The Fourteen-Year-Old Ornithologist: Donald's Story

Written by Urban Ecology Center
    Friday, 08 November 2013
The Fourteen-Year-Old Ornithologist: Donald's Story

That big bright grin of Donald’s might seem familiar to you... he and his family were featured earlier this year in a blog article that explained how the Urban Ecology Center’s scholarship program makes membership benefits accessible for families like his that do not have the means to contribute financially.

Since they joined in 2009, after their first visit to Washington Park, Donald has grown into a humble, yet exuberant fourteen year-old with a mind for science and a keen interest in birds. His participation in the Young Scientists Club as a member for two years and now as a youth volunteer has provided Donald with many opportunities to truly explore his passion and expand his science skills.

Last year, Donald and eight others completed a research project focused on the native birds in Washington Park. They presented their findings at the University of Minnesota’s Driven to Discover Conference. He explained how the project taught him how to set up a proper research study with a question, hypothesis, and how to use data tables to analyze results. He said, “Yeah, some kids know these things, but I really understand them and know how to use them.” This year, he is again participating in one of two groups continuing research on the birds of Washington Park.

When asked what he plans to do in the future he smiled big and nodded, “Yes, I’m going to be an Outdoor Leader. Oh yeah, and I want to be an ornithologist and combine that with geology.” Having never gone bird watching before his family became a member of the Urban Ecology Center, Donald credits these experiences for giving him the confidence to dream big. “He wants to go to Harvard,” said his mom in proudly.

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