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Ava: A Year of Adventure in the Life of an American Avocet


Thanks to funding from the Dorothy M. Morrison Foundation, the Kansas Wetlands Education Center created a 32-page, fully illustrated children's book.  The funding provided a copy to every K-6 classroom in Barton County as well as every school and community/public library within 70 miles of the center.

Click here if you would like more information on how to purchase the book or get copies for resell.

Educators - More supplemental activities will be added as they are developed.  Click on the hyperlink in captions to access materials.  Contact to schedule a program in your classroom.

33 birds are depicted in the story.  These cards can be used to learn more about each bird and includes a link to their calls.  They could also be used to play an Old Maid style game.
Ava and her mate had to hustle to raise the nest out of flood waters.  This STEM activity challenges students to build their own nest after learning about different styles from a variety of bird species.
Aquatic invertebrates are a popular food source for shorebirds.  Read background information about inverts.  Click here for a memory game that pairs the adult to its larvae.
Use this tutorial created by the illustrator, Onalee Nicklin, to draw your own American Avocet!  Write a short story to go with your illustration placing Ava in a brand new adventure!
Migration is hard and full of a lot of hazards.  Play this board game created by Rob Penner, Avian Conservation Manager with The Nature Conservancy.  Teachers, you may want to print on larger paper size options to best read the text!
Schedule a virtual program with the author over wetland metaphors.  Use common objects to compare the functions and importance of wetlands.  Email for more information!
Excellent additional resource created by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with lesson plans for grades 2-12 on shorebirds!





KNEA Reading Circle:

Ava: A Year of Adventure in the Life of an American Avocet by Mandy Kern has been selected as a "recommended title" by the Kansas National Education Association's Reading Circle Commission.  For more information or to access to this recommended list visit:

2022 Kansas Notable Books:

The 2022 Kansas Notable Books list annually recognizes 15 books written by Kansans or about Kansas.  Kansas Notable Books is a project of the Kansas Center for the Book, a program at the State Library of Kansas which is the state affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book.  Check out the 2022 author list at:

Listen to the KPR Presents interview with Kaye McIntyre about the book!