Ornithology and the Art of Stamp-Making
Week of 3/23/15
With Spring right around the corner (hopefully!), the Maker workshop began class on Tuesday by hunting for birds. Equipped with a camera, binoculars, and notepad, four intrepid explorers set out into the wilds of the arboretum in search of volant life. Our eyes and ears scanned the treetops, woodpiles, and telephone wires. After spotting a bird we would snap a picture and write down the approximate size and color pattern. After a half hour of birdwatching, the group headed back to the research center to figure out what species we had actually seen. The ultimate goal was to determine the diet of the birds we had seen so when we built our up-cycled bird feeders we knew what to fill them with. We were able to determine all but one of the birds by cross referencing a list of known species found on Awbury’s website. The remaining “mystery bird” was either an Eastern Phoebe or a Morning Dove. F then had the idea to search their bird call online to see if one of them sounded familiar. The resulting YouTube video led us to conclude that the Morning Dove was our fourth bird, joining the Robin, Cardinal, and Red-Tailed Hawk. With our birds determined, we searched the internet for their respective diets and found that the majority of them enjoyed a hearty plate of sunflower seeds. Next week, we’ll load our feeders up and hopefully continue exploring. Below are some photos of the feeders being constructed:
Construction begins after finding what types of birds were in the aboretum.
F's birdhouse hangs by a tree outside the Garden Classroom.
On Thursday, the Maker class created their own stamps by carving Artgum erasers with butter knives, screwdrivers, and chiseled pencil-ends (see photo). We began the day by using an assortment of pre-made stamps to tell stories. I wanted them to see the connection between making the stamp and actually being able to use it for creating art and stories. During this activity, there were some great integrations of different mediums. After story time we all got to work on shaping our DIY stamps. We had done this activity last year so I was very happy to see the group’s work go in a totally different direction. M carved letters to be able to write her name. Z imprinted the face of an ocelot from Minecraft, and J completely carved a 3D shape out of her eraser. We rolled out a piece of parchment paper to stamp on and I’d be lying if I said, “It wouldn’t make an excellent wallpaper for a living or dining room."