The Swaner EcoCenter and Nature Preserve will help teach orphaned children who attend the Kopila Valley School in Surkhet, Nepal, about birds and wildlife.

To do so, the nonprofit environmental preservation and education organization is asking the public to donate new or used binoculars and birding guidebooks that will be delivered to the school in September.

The idea for the binocular and book drive originated with a Swaner EcoCenter supporter, said Sally Tauber, director of development.

"She is a donor for our educational programs and she also is a donor for the Kopila Valley School in Nepal," Tauber told The Park Record. "She has a love of nature and natural science, and birding is one of her loves. So she wants the children in the school to learn about and identify birds."

The guidebooks can be gently used or brand new and can cover all different types of birds. Books that focus on Asian birds, however, are preferred.

"If anyone has any Asian-birding guide books, we would really appreciate them," Tauber said. "We have received some books, but we could always need more. We haven't received any binoculars, so we need those."

The Kopila Valley School, which is also an orphanage, was by founded Maggie Doyne.

"Maggie went to Nepal after graduating college and met these children, many who were orphans," Tauber said. "They didn't have a home or a nice environment to live in. So she gathered them and took them into her home.


Now she is running the school and orphanage."

The school, which bases its curriculum on Montessori methods, officially opened in 2010 and educates 350 students.

"It's so heartwarming that she is helping these kids," Tauber said. "This is one of her projects and she asked us to help."

The Swaner EcoCenter's summer-camp participants have been corresponding with Kopila Valley School children via recorded videos.

"They have been comparing environmental education in both countries and the unilaterally captivating experience of learning about nature," Tauber said.

The summer campers have also talked with Doyne, via Skype.

"We have been trying to share how we teach our camps here and how they teach in Nepal," Tauber explained.

Tauber said Nepal is in dire need of education.

"The adult literacy rate is 66 percent, and the unemployment rate is 40 percent," she said. "The dropout rate after 8th grade is 59 percent and 35 percent after 5th grade."

Since Surkhet is one of the more-remote villages in Nepal, the numbers are worse.

"The unemployment rate of the village is 80 percent," Tauber said. "It is really important that the children go to school and get an education for their future."

The Kopila Valley School works closely with the Ministry of Education, the Women's and Children's Welfare Organization, the local municipality and district administrators to meet government standards for education, Tauber said.

It also gives these kids basic medical and dental care and after-school activities like sports, music, crafts and cooking classes.

"The campus includes a Mental Health and Counseling Center, the Kopila Valley Health Clinic , tutoring room, computer lab, community theater and small library," according to the mission.

"We would like the public to drop off binoculars and books, to the Swaner EcoCenter through Friday, Aug. 15," Tauber said.

For more information about donating bird books and binoculars, contact Sally Tauber via email at or by phone at 435-797-8939 . For more information about the Kopila Valley School, visit