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Outreach and Education

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“The objective is to teach the student to see the land, to understand what he sees, and enjoy what he understands…..Perhaps the most important of these purposes is to teach the student how to put the sciences together in order to use them. All the sciences and arts are taught as if they were separate. They are separate only in the classroom.Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) American author, scientist, ecologist, forester, and environmentalist

A Unique Classroom for Idaho’s Children

children raptor releaseThe Intermountain Bird Observatory benefits both Boise State University and our local community by maintaining one of the only research-based community education programs in the State of Idaho.  Our aim is to provide our community with a unique introduction to science in an outdoor setting that allows children to immerse themselves in nature and gain an appreciation for all that wildlife and their habitats have to offer. Much of our outreach program focuses on fall migration of birds through our Lucky Peak research station. Here, visiting children and families learn about birds, migration, and the importance of habitat by watching real science in action. Our songbird, raptor, and owl monitoring projects provide an ideal learning environment, as kids get to experience wildlife up close and personal, in its natural habitat.


By giving our community the chance to connect in a hands-on way with the birds in their own backyard, we hope to inspire a love for all wildlife and the outdoors. Our goal is to foster a true appreciation and awareness of the natural world. Too many kids today would rather sit indoors with electronics than run and play outside. Children in science classes all over this nation are losing interest in science because of a “lecture then test” curriculum structure. The IBO strives to immerse kids in a fun nature experience while showing them that science is an exciting and engaging subject. Our Lucky Peak site provides an opportunity for children to interact with and relate to young scientists, learn about biology through hands-on experiences, and enjoy unstructured play in the great outdoors. We hope to reach children early in life in order to promote a lifelong stewardship ethic they can share with their parents, communities, and the next generation.

Field trips and Presentations

How can you get involved in the IBO education experience? Click the tabs to learn more. We offer a number of programs for individuals or groups:

  • Individuals and families are welcome to visit our Lucky Peak banding station any time during our 3 month season. If your group is smaller than 10 people, there is no need to schedule your trip ahead of time. Go to our “Visit Lucky Peak” page to learn more and plan your visit.
    Don’t have a car or truck that can make it up the dirt road? Check our home page during the season to learn about public field trips and other carpooling opportunities. You can contact us at for more information.

  • Groups that would like to visit our Lucky Peak site should contact us at to schedule the best time for your visit. We like to schedule group visits in order to avoid overcrowding: we try to make sure that no more than one or two large groups are visiting at one time so that everyone can get the most out of their visit. Check out our “Visit Lucky Peak” page to learn more.

    Not sure whether your group or organization would enjoy the education experience that Lucky Peak has to offer? We can’t think of a group that wouldn’t!

    In the past we have welcomed visitors from:

    • Schools: Preschool to college age
    • Scouting groups
    • After-school programs
    • Church groups
    • Adult learning groups
    • Homeschooling programs
    • Running and hiking groups
    • Birding and outdoor clubs

    And many more!

  • Would your organization like to learn more about one of IBO’s projects? Who are we and what do we do? We will speak to your group! Contact us at for more information about presentation topics, or to schedule a presentation.


student group at banding station

Curlews in the Classroom

Curlews by Liz UrbanRead about our Curlews in the Classroom program on our Curlew Tracking site!

What’s next?

Since our start in 1993 we have continued to build upon this successful foundation, and in recent years have been able to reach between one and two thousand visitors in our three month field season at Lucky Peak. As we continue to grow our education and outreach program, we look forward to reaching even more of our community. We continue to seek new opportunities to engage our community in science and nature. While our Lucky Peak station is an excellent location to fully immerse children and families in a nature experience, the site remains inaccessible to many because of restrictive road access and distance from town. Our dream is to replicate the great education system already in place at Lucky Peak in a new area: somewhere near town that allows school bus access and facilities that would enable us to continue educating year-round.

Lucky Peak at the Boise area. Photo by P. Kolar