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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Flying WILD?

Flying WILD, a new program of the Council for Environmental Education (CEE), introduces middle school students to bird conservation through standards-based classroom activities and environmental stewardship projects. Flying WILD encourages schools to work closely with conservation organizations, community groups, and businesses involved with birds to implement school bird festivals- events in which students take a leading role in teaching their classmates and community about migratory birds. A national network of urban partners will provide educators with Flying WILD training and materials, including the program guide, Flying WILD: An Educator’s Guide to Celebrating Birds. CEE, a 501 (c) 3 environmental education organization, administers Flying WILD. The program runs parallel to other CEE programs and especially compliments Project WILD.

How does Flying WILD meet educator’s needs for sound curriculum and motivating instructional methods?

Flying WILD provides interdisciplinary, standards-based opportunities to engage students in real-world learning that helps them understand the importance of migratory birds and their conservation. Activities from Flying WILD: An Educator’s Guide to Celebrating Birds includes specific correlations to National Science Standards and cross-disciplinary subject references. The Flying WILD Bird Festival provides a vehicle for community support in connecting the curriculum to service projects. Through service-learning activities such as festival implementation and bird monitoring, students put their knowledge and ideas into practice to help solve environmental problems. Flying WILD was developed under the guidance of a large number of environmental education professionals and wildlife conservation organizations. As part of the program’s development, activities were field tested in classrooms throughout the nation.


Who are the financial sponsors for Flying WILD?

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Conoco-Phillips provided the initial funds in 2002 to develop Flying WILD. CEE provides ongoing support for the program with the assistance of a variety of sponsors.


Who are the national partners for Flying WILD?

National partners include Partners in Flight, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, American Birding Association, National Wildlife Federation, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, American Zoo and Aquarium Association and Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. Other national partners may be added in the future. National partners may help promote the Flying WILD program to their networks and assist with the work of the Flying WILD Planning Committee, an advisory group for Flying WILD. Nationally, CEE also works with state wildlife agency partners who are playing a key role in training and promotion to advance Flying WILD.


What are the major goals CEE has for the Flying WILD program?

As an environmental education organization, CEE is interested in educating about a variety of

environmentally related topics, including but not limited to, wildlife and water.

Beyond the youth education component of Flying WILD, CEE seeks to build more capacity for environmental education nationally. The Flying WILD program is one vehicle that can be used to help accomplish this goal. By developing a network of city and community partners for Flying WILD, CEE seeks to activate more institutions and individuals to become further engaged in environmental education efforts. At the same time, we hope to increase both the staffing and funding dedicated to environmental education nationally.

Another goal involves providing professional development and networking opportunities for bird educators. The goal is to increase the number of individuals involved in bird education activities, the quality of bird education offerings, and the efficiency of national, state and local bird education efforts. As such, CEE seeks to build a national and international network for bird education that involves a wide variety and number of groups. As a first step, CEE will implement regular meetings of individuals for the explicit purpose of bird education.


Why are city and community partners needed for Flying WILD?

For all the reasons mentioned above that deal with capacity building for environmental education and urban outreach. By bringing additional partners into the Flying WILD program, more organizations and staff become involved in bird education activities. City Partners are needed to serve as local “hand holder” groups to support schools who wish to conduct a school bird festival. The festival and bird stewardship projects are an integral part of Flying WILD and will be strongly encouraged. CEE believes having local supporting organizations will help teachers feel more support for their efforts in this regard. We hope to see City and Community Partners help schools to secure participation by other conservation groups (such as Ducks Unlimited, Master Naturalists, and Audubon chapters) in festivals and stewardship activities and to help with festival logistics such as securing live birds. Urban partners will also help to support outreach to diverse audiences and underserved youth.


Is Flying WILD compatible with state wildlife agency goals?

Yes, most definitely. State wildlife agencies play key roles in bird conservation, education, and management. Flying WILD is compatible with the goals of wildlife agencies to create an informed citizenry that supports bird conservation.


How will Flying WILD materials be distributed?

Through three-hour training workshops conducted by city and community partners, and in some cases, by Project WILD Coordinators who may choose to become the City Partner for the city in which they are based. CEE encourages the development of facilitator networks in each city that offers Flying WILD. City Partners will be asked to conduct eight-hour facilitator training networks for individuals who wish to provide the three-hour training workshop for educators.


How will City and Community partners be identified and selected?

This is happening now in a variety of ways. Some partners hear about the program and request that their institution become the City Partner. For example, the Houston Audubon Society is the Flying WILD City Partner for Houston.


What does a City Partner need to commit to in order to be selected as the City Partner for their city?

The City Partner needs to be an organization that currently offers educator training programs. This could be a museum, nature center, zoo, Audubon chapter, etc. that typically outreaches to educators. The partner also needs to have a budget that allows for the purchase of Flying WILD Guides and staff time to manage the Flying WILD training program. We are also asking institutions that become City Partners to do everything possible to send their Flying WILD Coordinator to the annual meeting CEE will host for bird educators.


Does a City Partner need to pay a “buy in” fee to become the training partner for their city?

No, there is no upfront fee.


If a City Partner wishes to raise funds to support their work with Flying WILD, is this permissible?

Yes, it is fine to approach sponsors to support Coordinator efforts to serve in any of the roles mentioned above as they pertain to assisting a specific city.


Can City Partners and Project WILD Coordinators charge for workshops?

Yes, however, we encourage partners to keep the fee low enough so as not to create a barrier to participation. The fee should be no more than $5.00 over the cost of the Flying WILD Guide.

Will the program be open to Canadian cities?

Yes, cities and provinces in Canada are of course welcome to participate in the program.

What other products and activities are planned for Flying WILD in the future?

The next gathering for Flying WILD City Partners will take place in February 2009 in Jekyll Island, GA. Subsequent gatherings will be planned based on the needs of the Flying WILD City Partners. CEE also plans to develop a Spanish language Flying WILD Guide as one of the next publications for the program. There is a commitment to bring Latin American countries into the program due to the critical role many of these countries play in conserving North American migratory birds. This project is dependent on grant funding.

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