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Students Learn that Roger Tory Peterson is “For the Birds”

Posted on Apr 8, 2015

He was born in Jamestown, New York more than one hundred years ago. Imagine that city one hundred years ago; no television, no computers or any of the many electronic devices that amuse us today, not even cars to take us to entertaining places like shopping malls or sports events. What would a boy like Roger do during summer vacation?  “Go outside and look at nature”, answer my audience of second grade students at Love Elementary School.  It’s a library class so appropriately I show them Laura Thomas’s exquisite illustrations in Peggy Thomas’s children’s biography For the Birds, The Life of Roger Tory Peterson.


The biography tells the story of a determined boy who pursued his passion for nature study, particularly birds. Eventually this boy, Roger Tory Peterson combined this interest with his artistic talent to create Field Guide to the Birds, a Bird Book on a New Plan in 1934.  People then and now use Roger’s field guide to identify birds.


Now comes the fun.  These second grade students play “Bird-O”, a bingo like game where the students identify realistic toy birds with the help of illustrations from Field Guide to the Birds.   Game’s over and they scurry off to check out books about birds.

I have been presenting this popular presentation called “For the Birds” after Peggy Thomas’s biography to many of the local schools and libraries.  Older students play Jeop-birdy, a bit more difficult bird –field guide identification game but every bit as fun!

Tina Nelson-Scherman