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BIODIVERSITY's Fundraiser:

River Point Conservation Area: A Regional Model for Environmental Knowledge

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BIODIVERSITY via Crowdrise
January 06, 2014

BRI's global work includes research, education, and policy recommendations. Please support our program at the River Point Conservation Area!  See more

BENEFITING: BIODIVERSITY

EVENT DATE: Jul 01, 2014

THE STORY:

Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) seeks support for an environmental education project centered on migratory bird research at its bird-banding station at River Point Conservation Area (RPCA), a 41-acre ecological tract owned by the Town of Falmouth (Maine) but managed by BRI via a memorandum of understanding.

RPCA is located at the confluence of the Presumpscot River and the east and west branches of the Piscataqua River. It contains diverse habitats and a rich history of land use including use as a landing and trade site for Native Americans, an early homestead, and a farm and brickyard. In addition to its value as an ecological resource, RPCA offers recreation for hikers, mountain bikers, and canoeists. It has a clearly defined trail network that links the nearby Falmouth School and the West Falmouth Crossing Shopping Center.

BRI uses the property and its bird-banding research station in a multitude of ways: a training area for college interns, a learning station for visiting school children and their teachers, a place of service for adult learners, a collaborative center for wildlife biologists and medical professionals studying vector-borne diseases (e.g., eastern equine encephalitis), and more. Connecting the public at-large to active biological research and environmental stewardship at a conveniently located green space provides a potent model for community engagement.

Following BRI’s long-range resource management plan for RPCA, this project will involve a number of interlinked components focused on BRI’s bird-banding station: (1) field research to monitor songbird migration during Fall 2013 and Spring and Fall 2014; (2) the installation of nest boxes for tree swallows and kestrels; (3) a serosurvey of eastern equine encephalitis in collaboration with Maine Medical Center; (4) a pilot study of Veery migration using cutting-edge geolocator technology; (5) a series of workshops for regional educators and evening presentations for the general public; (6) a small set of interpretive signs about migratory bird research and conservation; (7) the development and coordination of a small-scale internship program with a local university focused on avian research, land stewardship, and science education; and (8) the development and launch of a number of online resources (e.g., a naturalist’s journal, video blogs, and web-based student research publications).

Through the past several years, BRI has identified the RPCA as an effective hub for its regional outreach efforts to help establish a long-term environmental awareness for the public through birds. As BRI continues to expand its on-site research and education programs, we will promote the site as a model in the Northeast for environmental knowledge.

One aspect of our long-term vision includes a joint venture with the international “Birds without Borders” project, especially given the research links between BRI and our tropical studies in Central America. The project – Aves Sin Fronteras in Spanish – is a research, education, and conservation project sponsored by the Foundation for Wildlife Conservation and the Zoological Society of Milwaukee to study and address the declines reported in bird populations throughout the Americas; the founding director, Dr. Gil Boese, is based in Belize where BRI conducts research in collaboration with the Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education.

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