The class that chose the names for our 2009 TH chicks naming poll have made the news!!
Eagles enthrall Newbury Park special education class
By Rachel McGrath
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
A live Internet feed showing two bald eagle chicks in their nest on Catalina Island is providing a link to the outside world for post-secondary special education students in Newbury Park.
Thanks to a computer in their classroom, the 11 students, aged 18 to 22 with moderate to severe physical and developmental disabilities, are following the chicks’ progress since they hatched in late March near the town of Two Harbors on Catalina.
The live webcam feed comes from the Institute for Wildlife Studies, which operates the Channel Islands Bald Eagle Restoration Project. The project has been helping to repopulate the eagles on the islands after years of DDT exposure decimated their populations.
Teacher Lori Axelrod-Ngo runs the post-secondary special education program at Newbury Park High School, which is designed to prepare the students to move on to the next stage of their life as adults. She said the live link to something happening out in the world is valuable to her students.
“Anything real life makes it more meaningful to these students. You know, things that you and I take for granted in our daily lives are often very difficult for them,” she said.
“I have developed observation sheets, and what the students have to do is to determine who is on the nest, the time they saw the mom or dad at the nest, the proper day of the week, and then answer questions about what is happening, so it allows them to answer the who, what and when questions in a more meaningful context,” Axelrod-Ngo said.
Glenn Goulet, a Los Angeles County Fire Department captain, joined his 20-year-old daughter, Stacey, for the program’s end-of-year party Wednesday and said monitoring the bald eagles has been a great idea.
“She can’t comprehend the whole thing, but she’s mesmerized by it and watches it,” he said, explaining that his daughter is at the developmental stage of a 2-year-old and visual learning works well for her.
John-Michael Pettis, 18, proudly showed mom Patsy Pettis and grandmother Ursula Walker the Internet feed on the classroom computer.
“It’s really great for people to be able to see video and to see how the babies are,” he said. “My favorite moment was when they were being born.”
Axelrod-Ngo posts comments from the students on a discussion forum that’s part of a Web site run by the Ventura County Office of Education that normally links to an eagle nest on Santa Cruz Island. The two chicks that hatched there in April died a few days later, so the forum has been monitoring the Catalina birds instead.
When the forum recently asked for suggested names for the two chicks, the Newbury class’s suggestion of Thunder and Lightning won the poll.
Miguel Blanco, 19, came up with Thunder and Storm, and at the teacher’s suggestion, agreed to replace Storm with Lightning.
“I like bald eagles because they’re really cool birds. I like it when the mom and dad feed the babies, that’s the best part,” Blanco said.
Photo by Joseph A. Garcia / Star staff Newbury Park 06/03/2009: Newbury Park High School post secondary program student John-Michael Pettis(cq) shows his mother Patsy(cq) a live internet camera view of bald eagle chicks on the Channel Islands during an open house where parents got to see the work their children did on tracking the bald eagles.