Monday, June 29, 2009

End of Summer Camp Session #1

The first session of summer camp 2009 at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest is over! The third session is already full, but there are still a few spaces open in the second session. A registration form can be found here as well as the schedule of events for the camp week.

The first half of summer camp was covered in the previous
entry. The images below tell the story better than any prose.

Finding the other member of their bird species by sound alone.

Capturing and observing insects under the powerline as insects are a critical component of the habitat, especially for birds with chicks to feed! Non-native insects compete with native insects for food and have been known to introduce disease into the native plant community. Non-native plants cannot or are not eaten by native insects, which limits the supply of food available to native insects. Additionally, non-native insects may not be eaten by native wildlife thus allowing those insect populations to increase unchecked.

Using the low boardwalk, campers created an event map, which included anything of interest that they heard, saw, smelled or experienced.

On Friday, campers were back on the main boardwalk to count bird species for the end-of-camp birdathon. Although, we only identified 10 species of birds, including the Barred Owl (Strix varia) taken by Don Wuori, we saw several species of well-fed snakes.

Additionally, the process of counting birds to raise funds for conservation (one penny per species) helped to reinforce the fact that conservation does not just takes a commitment of time and resources to ensure the protection of vital habitat and the life within it.

The brown-painted nest boxes constructed from two juice cartons will be used next spring in Project PROTHO to help Prothonotary Warblers find suitable nesting sites in areas of the swamp that were logged prior to becoming part of the Francis Beidler Forest's 16,000+ acres. Not only did campers help with the Project PROTHO science by observing banded birds along the boardwalk and recording the data, their nest boxes will become an integral component in next spring's research efforts!

Finally, it was time for lunch with the family, a recap of the week's events, and swamp camp graduation certificates.

Images by Mark Musselman

Barred Owl image by Don Wuori

No comments: