A bluebird perches on a thin branch, balanced perfectly. With quick and snappy movements of his head, he observes his surroundings. He looks at the sky, showing off his brick redbreast and white belly that complements the deep blue feathers covering his head, back, and wings. With nimble hops, he moves between branches before fanning out blue wings and diving away from the tree. The bluebird cuts through the air with grace, and lands on top of a sturdy, wooden birdhouse he calls home.
The students have accomplished a lot with this project. Besides aiding bluebird restoration efforts, they have strengthened their abilities to work independently and as a team to tackle challenging tasks. The course made them take on leadership roles and by the end of the semester, they gained experience collaborating with community members and learning for themselves what civic engagement is and why it is important. By doing much of the work themselves, students demonstrated that they can work in the real world and with real people. They provided useful tools to the Eau Claire community and experienced how much can be done when people with similar interests work toward a common goal.