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The Sweet Sounds of Science

For teachers, students, poets, musicians, dancers, and scientists
Inspired by Birds Across Borders
July 9, 2021 
Belize Teacher Professional Learning
"Arts & Sciences Collaborate to Save a Bird"

"These SE Asian hornbills have a uniquely thick front wall to their casque (the "horn" on their head), compared to other hornbills whose casques are mostly hollow. Unfortunately, this solid area is valued as "red ivory" for carving and has resulted in mass killing/poaching for their unique casques. These critically endangered birds do not breed quickly, so they are facing extinction...for trinkets and carvings."

helmeted hornbillPNGsig.png

Dr. Campbell-Smith illustrated this after a March 2020 Sweet Sounds of Science session. 

About the session


A passion for science can be shared through artistic collaboration. We will use a story about the SE Asian hornbill to create an original work of art to inspire learning.  Participants are encouraged to attend  with their instrument, voice, art supplies, pen, ideas, and curiosity. 

Together we will engage in active learning that combines:



writing lyrics

poetry & stories



composing music

You don't have to be a professional musician to apply the arts to learning. We will show you some simple ways to incorporate music into a collaborative learning adventure. 

Session Outline
  • Helmeted Hornbill Awareness

  • Chat Your Thoughts

  • Listen & Hum

  • Call & Response - Meditation Mandala

  • I and IV Chord Breakout Jams

  • Will you use it?

  • Show & Tell (Conservation Play, Recycling, Birds Across Borders, Butterfly)

View resources, including chords and lyrics for the Recycling Song!

The helmeted hornbill is one of 57 hornbill species in Africa and Asia. It’s found only in the lowland forests of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and southern Thailand. The helmeted hornbill stands apart from the other hornbills because its casque—the horny helmet above its beak—is mostly solid with a thick layer of keratin. But that unique trait might also be the birds' undoing. Softer than ivory and easily carved, hornbill casques are in high demand in Asia, to be fashioned into beads, pendants, and intricate works of art. Illegal poaching has caused this bird to be on the critically endangered list.

These video are animations created by David Williams after our March 27, 2020 Sweet Sounds of Science session, using the Animation Creator and Music Memos apps.

Also check out Cosmic Night, David’s work combining apps above!

From one of the participants:

"It was my first time on ZOOM, too.


Of course, I was a bit overwhelmed by the screen and knowing how to use it.


However, (and of course AFTER) I came up with all sorts of Educational ideas for saving the Helmeted Hornbill, but (as I can conceive it as a visual artist) they all require visual and technical, on site work in the affected areas.. Education of the public to recognize both visually and aurally, and create the aspect of love and protection for this bird in both the proximate areas where it needs protection as well as worldwide, so that the poaching and carved pieces cannot be traded.  Much like the Black Rhino, or elephant tusks.....

Huge, informational murals on buildings - cities, towns, busses.  Bus stops sculpted to look like Hornbills, with wings outstretched to protect those underneath, while being protected (hopefully, through education and recognition of the creature) by those sheltered by it...... ok.  And amplify & project the Hornbill song, to indicate an oncoming bus, (rather like the bells in foreign subways or light rail in Denver).  That's just a few... I just really don't know how One Voice 4 Change can facilitate this or help make it possible."

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