Oct 19, 2016
Trinity Professor Bands Birds at CREC Two Rivers for 14 Years
(East Hartford, CT) Using nets barely visible to the eye, sixth-grade students at CREC Two Rivers Magnet Middle School recently worked with Trinity College professor Joan Morrison to capture birds and then identify, weigh, measure, and band them before releasing them back into their environment.
“It was cool,” said Alyssa Dipini, of Windsor, explaining that she was given the task of briefly holding a bird in a bag. “I didn’t want to drop it.”
The partnership between the Trinity professor and the environmental science-themed magnet school was established in 2002, and for 14 years, Morrison has visited the school twice a year to introduce students to bird banding.
“Professor Joan Morrison at Trinity College is a warrior scientist who has not wavered from trying to instill in the next generation a love and reverence for the biodiversity that she encounters in her work with birds, and she brings children in contact with them,” said Christie Hazen, a sixth-grade science teacher at CREC Two Rivers Magnet Middle School. “For 14 years, Joan has volunteered her time to work with our middle school students every fall and spring. This is one of the highlights of the year for many of our students, and we feel so fortunate to have had professor Morrison touch the lives of so many students and help instill in them a love and respect of nature.”
Morrison, who will retire from Trinity after the college’s fall semester and move fulltime to New Mexico, believes it is important to get children outside and to educate them about their environment
“My generation grew up outside,” Morrison said, explaining that children learn to be independent and learn their limits by being outdoors.
Morrison’s passion for the environment has captured the attention of CREC students for more than a decade. It also motivates Trinity College student Luisa Lestz, a Hartford resident who attended CREC Two Rivers Magnet Middle School years ago.
Lestz is now studying biology and Hispanic studies at Trinity College, and she is taking a class with Morrison this fall, returning to her old middle school earlier this month to help Morrison work with the sixth-grade students.
“I’ve never been in the field except when I was in middle school,” Lestz said. “It’s full circle.”
Due to her retirement, Morrison’s collaboration with CREC Two Rivers Magnet Middle School is uncertain. However, she is considering returning to Connecticut to work with the students in the future.
“I might think about coming back to do a week banding session,” she said.
Regardless of Morrison’s involvement, CREC Two Rivers Magnet Middle School will continue to provide its students with unique, hands-on learning opportunities and is always looking to expand its offerings.
To attend CREC Two Rivers Magnet Middle School, students must apply through the Greater Hartford Regional School Choice Office lottery, which opens November 1. For more information about the school, visit www.crecschools.org. After November 1, visit www.choosecrec.org for information about the lottery process, for more information about all of CREC’s magnet schools, and for access to the lottery application.