School Programs

Bring your students out to our Environmental Learning Center located on the northern shore of Barr Lake State Park in Brighton, Colorado for a hands-on experiential field trip. If transportation and timing are an issue we can come to you and facilitate a reverse field trip on your school campus or provide an enriching virtual program! Scholarships are available to assist with bus and program fees.

Click below to learn about our school programs in Colorado.


Field Trips

Field Trips

Field trips can focus on birds, biology and outdoor exploration. Students jump into action as a biologist to observe birds and research life in a prairie ecosystem. Choose from a variety of program options (see below).

Barr Lake Bird Exploration Walk Field Trips

Barr Lake features many different types of birds including songbirds, falcons, hawks, colonial nesting birds, waterfowl and Bald Eagles. On this field trip, students will explore this dynamic wildlife oasis just outside Denver and learn how and why nearly 80 different species of birds are able to coexist using different parts of this ecosystem. Students will learn how to use binoculars to view birds, and educators will teach about bird adaptations, habitat needs and the successful recovery of the once-endangered Bald Eagle. More importantly, students will have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty that can be found right in their backyard!

Dates: Year round
Time: Morning field trips recommended
Grades: 1 – adult
Duration: 2 – 2.5 hours
Maximum Number of Participants: 90 students per 2-hour program
Location: Bird Conservancy’s Environmental Learning Center (14500 Lark Bunting Lane, Brighton, CO 80603)
Program Fee: $8 per student, plus a $10 state park fee for each vehicle
Meets Colorado Science Standards and NGSS

Barr Lake Banding Station Field Trips

Every spring and fall, thousands of birds stop to rest and eat at Barr Lake during their migratory journey. Spend a morning with a Bird Conservancy bird bander at Barr Lake State Park. Your students will get an “up-close and personal” experience with nature while they watch a wildlife biologist place a band on migrating birds captured harmlessly in mist nets. Students will also participate in other migration-related activities and observe wildlife on a hike along Barr Lake.

2023 Dates: August 29 through October 20. Tues – Fri
Time: 9:30 a.m./10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Duration: 2 – 2.5 hours
Maximum Number of Participants: 60 students
Location: Barr Lake State Park, 13401 Picadilly Road, Brighton, CO
Program Fee: $8 per student, plus a $10 state park fee for each vehicle.
Meets Colorado Science Standards and NGSS

Bird Structure & Function

Curious about how birds have adapted to their environments? On this field trip students will dive into the structures and functions of raptors, songbirds, and waterfowl. Through observations and questioning students will be able to identify groups of birds based on their specific adaptations.

Dates: Year round
Time: Morning field trips recommended
Grades: 1st – 5th
Duration: 2.5 – 3 hours
Maximum Number of Participants: 100 students
Location: Bird Conservancy’s Environmental Learning Center (14500 Lark Bunting Lane, Brighton, CO 80603)
Program Fee: $8 per student, plus a $10 state park fee for each vehicle

Meets Colorado Science Standards and NGSS

Shortgrass Prairie

Mountains may dominate much of Colorado’s skyline, but the unique shortgrass prairie ecosystem makes up nearly half our beautiful state. Students will be immersed in this vital habitat during their field trip; discovering its incredible biodiversity and the adaptations its inhabitants need to survive. Students will also have the chance to participate in a service learning project to help us restore the shortgrass prairie ecosystem at Barr Lake State Park!

Dates: Year round
Time: Morning field trips recommended
Grades: 3rd  – 5th
Duration: 2.5 – 3 hours
Maximum Number of Participants: 100 students
Location: Bird Conservancy’s Environmental Learning Center (14500 Lark Bunting Lane, Brighton, CO 80603)
Program Fee: $8 per student, plus a $10 state park fee for each vehicle

Healthy Water, Healthy Ecosystems

Water is both a critical and controversial resource; especially in the dry climate of Colorado. On this field trip, we will explore the oasis that is Barr Lake State Park and discover the birds that depend on it. Students will then take on the role of stakeholders in an imaginary town to figure out “who dirtied the water” and work together to come up with a solution.

Dates: Year round
Time: Morning field trips recommended
Grades: 4th – 8th
Duration: 2.5 – 3 hours
Maximum Number of Participants: 100 students
Location: Bird Conservancy’s Environmental Learning Center (14500 Lark Bunting Lane, Brighton, CO 80603)
Program Fee: $8 per student, plus a $10 state park fee for each vehicle

Custom Programs

Would you like us to design a program for you? If you are interested in a bird-related topic that is not already offered, we can help you design a program for your students or group. Programs can be unique and tailored to fit your class curriculum. They can be taught either in the classroom or as a field trip.

