İbrahim Karamanlıoğlu, the principal of the Nurullah Kocabıyık Primary in Aydın's Didim district, asked students a question four years ago: "If you had an opportunity, what animal would you like to feed?"
Most of the students said "birds." So, Karamanlıoğlu, with the help of the District National Education Directorate and the parents, decided to build a bird sanctuary on the school premises.
The school administration contacted the Veterinary Faculty at Adnan Menderes University and together they built the "Sevimli Kanatlar Parkı" (Lovely Wings Park), with 50 birds of 20 different species.
Decorating the school's walls and windows with the pictures of animals that children love, the school administration created an environment where students enjoy their lessons.
During recess, the students go to the park where they can feed the birds by hand, including canaries, quails, pheasants and parrots. Aquariums at the school also attract the students' attention.
Principal Karamanlıoğlu visits classes with his parrot Sera sitting on his shoulder. He feeds it at the school and shares the happiness of the students.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Karamanlıoğlu said that at his school children's voices mix together with the sounds of birds. "I love animals and nature very much. We have achieved a lot of successes in instilling children with love for animals," he said.
"We are the only 'eco' primary school in Aydın. Our children are very happy. Besides teaching them to love animals, we also teach them about the responsibilities of taking care of an animal. When our children are happy, we become happy. Students who don't have a pet can learn about animals by feeding the birds here," Karamanlıoğlu said.
He added that they have received a lot of positive feedback on the project. "We can see the happiness of our children on their faces. They are happy to come to school. They are environmentalists and have more love for animals than us. This makes us proud," he said.
Kaan Ormantepe, who is in grade two at the school, said he likes spending time with the birds and animals. "We visit them during breaks. After taking care of them here, I got a pet bird as well. I feed him."
Onur Mete Güçlü, another student, said it was very enjoyable to feed the animals. "I feel very happy when I play with the animals," he said.
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