Skip to main content

Davis Journal

Birds of a feather flock together at Farmington High

Nov 04, 2021 10:47AM ● By Becky Ginos

Students look at the three bird rooms in the aviary display at FHS.

FARMINGTON—Adam Blundell’s love for birds came from his mother – now it’s become his passion. After months of preparation and hours and hours of work the Farmington High teacher’s idea has come to fruition with the creation of a first-of-its-kind aviary at the school.

“When I started the ornithology class four years ago I only had a few students,” he said. “Now it’s a thriving program and kids are on a waiting list to get into it.”

The aviary opened last Friday with South American, African and Australian displays and more to come. “This creates a great atmosphere for the students,” said FHS Principal Rich Swanson. “We were just in the right place at the right time. Youth are so engaged with the wetlands. It’s amazing to be able to have this here where kids can get hands-on experience in a world where they can really make a difference.”

It’s really the students who did all the work, Blundell said. “They put in an insane amount of work to get this done. It’s all the students, they’ve been fantastic.”

Farmington High senior Bella Hansen is one of those students who helped bring the aviary to the school. “I’m mainly in charge of the South American exhibit,” she said. “We have a bird club that goes out to the bay to watch for birds and identify them. I love being outside in the environment so I found a bunch of people with the same idea and made a club. I just love it.”

Hansen said she was one of the main people who pushed for the aviary. “I’ve been in the ornithology class since the 10th grade. We spent most of last year planning the aviary then finished it up this year. Every day we spend most of class time feeding the birds and cleaning the cages.”

It wasn’t just ornithology students who contributed to the display. “A computer science student developed an interactive app where you can select the country and it will tell you about the birds,” said Blundell. “The art department also got involved and past and present students. I designed the exhibit but it was student driven. They put up walls, hammered nails and put it all together.”

Blundell said for some students it was life changing. “It gave them a clearer direction of what they want to do with their life.”

Bryon Geddes said his daughter Judith was one of those students who has had a life changing experience in Blundell’s class. “With COVID going on and just being high school kids it’s tough enough to be students,” he said. “We moved here at the beginning of her junior year. There were clicks, etc. that made it hard for her to make friends.”

Mr. Blundell took her under his wing without knowing the private yearnings in the heart of a parent, said Geddes. “He answered the call of providence to care about her. As a result of the love of a teacher she gained friendships and purpose and he gave her a direction of what she wants to be when she grows up. I can’t say enough about this man. He’s a rock star in the Geddes family.”

A conference room was remodeled across from the counseling office to create the exhibit, Swanson said. “Adam wanted it to be on one of the ends of the school but we wanted to put it in the middle where it’s a focal point where people can see it and see what it’s doing for the students. You can’t walk out of the office without it catching your eye of this amazing exhibit.”

Blundell was teaching at the University of Utah when he decided to come to Farmington High. “I wasn’t looking for a job,” he said. “I loved the job I had. It’s crazy. When I told my wife I was leaving my position to go to Farmington High she said ‘are you sure about this?’ I said ‘nope’ but it all turned out great in the end.” 

“This is a world-class experience for our students. They’ll do all the cleaning, feeding, etc.