Local news from the Friends of ENWR plus articles from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Summer Fest 2016 Is Almost Here!
It's June and that means everyone is busy getting ready for this year's Summer Fest at the Erie National Wildlife Refuge! Partners have been contacted and confirmed, plans have been made, advertising is underway, tents have been ordered, supplies are being collected, paperwork is getting updated and printed out and the worker schedule is being fine tuned. Soon the 25th will be here and we will be ready and waiting for you and your family.
The theme this year is "Endangered Species" and activities based on this theme will include live animals, crafts, bird walks, archery and casting practice, and more. Featured in our live animal display this year will be snakes, salamanders, frogs and toads. Kids that fill their "passports" with stamps from selected activities with receive a special gift. Don't worry about getting hungry because hot dogs will be for sale at the Friends of Erie NWR's tent.
A big part of our program is provided by "partners", other organizations in the area that have the same interests that we do. Bringing displays this year are The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Crawford County Conservation District's Woodcock Creek Nature Center, French Creek Valley Conservancy, Audubon Pennsylvania, The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, PA Amphibian and Reptile Survey, Pitt Eco Lab and the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
The Trash to Treasure Contest, originally created in 2011 when Summer Fest had a "Recycle" theme, was so popular that we made it an annual event. Entrants are encouraged to "Rescue some trash from the recycling bin or the garbage and make it into something pretty or useful." Entries are displayed and winners announced at Summer Fest.
You have an opportunity for to help the Friends of ENWR support Summer Fest by participating in our annual Silent Auction. Please take the time to look at the items donated this year and maybe even place a bid.
Volunteers are always needed to work the day of the event. Please call the Refuge at 814-789-3585 if you would like to be added to the list of workers.
Visitors of any age can find something of interest at Summer Fest. We hope to see you there.
Look Up. That Bird Was Probably at a Wildlife Refuge
By Cynthia Martinez
Chief, National Wildlife Refuge System
Well-known birder and author Kenn Kaufman said on Facebook, “National wildlife refuges protect some of the most amazing habitats for birds and other wildlife in the USA. These public lands represent a treasure for all Americans.”
I whole heartedly agree.
Pick up any birding magazine or guide, and you’re sure to see so many references to wildlife refuges that you will lose count. We all know the story of the brown pelican whose protection launched the National Wildlife Refuge System in 1903 with the establishment in Florida of Pelican Island bird reservation – now known as a national wildlife refuge. More than 200 refuges have been established for migratory birds.
In our 113-year history, the National Wildlife Refuge System has made huge strides on behalf of migratory bird conservation. Not only do millions of migratory birds find homes among the National Wildlife Refuge System’s stunning array of marshes, wetlands, deserts, forests, great rivers and small prairies. But they also find a home in the urban areas served by wildlife refuges. Not enough urban residents know that.
The Urban Bird Treaty program has helped make a difference. Cities today are filled with hawks, osprey, songbirds and more.
Now let’s teach kids and families in big and small cities that when we talk about migratory bird flyways, those are not far off places. Flyways include places where millions of people live, city neighborhoods where people can see a breathtaking variety of birds. With effective communications, city residents will recognize that they can go to a nearby refuge to learn more about helping bird populations.
The Refuge System has been crucial in nurturing migratory bird species. State-of-the-art waterfowl management is practiced on thousands of waterfowl protection areas and hundreds of wildlife refuges. We’ve brought birds back to their historic ranges, increased populations, given visitors sights that they’ll travel hundreds of miles to see – and helped sustain the economies of communities where birding is a passion.
Fewer people know that our federal wildlife officers are among migratory birds’ best friends. They regulate migratory bird take and possession limits under international treaties like the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. They regulate hunting license capability to ensure that proper limits are met on particular migratory bird species. And they ensure that migratory birds have safe places to rest during non-hunting seasons as they work closely with sportsmen’s groups, tribal law enforcement and state agencies.
Americans are learning that when they see birds in their communities, vast flocks on the wing, even some hummingbirds at their feeders, they have national wildlife refuges to thank. So, when you look up and experience the magnificence of a bird in flight, you might wonder which national wildlife refuge provided benefit to that bird.
