Taking Flight

The Taking Flight program blends original scientific research on a native bird with active learning about science across all ages. The science will focus on the ways Northern Cardinals, Kentucky’s state bird, respond to human activity, including habitat change and introduced and invasive species of plants (such as amur honeysuckle). The education will provide active learning in which students ask and pursue age-appropriate questions about Cardinals and their habitat. Taking Flight is a collaboration between the University of Kentucky’s Ecological Research and Education Center (EREC) and its Director, Dr. David Westneat and the Red Oaks Forest School.


To date, Red Oaks students have collected data by catching, banding, measuring cardinals and then releasing them back into their habitat. Our ambition is that we will collect enough original data to address questions of interest to the scientific community and along the way, introduce students to multiple elements of the process of doing creative science. It is fun, education, and science wrapped up together!

Students will get to check traps, collect the data and measurements and then have a chance to handle the birds upon releasing them back into the wild. Students will have time each class to sit and wonder and come back to the group, share their "I Wonder" questions and begin introductory research into some of the questions. Students will have the opportunity to design experiments, create art, and have up close wildlife encounters.

These opportunities create awe and wonder, stimulate creativity and invoke compassion for our natural world.


Location: University of Kentucky EREC Field Station, Lexington, KY
Dates: Saturday session: 8/31, 9/28, 10/19, 11/23
Tuesday session: 9/24, 10/8, 10/22, 11/5

Time: 9am-12pm

Member price is $125
Non-member price is $150

Ideal age is 10+, very enthusiastic birders 8+

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