Episode #113: Power of Birds for Dementia

Audubon Connecticut's Ken Elkins presenting his Bird Tales program to residents of Greenwich Woods Health Care Center in Greenwich, CT. ©Bob Sacha All Rights Reserved.

Audubon Connecticut’s Ken Elkins presenting his Bird Tales program to residents of Greenwich Woods Health Care Center in Greenwich, CT. ©Bob Sacha All Rights Reserved.


Ken Elkins is the Education Program Manager, Audubon Center at Bent of the River. Ken‘s interest in birds started when he was 10 years old, while watching the birds at his grandmother’s feeders in Vermont, and he has been obsessed ever since. After earning a degree in Environmental Biology, he started his career in conservation education at Westmoor Park in West Hartford, CT and quickly moved onto the state CT Audubon Society. There, he taught at all 5 of their centers and became their Director of Education. He led many EcoTravel trips and organized their World Series of Birding team for 8 years.  In 2008, Ken moved onto The National Audubon, where he’s the Education Program Manager at the Audubon Center at Bent of the River in Southbury CT. Most recently, Ken was recognized as a Toyota TogetherGreen Fellow and is past-President of the Connecticut Ornithological Association. Ken is here today to talk with us about his special program he Co-deveoloped called “Bird Tales” for people with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

 Show Notes:

  • Bird Tales; tell us about this program and how it came about.
  • This program is for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia please explain the difference between them.
  • What positive effects has the program had on people with dementia?
  • Has the program had any impact on birds or birding?
  • You and Randy Griffin c0-produced a training video and workbook. What was involved, what is it, and what is it intended to do.
  • Walk us through a successful employment of the Bird Tales Program at a health facility.
  • How can our listeners at home begin using birds and nature as therapy for their loved ones with dementia?
  • What evidence is there to prove the concept that this program helps people with Alzheimer’s?
  • How have you been able to transfer what you’ve learned from Bird Tales into using birds or nature as a positive experience for others?

Mentioned in Episode:

Bird Tales | Audubon Center Bent of the River – Reaching people living with dementia through multisensory therapy

Bird Tales training video and workbook copy click here 

Audubon Connecticut's Ken Elkins presenting his Bird Tales program to residents of Greenwich Woods Health Care Center in Greenwich, CT. ©Bob Sacha All Rights Reserved.

Audubon Connecticut’s Ken Elkins presenting his Bird Tales program to residents of Greenwich Woods Health Care Center in Greenwich, CT. ©Bob Sacha All Rights Reserved.

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