Cooperative Efforts at National Wildlife Refuge Encourage Grizzly Sustainability
One of 16 Projects Receiving Funding for Endangered Species Recovery
For grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, connecting to larger populations of bears in the West is key to long-term survival.
Biologists at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Montana are working with landowners and partners to ease the bears’ passage while reducing causes of human-bear conflict. The effort to improve human acceptance of grizzlies near the refuge will receive funding this year as part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Cooperative Recovery Initiative (CRI).
The grizzly project is one of 16 across 27 states being funded through the CRI to help recover threatened or endangered species on or near national wildlife refuges. Besides the Yellowstone grizzly, species to benefit from this year’s $6.86 million in CRI funding include piping plover, freshwater mussels and bull trout.
Since 2013, the Service has funded 57 projects totaling $23.2 million through the CRI. Other species that have benefited include the Sonoran pronghorn, red-cockaded woodpecker and roseate tern. These projects often provide related conservation benefits to other imperiled species and encourage partnerships with state and private groups.
Red Rock Lakes Refuge manager Bill West called the Grizzly Bear Aware funding “great news.” The funding, he said, “will help sustain programs we’ve already begun. Environmentalists and ranchers have a shared interest in reducing human-grizzly conflict. Ranchers don’t want their livestock to be eaten, and we don’t want bears killed because they’re causing problems.”
Ranchers in southwest Montana’s Centennial Valley have a stake in the grizzly project. Bears can kill cattle, increasing the potential need to remove a bear from the population. To better protect property and livestock, valley residents developed the Range Rider program.
Begun two years ago by the refuge, The Nature Conservancy and Centennial Valley Association, a local landowners’ group, the program employs three Range Riders to monitor the location of livestock and large carnivores — bears, wolves and mountain lions. Range Riders advise private landowners when to move their herds to avoid run-ins with these animals. They also alert landowners, who often live 40 or more miles away, to remove sick or injured cattle so these don’t invite predation. Some of the CRI project funding will help sustain the Range Rider program.
Biologists also aim to curb bears’ access to human-associated food sources by removing animal carcasses, fencing off aviaries and securing food and refuse. Project partners plan to distribute 60 bear-proof garbage containers to ranchers and homeowners, install 30 hunted game storage poles in campgrounds and hunting camps and supply 10 bear-proof food storage containers at campgrounds. Signs and kiosks will also warn hikers and campers to carry bear spray and secure their food from bears.
The grizzly is one of the largest North American land mammals. Males can weigh 400 to 600 pounds, females somewhat less. The animal’s thick brown fur often looks frosty at the tips: hence the name grizzly. A grown bear can run at up to 35 miles per hour for short distance.
The grizzly bear was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1975 when there were as few as 136 bears. The Yellowstone grizzly bear population has rebounded to more than 700 today. The species has remained stable in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem for more than a decade as a result of the Service’s recovery efforts; in March 2016, the Yellowstone grizzly was proposed for delisting.
The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem population is isolated genetically from grizzly populations to the north and west. There are currently no genetic problems with the Yellowstone area grizzly population. Reconnecting the Yellowstone population with other grizzly populations is a positive and proactive conservation action that will assure that genetic issues will never threaten this population.
For more information on the 2016 projects and previous years, please visit: http://www.fws.gov/refuges/whm/cooperativeRecoveryInitiative.html.
Because saltmarsh sparrows are small, tracking individual birds has been difficult. Traditional tracking devices are too large and heavy. Now researchers in the Northeast are using nano-technology to track the birds’ migratory habitats and behaviors. (photo by Brian C. Harris)
Tiny Technology Helps Track a Tiny Bird
By Susan Wojtowicz
Technology is amazing. In the Northeast Region, technological advances are allowing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to learn more about animal behavior to better protect animals. One example is nano-technology and the saltmarsh sparrow.
These are tough times for the tiny migratory bird. Its only homes, salt marshes along the Atlantic Coast, are increasingly scarce because of development and rising sea levels. With diminishing habitat, saltmarsh sparrow populations have been decreasing in recent decades. To determine how best to help the sparrows, researchers need to understand how the birds use the marshes upon which they rely. Unfortunately, this information is limited.
