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Success Stories: 'Owl aboard' for a learning adventure

April 24, 2018 Heather Sigurdson and Jody Carnegie, Citadel Park School, Calgary
Grade 1 pupils at Calgary’s Citadel Park School parlayed a single owl visit into an ongoing and thorough research and art project.

Calgary pupils take their curiosity to new heights with owl project

We have 44 curious Grade 1 students who have spent months exploring the beauty and power of owls. In October, with a visit from the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (CWRS), our students met Ophelia, a great horned owl who is a permanent resident of the society. This meeting led our students to research owls’ wingspans, families and prey, as well as the weight and measurements of four different owl species in Alberta.

In their research, students learned that two of these owl species are at risk in Alberta. The students became credible owl experts and used their curiosity to create amazing artwork. The papier mâché 3D owl constructions, recycled art panels, owl prey and owlet models were proof positive of the joy and enthusiasm the children brought to their learning. Nothing is more powerful than listening to six- and seven-year-olds explain facts and share their passion about things that interest them.

The initial goal was to educate and bring awareness to our school community at an Owl Open Hoots/House. This then led to a silent auction to raise money to assist the “owls in need.” Our school community rose to the occasion and helped raise more than $300, with all proceeds going to the CWRS.

As teachers, we always hope our students will be curious about the world around them, be able to identify problems, and be able to capably articulate how they want their community to help and support them in their endeavours. We have discovered that our owl adventure promoted knowledge and attitudes that have empowered our students to become active, caring and effective agents of change. Most importantly, the children learned that their voices have power and that their curiosity can have a positive impact.

Please feel free to check out the CWRS website at, so you too can help support animals in need. ❚

Success Stories is a new feature in the ATA News that enables teachers to share their successes with their colleagues. To submit an idea or an article about a new program or approach that you’ve instituted, please contact managing editor Cory Hare at

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