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CRC fifth-graders studying their Outdoor Core “Year of the Bird” lessons counted various species for the Plumas Audubon Society’s recent annual Christmas Bird Count event in Sierra Valley. Photos submitted

CRC’s Outdoor Core students join Audubon bird count in Sierra Valley

About 60 students from Portola’s CRC Elementary School filled a bus to participate in the Audubon’s popular bird count program that took them throughout Sierra Valley in search of specific bird species.

C. Roy Carmichael Elementary School students studying their exciting “Year of the Bird” lessons for Plumas Unified School District’s Outdoor Core environmental education program recently enjoyed a real-world extension of their classroom learning.

They had a chance to lend a hand in the Plumas Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count exercise held in Sierra Valley.

Rob Wade, PUSD’s Outdoor Education trainer and coordinator, took 60 CRC fifth-graders to join the Audubon’s annual citizen science project that manually counts bird species in the acclaimed valley east of Portola.

“We had a big week,” Wade reported.

The trip was incorporated as part of the Outdoor Core’s fifth-grade emphasis on bird studies.

With the help of Wade and their teachers, the CRC students identified and counted 92 ravens and 60 Savannah sparrows along with an impressive number of Northern Harriers, red-tailed hawks, rough-legged hawks, Ferruginous hawks and American kestrels.

“Birding from a school bus doesn’t happen everyday!” Wade said with humor and appreciation. “We are especially grateful to PUSD bus driver Dan Laird who navigated us safely across the Sierra Valley and for all of the cars that stopped to check on us!”

Wade added that participating in the noted Audubon event was a cool experience for the Portola students.

“It was exciting and the kids learned a lot while doing real-world science,” he said.

A student logs sightings of red-tailed hawks, Northern Harriers, American kestrels and other birds found in the rich Sierra Valley where Plumas Audubon members host their Christmas Bird Count each year.

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