What we do know is that the sparrows migrate along the Atlantic Coast, from Maine to Florida, stopping almost exclusively in saltmarshes. They forage for food on the ground and while climbing in grasses – eating insects, small snails, spiders, marine worms and other invertebrates. Unlike many songbirds, males do not have breeding territories; instead, they roam the marshes looking for females, who typically have one brood of two to six hatchlings per year.
Beyond that, many questions are unanswered.
“Very little is known about this species’ migratory pathways or migratory behavior, making conservation of the right habitats difficult,” says Kate O’Brien, a refuge biologist working to conserve saltmarsh sparrow habitat at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Maine. “Because we are responsible for their survival during all phases of their life cycle, it is important for us to understand more about their behavior, how they are using the marshes, and which locations are most important for their survival.”
Because a saltmarsh sparrow weighs about as much as eight pennies, tracking individual birds has been difficult. However, researchers from several Northeastern refuges and partners are using tiny technology to find out what these birds are up to.
The Motus tracking system uses nano-tags, extremely lightweight miniature radio transmitters. All nano-tags transmit at the same frequency, but each tag has an identifiable pulse. A network of towers along the Atlantic Coast picks up the pulse when a tagged bird flies within 12 kilometers of a tower.
Saltmarsh sparrow project partners include Rachel Carson, Parker River and Stewart B. McKinney Refuges, the Rhode Island Refuge Complex, the universities of New Hampshire and Connecticut, and the Saltmarsh Habitat and Avian Research Program.
What does this mean for the saltmarsh sparrow?
The Service is not sure yet. Data are just beginning to come in. However, scientists are already discovering amazing things. For example, preliminary data show that a few saltmarsh sparrows flew from Rachel Carson Refuge to the Connecticut coast, more than 150 miles, in just one day.
As nano-technology reveals more about the behavior of these tiny birds, the Service will be able to answer questions it only hypothesizes now.
Susan Wojtowicz is visitor service specialist at Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in New England.
Record Year for Whooping Crane Survey
A preliminary U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service analysis of aerial surveys indicates that 329 whooping cranes, including 38 juveniles, are in the primary survey area (approximately 153,200 acres) centered on Aransas National Wildlife Refuge near Austwell, TX. The Aransas-Wood Buffalo whooping crane population is the only surviving wild population of whooping cranes in the world.
At least nine birds were noted outside the primary survey area. The survey shows an upward trend in whooping crane abundance over the last five years. Last year, 308 whooping cranes were estimated in the primary survey area.
“This is the highest survey estimate ever documented for this population of whooping cranes,” said Wade Harrell, U.S. Whooping Crane Recovery Coordinator. “We are thrilled to see that these birds continue to increase in number after being so close to extinction only 75 years ago.”
Whooping cranes are one of the rarest birds in North America and are highly endangered. Cranes can survive more than 25 years in the wild. Adults generally reach reproductive age at four or five years, and then lay two eggs, usually rearing only one chick.
For more information about the survey and whooping cranes, go to the Aransas Refuge website, http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Aransas/.
Interior Secretary Offers Vision for Future of Conservation
In remarks at the National Geographic Society on April 19, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell laid out a vision for actions the nation can take to build upon America’s rich conservation legacy and pass on healthy public lands and waters to the next generation.
Jewell called for a “course correction” for conservation that includes inspiring all Americans from all backgrounds to connect with public lands; implementing smart, landscape-level planning to support healthy ecosystems and sustainable development; and greater investments in public lands to prepare for the next century of conservation.
During her remarks, Jewell also announced that the federal government will undertake a first-of-its-kind study to analyze the impact outdoor recreation has on the nation’s economy. The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis feasibility study will present detailed and defensible data on the importance of outdoor recreation as a distinct component of the economy that can help inform decision making and management of public lands and waters.
“By producing credible data on the tangible economic benefits of public lands, we can help the public and Members of Congress better understand the benefits of investing in them,” Jewell said. “Industry estimates show that consumer spending for outdoor recreation is greater than household utilities and pharmaceuticals combined – and yet the federal government has never fully recognized or quantified these benefits. This project is the start of a multi-year effort to count these contributions in a comprehensive and impartial way.”
