A homebased educational research program was launched at Purdue University in January 1997 - "It's for the Birds!"
The study evaluated the benefits of wildbird feeding as an educational activity for families with elementary school age children 7-11 years of age, that currently do not feed wild birds.
Participating families received a wild bird feeder, wild bird seed and an educational packet of materials, including books, poster, cards and suggested activities.
The program evaluation assessed children's ideas about birds, nature, and ecology before and after the 10 week program. Families kept all materials after the program was completed.
Gail Melson, Professor in the Department of Child Development & Family Studies, and Alan Beck, Professor of Animal Ecology, spearheaded the project. Graduate school interview teams, headed by Patricia DaCosta, visited all families and conducted interviews of children and parents. Families were also contacted by phone weekly for information and help.
The study was funded by the Kaytee Avian Foundation, Chilton, Wisconsin.