On November 29 and 30, the Bilkent University Graduate School of Education (GSE) conducted a bird education workshop coordinated by Özge Keşaplı Can, Armağan Ateşkan and Jennie Lane. The workshop was sponsored by the Public Affairs Section of the US Embassy. The sponsorship also funded the creation of a bird education trunk that includes bird-watching equipment such as binoculars, a spotting scope and guidebooks. The aim of the workshop was to encourage in-service and pre-service teachers to integrate bird education into the curriculum by highlighting the preservation of habitat.
On the first day of the workshop, guest speakers emphasized nature education, which includes reducing ecophobia, teaching about ecology and promoting sustainable living and involvement in citizen science. Next, the bird education trunk was demonstrated to participants, who also received a list of familiar birds they might see on the field trip scheduled for the following day. The first day ended with teachers examining the MEB (Milli Eğitim Bakanlığı) curriculum to identify where bird concepts could be integrated.
The second day consisted of a field trip to Lake Mogan and Lake Eymir in Ankara. The trip was led by experienced bird watchers Özge Keşaplı Can, a pre-service teacher at GSE, and her husband, Okan Can. All participants had a chance to observe birds using the telescope and binoculars in the trunk. They spotted 16 different species in and around the lakes, including birds of prey, water birds and songbirds. They also learned about the habitats, migration patterns and nutritional needs of the birds they saw.
Although the weather was rainy and cold, the participants evinced a deep interest in the field experience. Moreover, the weather brought out one rare species, the bullfinch, which is normally very difficult to observe.