The Who Walks Here project came from the teachers’ passion for nature and wanting our students to explore the outside world. The project began with an overnight camping trip. Students visited places in San Diego County, and worked with local experts, to experience what life was like for the Kumeyaay (first people who lived in San Diego) and to see first-hand our local birds and native plants. Each student researched a local bird and a native plant, and their final pictures and research were put together into a published field guide that was donated to the experts they worked with. Students worked to make scientific drawings of their birds by participating in the critique process, making multiple drafts of their birds, and working with high school buddies. Students researched more about the Kumeyaay and wrote historical fiction stories or legends. After learning about the footprint the Kumeyaay left on the land, the students thought about the footprint they want to leave on the land.
My hope with this project was for my students to gain an appreciation for nature and want to protect it. I did not anticipate that through this project a group of “birders” would be born. A handful of my third graders became passionate about birds. They would want to take walks on the weekends to look for birds, and they would bring bird books to school to read and to share with one another. Many also worked on drawing drafts of other birds in their free time.
We should all love nature and enjoy it and be thankful for its beauty and what it provides for us.
The Kumeyaay barely changed the land. They treated it with respect and they weren’t doing any harm and they never ever wasted food, drinks, or any other kind of resources.
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