Wildlife Discovery – Owl Pellets

Terre Salzer, a teacher at Hilltop Elementary School, submitted a very unique and uber-cool grant request last fall: In conjunction with the 6th grade trip to Camp Waskowitz, I would like to have the three sixth grade classes learn about the Barn Owl, its’ habitat and the food chain, by dissecting an owl pellet (the regurgitated material that owls don’t digest).

Terre is fortunate to have a salvage permit that allows her to collect birds and she has a stuffed Barn Owl that she uses to introduce the students to the owl and discover the specific adaptations that they have.

owl pellets

Owl Pellets

In her final report, Terre told us: “Dissecting the pellets takes the lesson one step further, allowing them to discover what the owl ate, by reconstructing the skeleton from fragments found in the pellet. From a previous grant, I have sustainable supplies, a DVD, and bone sorting charts that I will use again. 

The students love the process of dissecting the pellets to discover what the owl has eaten.I am excited to share my love of native NW wildlife with students. I believe that the more we know about the natural world around us, and the animals we share that space with, the more we tend to be better stewards of our “space”.

Not only do the students enjoy the process of discovery, as they dissect the pellets, it makes them aware of the food chain and how we are all connected. This unit is engaging and the amount of knowledge they gain is tremendous.”

… now that’s what we call HANDS ON Science!


Are you a teacher at a Highline Public School? Highline Schools Foundation is looking for your creative ideas! Every fall, the Highline Schools Foundation grants teachers the funds they need to support unique and innovative programs in their classrooms that their school’s budget can’t provide. We want to support activities and experiences that expand the learning process and actively engage students. Got a great idea of your own? A short, on-line application form will be available in September 2013. Watch our website or subscribe to our blog and you will be the first to know when applications are being accepted.

Since 1999, the Highline Schools Foundation has been supporting innovation and excellence in Highline Public Schools. Our funding priorities focus on programs to improve academic achievement, supporting college and career readiness, grants to teachers for engaging classroom projects, the arts, athletics, and programs that keep students in school and productive. Highline is a district full of need and opportunity. The Highline Schools Foundation is the only non-profit organization dedicated to all schools in our district—our goal is to help as many students as possible be successful!

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