For more on the outdoor recreation economic report, go to http://on.doi.gov/1Nl8EoE
Ninth Canine Team for Refuge System
Federal wildlife officer Josh Hindman and his police service dog, Ukkie, became the ninth law enforcement canine team in the Refuge System. Because Ukkie, a two-year-old Belgian malinois, was born and bred in Holland, he doesn’t understand English yet. As a result, Hindman gives commands in Dutch – or a version of it.
“A Dutch person might not agree with me, but it’s Dutch,” Hindman told Northwest Public Radio last winter. Hindman and Ukkie are based at Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Washington-Oregon. The complex includes eight refuges and Hanford Reach National Monument. Hindman and Ukkie are available for deployment across the Pacific Region. Ukkie offers protection for Hindman, especially in isolated places at night.
“It’s almost like there are two officers out there,” Hindman says. Ukkie can search for illegal drugs and other articles. He can track people. And he’s very social, the ideal temperament for a canine who interacts often with hunters and their labs. “He’s a hyper ball of energy, but very controlled,” says Hindman.
Like us on Facebook!
The Friends of Erie National Wildlife Refuge has launched a new non-profit page on Facebook. Daily posts will not only keep you informed about the latest news from the group, but will also share some of the most interesting pictures and articles about nature on the internet.
Check us out at: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofErieNWR and don't forget to "Like" us!
Summer Fest Is Coming!
Our annual day-long family event will be held on Saturday June 25th from 10am-4pm. The
theme of this year’s event is “Endangered and Threatened Species”. Activities and
exhibits will include live animals, games and nature crafts. The winners of the 2015 Trash
to Treasure Contest will be announced, and all entries will be on display. A Silent Auction
will be conducted by the Friends of Erie National Wildlife Refuge to raise funds to support
The special event will be held rain or shine!
Help Wanted: Summer Fest Workers
While many of our activities and displays are run by outside partners, there are crafts, games and
activities that are in need of volunteers to man them. Support personal is also needed.
If you have the day, or half the day, on June 25th to donate to this event call the ENWR at
814-789-3585 for more information.
April To Be A Busy Month At The ENWR
Two programs and one event are being held at our Visitor’s Center at 11296 Wood Duck Lane, Guys Mills, PA 16327 in April. All are free and open to the public. Some programs have limited seating, so reserve your spot by calling the Refuge office at 814-789-3585!
Refuge Spring Clean-up. April 3, 1:00 pm - Join our Friends Group as we scour the roadsides of the Refuge for trash during our annual Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful clean-up. Gloves and safety vests will be provided.
“Hummingbirds at Home”. April 15, 6:30 pm - Judy Acker, will introduce participants to National Audubon’s fun new monitoring program called “Hummingbirds at Home” which utilizes an app on your smart phone to report hummingbird sightings and nectar sources. We will then explore interesting and fun facts about our local hummingbirds. The talk will include tips for attracting Hummingbirds to your yard--including what native plants they prefer--as well as information about feeders, food and ways to ensure your yard is a safe and nutritious haven for hummingbirds. A hummingbird feeder craft will follow the talk for those interested in making a feeder to take home. Preregistration is required so we can get enough supplies for the feeder craft.
“Citizen Science at ENWR”. April 23 6:30 pm - Ed Patterson of the Indiana County Parks and Trails will be leading a short program on Salamanders. Guests will be introduced to the Pennsylvania’s Reptile and Amphibian Survey (PARS) a crowd sourced citizen science effort being advanced in partnership between the Mid Atlantic Center for Herpetology and Conservation (MACHAC) the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) via volunteers. Ken Anderson a PFBC Biologist, will provide short tutorial on Frog calls then lead a walk along refuge nature trails to listen for and hopefully record frog vocalizations. Bring a classmate, a kid or a friend, your boots, raincoat, camera and recording device (camera or cell phone); because come rain or shine we are going into the field at dusk to listen for frog calls!
Sponsored by the Friends of the Erie National Wildlife Refuge.
R/V Tiglax: Alaska Maritime Refuge’s Vehicle for Research
By Andrea Medeiros
Imagine working on a ship that takes you 15,000 miles through remote islands, from the Gulf of Alaska to the Bering Sea, in support of conservation. Six U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service jobs provide this opportunity, all operating out of Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge aboard the R/V Tiglax.
