AU raptor program, OES teachers team up
by Staff Reports
Aug 11, 2010 | 1284 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Oakman Elementary School teachers pose with Roy Crowe, an official with Auburn University’s Southeastern Raptor Center, who is working with the educators to develop science lessons for 3rd grade students. (Photo Special to the Eagle)
Oakman Elementary School teachers pose with Roy Crowe, an official with Auburn University’s Southeastern Raptor Center, who is working with the educators to develop science lessons for 3rd grade students. (Photo Special to the Eagle)
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Those who have witnessed pregame activities at an Auburn University football game know about the eagles' flight from the top of Jordan-Hare Stadium to the 50-yard line. However, these birds do much more in the realm of education.

Oakman Elementary School third-grade teachers Jenny Sandlin, Tracy Ferguson and Lori Sanford are working with Roy Crowe at AU's Southeastern Raptor Center to develop science lessons by teachers for teachers. This stems from a presentation Sandlin observed while at the Teachers Conservation Conference she attended in Tuscaloosa over the summer. This workshop focused on the processes of harvesting, replanting and processing of trees into lumber, paper and wood chips. Also featured was the preservation of wildlife. This is where the raptors come into play.

At the conference, the Southeastern Raptor Program presented their raptors at the workshop. Being an Auburn alumnus, Sandlin knew about the raptor program but never thought about having its representatives present an educational program at Oakman Elementary.

When Sandlin called the raptor center, she spoke to Roy Crowe, the handler for the raptors. They talked about a project that he was working on related to bird bones and structures.

Unfortunately, the teacher that Crowe was working with left the university, leaving his project in limbo. Sandlin thought it would be a great opportunity to include her co-workers, so she "volunteered" them to help Crowe with his project.

The project consists of hands-on lessons that Crowe has created that can be used in conjunction with distance learning. Crowe has created many lessons related to bones, muscles, joints and other anatomical components that correlate with Alabama course of study for third grade teachers. "We are taking his format and making it teacher friendly. When we finish the project, teachers will be able to pull the lesson, present it, and students use hands on projects to better understanding what it is they are learning. I thought this project would be great for my co-teacher, Lori Sanford who changed grade levels last year and was unable to complete her second year of AMSTI training due to funding cuts. This project will allow her to have materials to teach her Human Body module."

Sandlin, Ferguson, and Sanford drove to Auburn and spent most of the day looking, talking about and processing the information that Crowe gave them. They were also able to see the raptors that are used in the program. The raptors are not ordinary raptors. They cannot be released into the wild due to life altering injuries (like the red tailed hawk with a missing eye). They are beautiful birds that teach many lessons.

"We are very excited to work with Mr. Crowe in his project and hope that it will be a great resource for not only teachers in our state but other states as well," Sandlin said.

The Auburn graduate also learned what became of the golden eagle she watched at football games while she was earning her degree at the university.

"I always wondered what happened to Tiger, the golden eagle that flew the stadium when I was in college. Well, she lives at the Raptor Center and is sassy as ever. It was really great that my friends could see her," Sandlin said. "War Eagle!"