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DID YOU KNOW? Keep reading… it’s worth it to see how dedicated our LASA teachers are.

Every year, PFLASA raises money to support LASA students and faculty. All funds raised above our goal amount are used for something specific. Last year’s above goal funds were used for Continuing Education for the faculty. Continuing education, differs from Professional Development, in that it was actual coursework in the teacher’s field of study that furthered their education.

All LASA students take Planet Earth, a sophomore Signature Course. David Walker is one of the Planet Earth teachers at LASA.

Here is what he had to say about his continuing education support:

Thank you so much for sponsoring my summer continuing education in bird biology and identification. I was able to take 4 online courses through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. In the Planet Earth course at LASA, students frequently choose to pursue bird field studies. The main introductory field exercise for these students is a trip to Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory.

For the first 7 years of my career at LASA, Tim Fennell was the main leader on these trips. Tim is one of the most knowledgeable and skilled birders in Texas, and these trips were an amazing educational experience for the students as a result. Tim would 1) be able to readily identify every bird seen or heard during the day, 2) illustrate to students very effective techniques for correct bird identification, and 3) discuss not only field marks, but also habitat, nesting behavior, feeding behavior, mating behavior, and different varieties of vocalizations. Students came out of the workshop with all the tools they needed to effectively carry out an identification-based field survey over the rest of the semester.

Upon Tim’s retirement, I assumed the lead on these field trips. This has been a worthy challenge for me, as I am nowhere near as adept with birds. These courses were instrumental in helping me develop my skills in bird identification and knowledge of bird biodiversity and behavior. This will surely benefit the students who pursue bird projects in Planet Earth in allowing me to create a more interesting and comprehensive field trip.

I’ve included some photos of past birding field trips at Hornsby Bend to give you an idea of what these trips are like.