The Story Behind The Riverline Field Guide:
The students worked on identifying any plants and animals they came upon, which helped them become comfortable using field guides. Students began thinking about which species of animals they would like to include in their field guide and what format they preferred. They also spent time learning about other ecological characteristics of these species, such as the ecosystems they are found in, food webs, invasive versus native species, and conservation concerns.
As they became more familiar with local species, students put together a list of commonly sighted, local animals to include in the field guide. They began to research the various species on their list using the Internet as well as other field guides and books. Additional lessons and discussion included how to conduct Internet research, identifying reliable sources of information, and putting information in the students’ own words.
During the warmer months, students went back out to the trails to try to photograph some of the wildlife on their list. This was difficult for the students, as anyone who has done wildlife photography understands, but they enjoyed the challenge, learning how to use the cameras, and going on nature walks. Around the same time, the students were studying drawing in the Valley program’s Art Class. They were able to use their art classes to draw some of the bird species in the field guide.
The Field Guide Project:
The Field Guide Project was led and organized by Valley STEM Coordinator Jackie O’Mara Knowles and was professionally assembled by Valley Art Teacher Julie Lamanna, who is also a graphic designer.
The project was completed in conjunction with the WNY Land Conservancy and funded through the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York Blue Fund.