Lanner Falcons, Peregrine Falcons, Great Horned Owls, Eurasian Eagle Owls, Snowy Owls, Tawny Owls, Vampire Bats, Jamaican Fruit Bats, and Egyptian Fruit Bats. The Centre works with many different species, so new animals are added to our Outreach Programs on a regular basis.
Presentations can vary in length from as little as twenty minutes to over two hours. Because they are not scripted, we can customize the content to fit a school’s curriculum or schedule. Our setup time is very short, and our only requirements are adequate space for the animals to feel secure and some table space on which to place equipment. We use a projector (provided by us), and we do bring our own computers too when needed. We always discuss any necessary details well in advance of our visit.
We feel that having two classes attend a presentation is an ideal audience size when the presentation is conducted in a school setting. It allows for more interaction by each student and also helps ensure that the children’s attention is maintained. However we are more than willing to present to a larger audience when it is better for scheduling and budgetary reasons. As with all of the Centre’s programs, there is no extra cost for additional presentations during a single visit. Once we arrive at a school we are willing to provide up to three presentations during an afternoon. In addition, if we visit an educational establishment more than once during the same year, we offer discounted rates for each additional visit. All proceeds go directly towards the Centre's wildlife conservations efforts.
The topics we discuss during our presentations are completely customizable. Typically we would tailor the content to suit the environmental curriculum of the grade level that will be attending. In the event that a mix of grades attend the presentation, we adjust to suit the attendees as a whole.
The following is how we compliment the different grades that we feel are best suited to our program:
We view this as an introduction to specialized species and animals in general. Students are given the chance to see and touch these amazing animals up close, which helps develop a greater interest in all living things and leaves an lasting impression that will last throughout the rest of their lives. We discuss basic facts about birds of prey and bats, such as what birds of prey eat and that bats are the only mammals capable of flight.
Another option is what we call a “walkthrough”. This essentially means that a class is allowed to line up and touch an owl while looking at bats and a falcon. This option saves time because the students do not have to be seated, which allows for additional time to be devoted to more advanced grade levels during the same visit.
We generally advise that presentations be no longer than one period for grade 2 students, otherwise their attention can easily be lost, which distracts other students and we wish to avoid frightening the animals. As with all of our presentations, if there are any special subjects that a teacher would like us to address, we will gladly do our best to accommodate this. We always encourage any teacher who is booking a presentation to contact us and discuss the subject matter of the presentation before our visit.
Aside from discussing the basic adaptations that make birds of prey and bats unique, we also focus on their importance to ecosystems, for example the vital role bats play in consuming insects here in Ontario. We also discuss the many varied habitats that these groups of animals can be found in; for example Snowy Owls in the arctic and bats in the Amazon rainforest.
During the presentation, students are encouraged to line up at the end of the presentation and touch an owl. At this age, students are bursting with questions, and we are very happy to answer as many as possible! In some cases we actually quiz the students about the animals that we are discussing. This interactivity helps children absorb and comprehend the facts about these amazing animals.
We prefer to have at least one period with grade 4 students. In many cases two periods is the preferable option. We are easily able to fill one hour with content.
Another option unique to grade 4 is our medieval falconry presentation. The topics we discuss include; the history of falconry, its importance to Europeans during the middle ages, why falconry was practiced, which birds were used by what classes of people during that period, how birds were caught in medieval times and the steps involved in their training. This can be combined with a condensed version of our normal environmentally themed presentation as well.
As with all of our presentations, if there are any special subjects that a teacher would like us to address, we will gladly accommodate do our best to accommodate this. We always encourage any teacher who is booking a presentation to contact us and discuss the subject matter of the presentation before our visit.
Birds of prey and bats provide a wonderful opportunity to discuss biodiversity among living things. Whether it be eagles that hunt monkeys and sloths in the Amazon or the giant bats known as flying foxes (Pteropus) in the South Pacific islands. The diversity among these two groups of animals alone is truly breathtaking. Our grade 6 presentation discusses the diversity among these groups, and this helps inspire students to further investigate biodiversity among all living organisms.
We also discuss the amazing biodiversity of native Ontario species. Many students are surprised to learn that there are 27 species of birds of prey and 8 species of bats native to our province. In addition, we discuss the different classes, orders, and families that these animals are taxonomically placed into.
Special adaptations is another subject that we delve into during this presentation. Of course all birds of prey and bats are specialized, but we discuss the adaptations unique to specific groups and individual species. For example, the differences between falcons, hawks and owls or how Vampire Bats are perfectly adapted to their very unique food source. This is a fascinating subject, and students truly respond to learning about these incredibly specialized species.
Of course students are encouraged to ask questions and are also allowed to touch some of the animals. Being able to touch an owl, for example really helps students understand just how unique these animals truly are.
We feel that 60 minutes or more is best for grade 6 students. This allows us to go into greater detail and answer more questions during the presentation. However, we can fit into one period, or even fill two hours, depending upon what works best for a particular school’s schedule.
As with all of our presentations, if there are any special subjects that a teacher would like us to address, we will gladly do our best to accommodate this. We always encourage any teacher who is booking a presentation to contact us and discuss the subject matter of the presentation before our visit.
In this presentation we begin to introduce conservation issues facing these animals, such as habitat loss and climate change. Although not all species of birds of prey and bats are classified as endangered, both groups have suffered serious population declines throughout most of the world. We touch on some of the causes of this decline, in addition to discussing how changes in ecosystems affect specialized species of animals more rapidly and profoundly than more adaptable species.
We also discuss the vital role that these animals have in ecosystems throughout the world; for example how different species of bats play have multiple roles in rainforest ecosystems. In addition, we explain how much natural habitat is required for these animals to survive, including the incredible enormous of habitat that an apex predator, such as most bird of prey species, actually require to survive as a species.
It’s very easy for older students to become somewhat jaded about the world they live in. Our presentation helps inspire a greater interest and understanding of some of the issues facing not only these groups of animals, but also the planet as a whole, and it also explains how vital biodiversity is to our planet’s health as well as our own!
Another benefit of our presentation is that students get to interact with the animals, including being encouraged to touch (and sometimes even feed) an owl for example. And of course, we are always happy to answer questions. Although, by this age, many students are “too cool” to ask, our experience has shown that by the end of the presentation many students are very excited to ask questions. After the main presentation has concluded, we are happy to stay until every student has had a chance to ask any questions he or she may have. We feel that learning about apex predators, such as birds of prey, and “indicator” species, such as bats, allows students to really appreciate how fragile and complex our global biosphere truly is.
Although some students may expect to be bored by a presentation that lasts over 60 minutes, we have found that this rarely happens with our programs. We definitely prefer to have a minimum of one hour when presenting to advanced students, such as in grade 7. However we can fit into a single period, or even fill two hours, depending upon what works best for a particular school’s schedule.
As with all of our presentations, if there are any special subjects that a teacher would like us to address, we will gladly do our best to accommodate it. We always encourage any teacher who is booking a presentation to contact us and discuss the subject matter of the presentation before our visit.
We are VERY flexible with our programs, and are more than willing to combine grade levels into one larger presentation should this better suit a school’s budget and schedule. We view our programs as a tool and resource for teachers, so we will do our very best to accommodate whatever subject or schedule assists teachers the most in educating their students.
Please contact us for more information about our elementary school programs, pricing options, availability, and references.
If you have found an injured bird of prey (hawk, falcon, owl, etc.), contact the Centre and our experienced staff can assist in determining what steps should be taken to ensure the bird receives the best possible care.
Havelock, Ontario K0L 1Z0
Telephone : +1 705 778 5273
Email : staff