Wings of Change

Wings of Change- Partner Climate Literacy School Program

We welcome Wings of Change, a new partner Climate Literacy school program between Detroit Audubon, River Raisin Institute and the Detroit Zoological Society.

What is Climate Literacy?

2015 What’s the Buzz Project Armature

Climate Science Literacy is an understanding of the fundamental relationship between human influence on climate and the role climate plays in human health. A climate-literate person has a basic understanding of the natural and human-caused factors that affect the climate system.

Our partners at River Raisin Institute have been working with local schools to creatively address issues caused by the expanding ecological footprint of humans on Earth. We continue the conversation and engagement of school communities around the issue of climate change throughout the 2021-2022 school year with birds in the Wings of Change Project. Monroe & Wayne County Schools participate each year in a semester long climate literacy project to build awareness of ecology and sustainability issues.

How does Climate Change Impact Birds?

Today, there are 450 different species of birds found in Michigan, 2,059 species of bird found in North America and 18,000 species of birds that can be found across the globe. Of these numbers, two-thirds of North American birds are at an increasing risk of extinction from global temperatures rising.

Birds as a whole, perform important ecosystem services with consequences for human health and well-being, including but not limited to: pest control, sanitation, nutrient cycling, seed dispersal and pollination. Birds also help maintain the delicate balance between plants and herbivores, prey and predators. When it comes to our oceans, coral reefs depend on the guano from birds as fertilizers to help them survive. Another major role they play is as indicators of ecological change.

Birds are a crucial contributor as scientists study the environment and how it is impacted by climate change over time. In a 2016 study, the Fish and Wildlife Service found that there are more than 45 million people who bird watch as a hobby. This hobby contributes nearly $80 billion to the US Economy. With the pandemic, bird-feeding businesses reported sales increase by 45-50% while conservation organizations like the Audubon Society reported a significant spike in downloads of bird identification apps. Birds are an everyday part of our lives, whether seen or not and depend on us to help restore their habitats and healthy ecosystems from the destruction brought on by Climate Change.

Wings of Change Curriculum Packet

The 2022 climate change project, Wings of Change, provides curriculum lessons and resources about the impacts of climate change on bird populations to participating schools. Students will learn about the ecology of birds, caring for the environment and what you can do to help local species. In addition, they will receive a bird armature to finish using recycled and repurposed materials.

National Geographic: Bird Migration, Western Hemisphere Wall Map

Birdology: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring the World of Birds

A Garden to Save the Birds– Video Read Aloud

Climate Change & Bird Safe Windows Webinar- March 2, 2022 @ 9-10am

Matilda R Wilson Free-Flight Aviary Tour Video

For schools not participating, the curriculum guide is listed and available below.

Wings of Change Curriculum Guide


If you are a teacher interested in participating in the Climate Literacy Program, you can reach out to your respective contact based on where you live.

Wayne County: Detroit Audubon Program Coordinator- Brittany Leick

Monroe County: River Raisin Institute Program Coordinator- Julia Armitage
734-240-9682 ext. 682

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Field Trips

We offer a wide range of field trips throughout the year. Some great options for upcoming field trips for children and families include: Beginner Birders at Crosswinds Marsh and our Partner Programs with the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.

Earth Day– In Person – April 23rd, 2022 @ 11am-2pm at Monroe County Community College Campus in Monroe, MI

At the Monroe County Earth Day Event, participating schools will display their completed armatures for people to view.

Bird Collisions and Bird Safe Windows Webinar

Window Decorating Challenge Information and Details

Open Space between Decals & Paint- No more than 10 cm (4 inches) apart vertically or 5 cm (2 inches) horizontally. For smaller birds, no more than 5×5 cm (2×2 inches).

To learn more about our Safe Passage program and what you can do at home to help birds, click here.