School Programs

Migration Stories

By engaging with Vermont’s newest immigrants, Audubon Vermont is expanding our conservation community, creating new connections, and bringing to life the stories of birds and people.
Photo: Audubon Vermont

Vermont Students Tell Migration Stories

Migrations of all kinds - across borders, between cities and over oceans - create a common thread that connects birds to humans.  Our Migration Stories conservation education program strengthens this connection by working with students and refugees to tell the migration stories of the people and birds that live in our community.

Chittenden County, Vermont is home to thousands of refugees from dozens of countries, from Somalia to Yugoslavia, Iraq to Burundi.  Many of our middle schools have significant numbers of English Language Learners (ELL) and refugee students.  However, our increasingly diverse cultural community is not represented in our conservation community.  Language barriers, limited access to transportation and financial constraints present challenges to engagement.

Vermont Adult Learning (VAL), a non-profit organization, offers ELL classes to adult immigrants and refugees.  Inspired by Audubon lessons and activities, VAL and local middle school students research and write personal/family migration stories, while also crafting stories of bird migrations.  Students compose, edit, and critique using the Young Writer’s Project blog.  Final recorded projects of layered sound and voice become part of Audubon Vermont’s Migration Stories map: http://bit.ly/1kMmxqF 

As a culminating conservation project, 30 Vermont Adult Learning students and local middle school students, working side by side, planted over fifty trees and shrubs to improve migratory bird habitat.  Native species of ash, maple, dogwood, and willow were grown by the Intervale Conservation Nursery.  The Winooski Valley Park District provided 500 feet of flood-eroded Winooski River-bank for our project.

By engaging with Vermont’s newest immigrants, Audubon Vermont is expanding our conservation community, creating new connections, and bringing to life the stories of birds and people.

Student Migration Stories

Red-Winged Blackbird
 - Akuj D, Edmunds Middle School
Flying through the sky of Brazil, hungry as can be, I rest on the branch of the stem. I look about, closely looking for a group of Red-winged blackbirds to gather together to eat grains. North I must travel for spring. Ohio. Spring shall come and I shall sing my early and tumbling song. Conk-a-reeeee, Conk-a-reeeee, Conk-a-reeeee. o-ka-leeeee: rejoice for spring, rejoice for spring, rejoice for spring, for the return of spring. I travel Spain, England and California. Home sick I fly south. I stop at a couple of backyards for grains and seeds. I also love humans. Feeling my warm feathers and giving me pinky rides- they're the best. Time to go home. Goodbye, I’ll be back next winter.  Home, I’m Home. I’m home but hungry. I fly over a grain field. I stop and take a couple pecks of grains. I’m home and happy. That’s my migration story. What’s yours?

Migration from Somalia
- Malyun Kassim, Vermont Adult Learning
After a long ride on the sea, we arrived in Mwambasa. We stayed in Mwambasa for one month then we moved to Tanzani where we found a better life and better opportunities…  After that we arrived in Belgium, then a London airport and then a Chicago airport. We stayed for two days and one night in Chicago. It was a long process until we arrived in Vermont.  We love Vermont, and I don't think there is a better, more welcoming state.

 

 

Photo: Audubon Vermont

If you are interested in becoming involved in our Migration Stories project, or would like to learn more, please contact:

Gwendolyn Causer
Migration Stories Program Coordinator
(802) 434-3068

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