Annual Birding Trip

Written by Natalie Drouhard, website editor-in-chief

Every year, the Advanced Biology class conducts a study over bird populations in Kansas. Part of this study is a class field trip led by teacher Chris Bellar that takes the class to three different locations where bird species can be observed. In any given year, seeing at least 30 different species of birds would be good, but this year 40 plus birds were seen. 

Advanced Biology is usually a small class of specified students. It is considered a higher level class, but even though few students take the course, the student population knows of the class’s antics. The bird trip and study is revered by all and a source of anxiety for future students.

“I was expecting to go on the trip and learn a lot about identifying birds and see a bunch of cool ones, and that’s what happened,” senior TK Maforo said. “My favorite part was being out in nature and getting to relax.” 

During the first semester, the class focuses on environmental science and ecology, which allows the students to be out in nature doing experiments. Environmental science and ecology focus on issues that humans cause on our environment, and birds are used to demonstrate these effects.

“Birding connects to ecology by making us all more conscious of the Earth,” senior Isaac Meyers said. “The birding trip shows the diversity of nature, and we got to see that by how many different birds we saw.” 

The bird trip included three different stopping points, but the students only saw birds at the Belle Plaine Arboretum and Chaplin Nature Center in Ark City. Altogether, the trip takes the whole school day. 

I loved walking through the Arboretum in Belle Plaine,” senior Lucy Boyles said. “I didn’t know that it was there, but it was insanely beautiful and included so many plants that I had never seen before. I didn’t think that I would be that interested in birding until this class, but it is fun.” 

Upon seeing a Blue Heron, the Advanced Biology class pulled over onto a road next to a stream. The class all pulled out their binoculars to observe shore birds. (Photo by Natalie Drouhard)