Collectible Bird ID Cards Double as Outreach Tool
How do you grab a child's attention and encourage backyard nature exploration when that activity is new and foreign to him or her? That was the question asked by a Columbus Audubon Society committee as its members ventured into a new program in an underserved community in south Columbus. Many students in this community had little to no experience in the natural world. A member of the committee had seen animal trading cards given out at a local zoo which spurred the idea to develop a similar product using birds.
With a photo on one side and information on the other, these cards sparked an interest in students to learn more about birds by observing local birds at their Center's birdfeeder and reading field guides. The first printing contained three sets of cards (Backyard Birds 1, Backyard Birds 2, Raptors 1), including five species cards for each set. During development, committee members recognized the marketing potential of the cards and included an informational card about Columbus Audubon Society. What can you say about a bird in 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches?! While choosing photos for the cards was fun, the text portion was a challenge. The Chapter obtained permission from a birding software company to use its range maps, and that took half of the tiny space! The remaining area includes information on habitat and diet as well as a reference to the bird in Ohio.
With grant money and a generous photographer from Division of Wildlife, the first series went to print. The cards have since been a hit with kids and adults alike, and were even used to reach out to many other cultures at a symposium in Indonesia. The Chapter is currently developing Series2 to include: Wetland Birds1, Waterfowl 1 and Raptors 2.