A bald eagle named Liberty took center stage last week at a special event where East Syracuse-based Honeywell, the Montezuma Audubon Center and the Onondaga Audubon Society announced the local launching of an exceptional eco-friendly program. Guests had their pictures taken with the national bird as part of the official celebration held in Liverpool at Ste. Marie Among the Iroquois.
The Honeywell Institute for Ecosystems Education is a five-day course geared toward Onondaga County middle school teachers. Slated to begin next summer, the program will offer curriculum that fosters environmental stewardship, enhances habitat, supports birding and raises awareness of the Onondaga Lake Important Bird Area.
"Honeywell is proud to partner with Audubon to bring Honeywell Institute for Ecosystems Education to the Syracuse area," said John McAuliffe, Honeywell Syracuse program director. "We are excited to work with Audubon to help restore the natural habitat of Onondaga Lake and to recognize it as an Important Bird Area."
The professional development program has already been running for two years in northern New Jersey, where McAuliffe said it has proven to be very effective. He credits both the Montezuma Audubon Center and the Onondaga Audubon Society for their help in bringing the course this way.
The Institute will offer hands-on lessons and inquiry-based techniques for students to learn about habitats and ecosystems, water quality, birds, native plants and sustainability. Designed to enhance student achievement in science and math, the program is aligned with the current New York state curriculum and is adaptable to classrooms.
"If we can keep [students] interested in math and science as they go through high school, they'll pursue technical careers in college," McAuliffe said. "That's really what we're hoping to achieve by educating teachers here in this Institute. We think it's a wonderful way to inspire the next generation of leaders as we restore Onondaga Lake and its habitat."
Guests of last week's special event posed with Liberty, the bald eagle. Holding him is Paul Schnell of the Institute for Environmental Learning located in Hilton, NY, west of Rochester.