Piping plover game teaches kids about bird's plight

The piping plover's plight is being brought to life for P.E.I. students through an interactive game.

Island Nature Trust find children 'empathize' with birds

Grade 4 students at Elm Street Elementary play a game that teaches them about piping plovers. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC)

The piping plover's plight is being brought to life for P.E.I. students through an interactive game.

Designed by the Island Nature Trust, the game teaches Grade 4 students about the endangered birds.

"We're really trying to get the students to have a hands-on experience and actually be a plover," said piping plover project co-ordinator, Julie-Lynn Zahavich.

"And then we introduce other students as threats that they might encounter on a beach. So we're getting the students to sort of understand from a plover's perspective how difficult it can be to survive on a beach."

Julie-Lynn Zahavich from the Island Nature Trust teaches Grade 4 students about the piping plover through a hands-on game. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC)
In the game, the plovers have to try gathering food while dealing with threats such as all-terrain vehicles, humans and predators such as crows.

Plover numbers are down on P.E.I.

Only 57 were counted on the Island last summer.

The Island Nature Trust has been working hard to make their habitat safer, but education is key, says Zahavich.

And kids are particularly good at getting out the message.

"They seem to empathize more with the birds, and they really seem to get it," said Zahavich.

Elm Street Elementary School student Olivia James has a plan for this summer.

"Spread the word. And if you find a nest, well, tell people about it."

The project will be making the rounds in classrooms until March 31. The Trust hopes to run it again next winter.


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