The lack of environmental education in many primary and secondary school systems is likely due to overloaded school curricula, lack of funds, large classroom sizes, and other contributing factors. Through the integration of hands-on activities following the training of teachers, we can improve the impact of environmental education. Our goals in this study were to (1) develop a new kit-based, hands-on, experiential wildlife curriculum for grades K–12, focused on wild birds; (2) train educators on the curriculum through a professional development workshop; and (3) evaluate participants on their affinities for, perceptions of, and attitudes toward wildlife and birds. The results suggested that the workshop was minimally effective in influencing positive responses or improvement in perceived knowledge about birds, though in general the educators came into the workshop with positive perceptions and attitudes toward wildlife. Participants emphasized in their responses the importance of outdoor lessons and the potential for integrating citizen science in the classroom. Opportunities such as this can arm teachers with tools for the classroom and create stewards of the environment and conservationists through hands-on activities in field techniques and real-world research.
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Vol. 82 • No. 1