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BIODIVERSITY's Fundraiser:

River Point Conservation Area: A Regional Model for Environmental Knowledge


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


EVENT DATE: Jul 01, 2014


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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Patrick Keenan

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