“Sometimes you don’t see another ship for days at a time,” says Captain Billy Pepper, who has worked on the Tiglax for more than 20 years and is responsible for the ship as well as hiring and managing the crew. Combined, the captain, first mate, two deckhands, a cook and an engineer have 60-plus-years’ experience sailing the refuge.
Constantly on the move during the six-month field season that starts in April, the crew works 12 hours a day, seven days a week and is always on call. The Tiglax is at sea for extended periods of time without Internet or cell service. Beyond the hours and the isolation, weather, mechanical problems, medical issues and even natural disasters can challenge the crew.
The challenges of working on the Tiglax are counterbalanced by being among rocky islands with spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife and distinctive cultural histories. Every summer more than 40 million seabirds nest on Alaska Maritime Refuge. One of the islands, Buldir, boasts more nesting seabirds than anywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere. The Tiglax also encounters whales, porpoises, seals, sea lions and other marine mammals.
Built in 1987, the 120-foot-long Tiglax plays a critical role in meeting Alaska Maritime Refuge’s research purpose by supporting scientists from the Service, universities, the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and elsewhere.
Umnak and Samalga islands in the eastern Aleutians have been part of the refuge since 1913. Last summer, thanks to the Tiglax, refuge biologists were able to survey the islands’ coastlines for the first time. They discovered tens of thousands of shorebirds in the intertidal zone of Samalga Island, potentially a globally significant resting area for shorebirds on their summer migration.
In 2015, the Tiglax also supported a regular survey of sea otters in the western Aleutians and a second, rare survey on the hard-to-access Pacific Ocean side of Amchitka Island. Both will help biologists better understand sea otters.
What other new discoveries are out there on Alaska Maritime Refuge? The possibility of being part of making a new one keeps the crew of the Tiglax coming back.
Andrea Medeiros is a public affairs specialist in the Alaska Region office in Anchorage.
The R/V Tiglax cruising off Bogoslof Island. Built in 1987, the Tiglax, which means eagle in Aleut, is 120 feet long and has a range of 14,500 miles before refueling is needed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service vessel supports scientific research at Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. More photos: http://bit.ly/1MGt2KZ (Paul Wade)
Stories of Success
By Cynthia Martinez
Chief, National Wildlife Refuge System
Some 380 of the nation’s 1,591 endangered and threatened species find a home on national wildlife refuges. The reason is straightforward: Home is where the habitat is.
So it makes sense that restoring habitat and implementing the best science and management techniques are the roads to recovery for species. Sounds simple. It’s not.
National wildlife refuges and other parts of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have long faced competing demands that can change and tug and pull in different directions. Multi-year projects can be tough to fund from one year to the next. That’s why the Cooperative Recovery Initiative (CRI) is making a difference.
The Service Director some years ago recognized that we needed a focused program that puts combined resources and partnership muscle on refuges and in areas with a close nexus to them if we are to maintain and expand high quality habitat for trust resources. So was born the CRI, a competitive program with specific criteria that gives funding to collaborative projects.
CRI absolutely stresses collaboration – both among Service programs that sometimes operate in silos and with private landowners, who can make all the difference for the health of fish, wildlife and plant species.
The competition for funding has been intense – and beneficial. First there’s the regional selection process. Then the top regional projects are submitted to a national review team that represents all Service programs. A second round of reviews at the Service’s Headquarters has ensured that funding goes to the projects most likely to succeed.
In fact, the need to show results quickly has set CRI apart from other initiatives. CRI not only requires that each project have a monitoring protocol, but it also decides on funding for up to three additional years by considering data that demonstrate a project is making discernible progress.
At the same time, the CRI process incorporates all elements of Strategic Habitat Conservation. Service staff members employ biological planning and design to develop project proposals. Selected proposals are then implemented – the “conservation delivery” step – and results are monitored. The outcomes then feed back into biological planning and adaptive management.