Dates: Any time of year
Time: Any time of day
Grades: 1 – adult
Duration: 1-2 hours
Maximum Number of Participants: Varies
Location: Varies
Programs can be designed to fit into multiple grade-level standards. Costs will vary.

Reverse Field Trip Programs

Bird Conservancy’s reverse field trip programs can be a follow-up program or pre-trip program for schools attending field trips, or a stand-alone program for schools that do not attend a field trip. Reverse field trip programs take place at your school! Our goal is to get your students outside on your school grounds for these programs, however these can also be done inside a classroom. Reverse field trips are designed to increase students’ understanding of science, math, geography, art and language arts by using birds as the context for learning.

Reverse field trip programs are available September through April. Sessions run 45 minutes to 1 hour and cost $6/student. Sessions are limited to 35 students, but multiple sessions can be scheduled for the same day. A teacher or chaperone is required to be present during programs. Partial and full need-based scholarships may be available upon request. More information about each of the in-class programs can be found below.

Demo Bird Banding

Students become the bird banders in this hands-on activity. Students take turns moving through the bird banding process by extracting, measuring, identifying and banding model birds. These model birds have been created to match to proportions and field marks of real bird species so that students have the opportunity to work through the process of identifying their birds. This program is a great indoor alternative to the live banding demonstration.
Recommended grade levels: 3-9
Topics addressed: STEM careers, migration, bird banding, scientific process

Schoolyard Nature Exploration

No matter whether your school is in an urban, suburban or rural setting nature can be found everywhere! Students will see their schoolyard from a whole new perspective by observing, exploring, and asking questions. From using scientific tools to nature journaling, students will have a chance to get out, get curious, and get connected to the world around them.
Recommended grade levels: K – 12
Topics addressed: inquiry, observation, reflection, ecosystems

Beautiful Birds

Students explore the unique features and adaptations of birds through observation and art. Students create a habitat drawing and make a model clay bird, and then have the opportunity to report out to their peers about where their bird lives, what it eats, and what adaptations help it survive in its habitat. Creativity is encouraged!
Recommended grade levels: 1-6
Topics addressed: adaptations, habitat, art, birds, niche

Feathers and Flight

Discover the wonders of feathers! Students will explore the structure and function of feathers while learning how birds use this unique adaptation. Utilizing critical thinking, reasoning, and creativity students will then design their own wing that is best suited to their chosen habitat.
Recommended grade levels: K – 3
Topics addressed: adaptation, habitat, observation, critical thinking, creativity

Birding 101

Students will learn basic bird identification skills and how to apply them. We will go over proper use of binoculars and field guides. Students will go “birding” around the room using field guides to identify birds found in Colorado. All while learning about the importance of birds and seven ways we can help them!
Recommended grade levels: 3-6
Topics addressed: adaptations, identification, community science

Not a Still Life

Join Bird Conservancy of the Rockies Environmental Educators as they show you that nature is not just a still life! Students will learn about bird adaptations and identifiable features through the lens of scientific illustration. They will be introduced to the concept of art as a tool for education as they create their very own piece of art. No prior art skills are needed!
Recommended grade levels: 5-12
Topics addressed: adaptations and anatomy, scientific illustration, species identification, art and education

Migration Mapping

Students’ understanding of migratory patterns and geography will be enhanced while they discover the factors that drive bird migration. Students will use bird banding data to map the migratory routes of several bird species and analyze and  graph the migratory data of bird species banded at the Bird Conservancy Banding Station.
Recommended grade levels: 3-9
Topics addressed: mapping, geography, teamwork, migration, habitat needs, graphing, data analysis

Water Conservation Community Meeting

Through a simulation, students participate and explore how a community can deplete and damage a local water resource. After learning how that ecosystem was damaged students work in stakeholder groups to brainstorm how they, as members of the community, can restore that ecosystem for future generations. Students will present their groups ideas to the class.
Recommended grade levels: 5-8
Topics addressed: ecosystems, stakeholders, community, conservation, critical thinking, teamwork

Colorado Water

Water is a vital resource that all animals, including humans depend on. Students will learn about the hydrologic cycle and the different states of matter water is found in on earth. Students will then collaborate to see how humans can dirty the water in a community’s watershed. After, they will discuss steps they can take to mitigate this issue and help protect birds and their habitats.
Recommended grade levels: 3 – 5
Topics addressed: water, conservation, community, habitats

For more information about programs:
Sarah Doxon
Education Manager
(303) 659-4348 x 53