Skylar Learning Center

Learning Center

Educational Outreach at the Santa Barbara Bird Sanctuary


“By using a hands-on approach and allowing the children to get up close and personal with our Sanctuary’s residents, we cultivate a respect and appreciation for nature early in the life of a child. With budget cuts and school curriculum pared down to the basics, we can give some enrichment back to our community’s youth; after all, they are our future.” – Sanctuary Director, Jamie McLeod

A field trip to the Skylar Learning Center will provide a unique experience remembered for a lifetime. In a three-part series, our grade-specific  interactive programs are both educational and entertaining. Classes can also be tailored to fit specific curriculums. Your tax-deductible donation to sponsor a class field trip is one way contribute to our educational mission.

W.O.W – World of Wings

Get up-close and personal with our flock of avian ambassadors. Discover a vast array of species in all their glorious shapes, colors and sizes as we explore their geographical distribution. Learn about personality and behavioral traits attributed to different types of parrots; which ones talk, who is sweet and cuddly, and who is the most intelligent.

C.A.R.E – Conservation Adaptations Rescue Environment

Delve deeper into endangered species, parrots’ physical adaptations and how to promote conservation of their natural habitats. Explore dietary needs and let your imagination take flight as we study different types of feathers and their purposes. Learn about parrot rescue and rehabilitation and gain an understanding of what it takes to care for parrots both at home and in the wild.

P.A.L.S – Parrots in Art, Literature and Science

Journey into the written history of parrots from Audubon and Alexander the Great to Winston Churchill. Learn about Dr. Pepperburg’s scientific studies on Alex, the intelligent African Grey. Experience great works of avian art from Frieda Kahlo to the macaw rock-art of the Native American peoples of the southwest. Our amazing avian ambassadors delight in acting as muses for creating arts and crafts using feathers and paint.

Contact us to learn more about booking a program

Meet Skylar Runswick

skylar  Skylar lives in Idaho and first came to our sanctuary as a six-year-old. She comes to Santa Barbara twice a year to visit relatives. During one of her visits, she and her family discovered the Santa Barbara Bird Sanctuary, a lush paradise for homeless parrots in the seaside town of Summerland.

Enchanted by the birds, Skylar insists when visiting Santa Barbara she be allowed to spend her days working with the rescued parrots; when she grows up she wants to have a parrot rescue. She set up a cocoa stand during the freezing Idaho winter and sent the Sanctuary a package of quarters representing its proceeds to help feed all the homeless parrots.

Several years ago, Skylar’s grandmother contacted the Sanctuary and expressed how touched she was that we had taken Skylar under our wing and how her time spent at the Sanctuary had made such a huge impression on her. She encouraged the Sanctuary to apply to their family foundation for grant funding to start the first phase of a children’s learning center so that other youth might have the same opportunity.

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