A prime example of CRI success is the Oregon chub, the first fish ever removed from the federal Endangered Species list. The Oregon chub is found only in the Willamette River Basin. Just eight populations and fewer than 1,000 fish were known to exist when it was listed as endangered in 1993. While the minnow’s recovery was thanks to the work of many dedicated Service partners, the CRI invigorated the recovery program and led to the chub’s delisting years earlier than might otherwise have happened.
Collaboration is the key to so much conservation success. It is the centerpiece of the Cooperative Recovery Initiative. Working across program lines and with partners, the Service can recover species listed as threatened and endangered and create a conservation legacy for the next generation.
To read some CRI success stories, go to the January-February issue of Refuge Update.
A Program on Salamanders Scheduled for April
A free wildlife educational family oriented event will be held at Erie National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on Saturday April 23rd from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
Ed Patterson of the Indiana County Parks and Trails will be leading a short program on Salamanders. Guests will be introduced to the Pennsylvania’s Reptile and Amphibian Survey (PARS) a crowd sourced citizen science effort being advanced in partnership between the Mid Atlantic Center for Herpetology and Conservation (MACHAC) the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) via volunteers. Ken Anderson a PFBC Biologist, will provide short tutorial on FROG calls then lead a walk along refuge nature trails to listen for and hopefully record frog vocalizations.
Bring a classmate, a kid or a friend, your boots, raincoat, camera and recording device (camera or cell phone); because come rain or shine we are going into the field at dusk to listen for frog calls.
The program will take place at ENWR Headquarters building located along Route 198E at 11296 Wood Duck Lane, Guys Mills, PA 16327, 3/4 mile east of Guys Mills and 10 miles east of Meadville. For map go here. Please call ENWR and let us know you be there 814-789-3585.
ENWR Spring Clean Up
Spring is here and it's time to think about spring cleaning. Spring Clean Up Day on the Erie National Wildlife Refuge that is! The Clean Up date is scheduled for Sunday, April 3, 2016. Celebrate Earth Day early this year by cleaning up the Refuge! We will be meeting at 1:00pm at the ENWR Visitor's Center in Guys Mills.
The Friends group will resechedule if the weather is inclement. If you can't attend with us, look up other clean-up opportunities on http://www.keeppabeautiful.org/.
This event is open to adults and families alike! Hope to see you there!
New Officers Elected For Friends of ENWR
At the latest Board of Directors meeting the officers for 2016 were elected. Most will be new to their positions this year. Michael Vargo was elected to be our new President; Autumn White will be our new Secretary; Vicki Pratt is our new Treasurer; and Ronald Leberman will remain as Vice President.
The remaining members of your board are Lisa Helmbreck, Rich Eakin, Doug Copeland, Linda Anderson, Ken Pratt, and Kathleen Palmer.
Remember the Board of Directors meeting is open to all members or anyone else that is interested. Meetings are usually held the third Monday of the month but sometimes they need to be moved to the fourth if it falls on a government holiday. Check the date on our website at www.friendsofenwr.org. Your input is always welcome.
Upcoming Programs At The Erie National Wildlife Refuge
There are two educational programs coming to the ENWR this Winter and Spring. Both these programs will be held at the ENWR Headquarters Building,11296 Wood Duck Lane, Guys Mills.
French Creek Watershed History - February 26
Judy Acker, Outreach Project Coordinator for Audubon Pennsylvania will present a talk on the History of the French Creek Watershed. Her talk will begin with glacial impacts on the watershed through the Native American and French influence to the Spa Era and the unique role freshwater mussels played within the French Creek watershed! Come find out how our unique and varied local history helped shape life in the French Creek Valley!
Hummingbirds @ Home - April 15
Judy Acker, Outreach Project Coordinator for Audubon Pennsylvania will introduce participants to National Audubon’s fun new monitoring program called “Hummingbirds at Home” which utilizes an app on your smart phone to report hummingbird sightings and nectar sources. Acker will then explore interesting and fun facts about our local hummingbirds. Her talk will include tips for attracting Hummingbirds to your yard--including what native plants they prefer--as well as information about feeders, food and ways to ensure your yard is a safe and nutritious haven for hummingbirds. A hummingbird feeder craft will follow the talk for those interested in making a feeder to take home. Preregistration is required so we can get enough supplies for the feeder craft