This month’s Children’s Gardening Series at the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens focused on “Our Furry Friends,” and taught young attendees how to care for birds in cold months.
Kids learned how bird’s make nests, what foods to feed them and how to make bird feeders to use in their own backyards during the recent Saturday session.
The theme capitalized on National Geographic’s designation of 2018 as the Year of the Bird, February as National Bird Feeding month and the recent cold spells that have occurred in the area, to teach kids how to take care of birds when the temperatures drop.
“Dilek and I were supposed to do another topic, but I visited one of our local bird stores and was encouraged to talk about caring for the birds in the winter,” said Angie Wall, chairwoman of the LSU AgCenter Botanic Garden’s Educational Committee. “They have instincts to feed themselves but when its dreadfully cold some of their food sources can be diminished and they don’t have exactly what they need. A chickadee can die within 15 minutes if it doesn’t find its food source when temperatures are below freezing.”
Wall’s workshop partner, Dilek Buchholz, who received her Ph.D. in curriculum instruction and completed a qualitative study on birds for her dissertation, was present to share her knowledge and help lead the workshop.
“I teach at Belfair Montessori where we have gardens that we do a lot of work in,” Buchholz said. “I am a recent Master Gardener and when I was told there was a garden series with the kids, I decided I wanted to join them.”
Throughout the workshop, children identified parts of the bird, learned about how birds roost and how to treat nests they find in their own backyard’s.
Cindy Thompson, of Baton Rouge, heard about the event through the Master Naturalists, and brought her 7-year-old grandson, Dax Lemoine, to the event to allow him to enjoy two of his favorite things, being outside and learning about nature.
“I take him to school a few days a week and he gets dropped off around 6:30 a.m., and we have bird feeders in the backyard so when the sun comes up we look at the birds as they come to eat and he learns what each one is,” Thompson said. “He likes that, so I brought him out here to learn more about the birds today.”
The event is part of the Children’s Gardening Series, which is in its third year and helps to promote the Children’s Garden at the Botanic Gardens.
“We want to make sure people know we have a children’s Garden on the grounds, which is designed to accommodate disabled children, and that there is always something growing in the garden,” Wall said. “The program averages somewhere between 17 to 20 kids per session, and we have a lot of repeaters who we always encourage to check out the garden.”
The weekend program drew kids in from towns as far as Denham Springs, Prairieville and Lake Arthur to enjoy the educational benefits of the program.
“I’m grateful for this program because he’s not in scouts or anything like that and this is on a Saturday, so it’s accessible to him,” Thompson said about her grandson.
For more information about the upcoming Gardening Series Events or the AgCenter Botanic Gardens, visit lsu.edu/botanic-gardens.