Grade 1 students at Hawkwood School made real life connections as to how they can make a difference when a representative and special guest from Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation (AIWC) came to visit in June 2016.
In anticipation of AIWC’s visit, students wrote detailed reports on Canadian species, researching the animal’s biology and the threats that could affect them. The Grade 1 hallway was covered in drawings of the species that had been researched. Sitting outside the classroom was a balloon animal – made into the shape of a bald eagle!
Students could not wait to learn all about how animals are rescued. Many of the animals at the AIWC centre are babies and need lots of special attention. Everyone was astonished to learn how some young animals, especially birds, have to be fed every 15 minutes.
Meeting the special guest, Griffin, a red-tailed hawk, was the highlight of AIWC’s visit to the school.
Griffin came to AIWC in 2013 with a head injury, which was likely sustained in a collision with a car. The accident left him blind in one eye and very docile, so he was not a candidate to be returned to the wild, but he has become a great educational ambassador. Griffin is a striking bird, with unusual, darkly tinged plumage. In the mornings he flies to his perch in the lofty ceiling of AIWC and entertains staff and volunteers with his morning routine of wing stretches and little hops, while uttering what one volunteer described as “pterodactyl” shrieks. He is fed a diet of mice.
Seeing Griffin was an eye-opening experience and it was clear that the students connected with him.
Following the wildlife rescue programs the five Grade 1 classes presented AIWC with a cheque for $622.45 which was donated to help care for and rehabilitate Alberta’s injured wildlife. Students worked very hard to raise the donation money by doing extra chores for parents and neighbours and collecting bottles and cans.
It was wonderful to see students and teachers connect with local animals and become inspired to help wildlife any way they can. The Grade 1 students of Hawkwood School are a perfect example of how even small people can make a big difference.