June is for Conservation

During the month of June, the GMAS is involved in several conservation projects that might be of interest to our members. This year we have taken on several new projects. First, our chapter under the leadership of Bill Mercia has signed up for the VELCO Shrubland Bird Monitoring Project developed by Mark LaBarr and Margaret Fowle from Audubon Vermont. This project will help VELCO develop bird-friendly management guidelines for the habitat near its powerlines. Our role is to formally assess selected areas in Chittenden County for the presence of targeted birds such as Golden-winged Warblers.

A second new venture initiated by Board member Liz Lee is to conduct monthly bird walks at the Bolton Valley Nordic Center. This 1100 acre property has been offered to the Vermont Land Trust for 1.8 million dollars. Assuming that the fundraising campaign is successful, the land will be managed by the Vermont Agency for Natural Resources and made available for public use. We hope to increase public interest in this campaign by evaluating the bird life that resides in this unique montane habitat.

Other conservation projects are ongoing. For the past four years we have participated in the Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project spearheaded by Audubon Vermont's Margaret Fowle. Our role in the project is to regularly monitor potential nest sites to confirm nesting, hatching, and fledging of the chicks. Our site at Whitcomb Quarry in Winooski yielded four healthy chicks last year. Unfortunately, our nest site at Snake Mountain failed last year. This year we are hoping for a better outcome.

Likewise, we continue to conduct monthly bird surveys at the Green Mountain Audubon Center and have resumed our surveys at the Catamount Family Center in Williston this spring and summer twice a month. Participation in any of these projects is free and open to the public.