Join the Shu Crew to help restore one of the finest preserves on Long Island by controlling English ivy, a non native invasive plant species that is threatening this sensitive ecosystem. Wear clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting muddy and please bring garden gloves if you have them. Tasty snacks and extra gloves will be provided to the volunteers.
Spring is the breeding season for many birds, but what does that entail? Before nestlings can be produced, a lot has to happen! From claiming territories to enticing a partner to raising young, tonight we will cover the basics, the mysteries, and the complexities of avian reproduction of some common, and not-so-common, birds of Long Island.
Tallgrass prairies once covered 140 millions acres across the United States. Today, all that remains is between 1 and 4%. Short and mixed grass prairies are also declining. As grasslands are our fastest declining habitats, so are the birds utilize them. Of the 48 species of birds breeding in grasslands, approximately 50% of them are in trouble. Tonight we will explore these vanishing ecosystems and their inhabitants.
Message from the HOBAS President Stella Miller
The Year in Review: Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon in 2014
Happy New Year to all of our wonderful supporters and friends! As we move forward into the New Year, I want to take a moment to catch you up on some of our efforts from the past year. None of these would have been possible without your remarkable support and I want to thank each and every one of you!
Sharing Our Beaches with Threatened Birds Awareness Campaign
In March, HOBAS hosted a workshop as part of Audubon New York's "Be a Good Egg" campaign. Youngsters learned about beach nesting birds with an interactive program, where they tested their knowledge and learned how interesting, important and imperiled these birds are. After the program, the kids turned artsy and created posters which were made into signs and posted at Hobart Beach in Northport to educate the public and help protect the birds’ nesting grounds. Over the summer we hosted two Awareness Days at Hobart, educating the public about beach nesting birds. Educating children about birds is a great start. Allowing them to help protect birds by giving them an opportunity to make a real difference offers them ownership of conservation efforts and a sense of accomplishment. These kids were not just making a craft to be taken home and eventually discarded; they were making a difference in the lives of birds and they understood this. We hope to expand this program into a broader conservation through art effort and look forward to growing this campaign in 2015!
Restoration Project at Shu Swamp
We continue to document the return of spring ephemeral wildflowers in the area where we have been pulling English ivy. In addition, we have observed a noticeable decrease in the amount of garlic mustard growing in the preserve. While there are other nonnative plant species in Shu, we are focusing on these two species to determine if long-term efforts will pay off.
Grassland Restoration at Underhill and Stillwell Woods Preserves
In 2014 we hired a consultant to conduct a comprehensive survey and mapping of the nonnative invasive plant species at Underhill Preserve in Jericho. This report, along with management recommendations provided to us by our other paid consultants, have been submitted to the NYSDEC, the property owners. Over in Syosset, we have been working with Nassau County to restore grassland and meadow habitat at Stillwell Woods Preserve. Our fantastic volunteers, the Habitat Heroes, worked over 500 collective hours between June and October, pulling non-native invasive plant species and planting pilot areas of milkweed seed. In the spring, we will plant milkweed plugs to increase our chances of success in these plot. We also hired a consultant to make recommendations for management of the field and hope to raise major funding to implement these recommendations in 2015.
Funding a Native Pollinator Garden at Former Exxon Mobile Site
We are sponsoring a native pollinator garden at the North Shore Land Alliance's grassland restoration site in Cold Spring Harbor. Ground breaking will be in the spring. We hope to continue to sponsor native gardens such as this within our chapter territory to help provide habitat for wildlife as well as to educate the public on the importance of going native!
Nature Camp Scholarships
Children who play outside have better self-esteem, enhanced brain development, are more creative and curious, and possess a sense of connectedness to the environment, as well as well as their communities. Exposure to the outdoors is vital in the development of a healthy, smart and well-rounded child and also fosters a sense of responsibility and passion for our natural world. In 2014 we sponsored 14 scholarships for underserved children to attend nature camp at the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center and Sea Stars Marine Camp in Northport. To help raise funds as we work to send even more children each year, we have established the Bill Reeves Scholarship Fund, in memory of our beloved late board member, Bill Reeves.
Regional Efforts-Preserving Plum Island
As founding members of the Preserve Plum Island Coalition (which now boasts over 55 organizations) we are active in efforts to preserve the island from development. The latest news: The NYSDEC has allocated funding for the NY Natural Heritage to conduct extensive field inventory on Plum Island in 2015.
Global Efforts-Guatemalan Scholarships
We understand that conservation is a global effort. We are in our third year of providing scholarships for two young Guatemalan women to attend agro-ecology camp, continue their schooling and receive training so that they can educate children about birds. "Our" birds spend a significant amount of time in the tropics and it is critical that we protect them along their entire migratory journey by educating local people that have can significant impact on whether or not birds have a strong starting point as they begin their treks north. We are working on creating a page on our website dedicated to this initiative. Keep an eye out in 2015!
Education, Awareness and Advocacy
Education and advocacy are critical components of our work. From various partnerships such as the Long Island Clean Water Partnership, Community Cloud Forest Conservation and the Herring Alliance to outreach to groups such as the Long Island Flyers and homeowners associations, we continually educate and advocate about wildlife and habitat. In addition, our newly updated website is easier to navigate and provides comprehensive information and resources. Our volunteer corps has grown in leaps and bounds and our prestigious speaker programs, field trips and volunteer events educate, inspire and connect people to our natural world.
If you haven’t joined us yet at one of our events or programs, please do. We would love to see you! If you are interested in joining a committee or our board of directors, please reach out to me. I would love to hear from you!
And finally, best wishes for a safe, healthy and happy New Year. I truly hope it is a wonderful one for all of you.
More than a year ago, Hurricane Sandy breached the freshwater West Pond in the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge (JBWR) located in Queens, New York City. JBWR is part of the National Park Service’s Gateway National Recreation Area and is a very popular destination because of its diverse wildlife and the opportunity to see many of the 330 species of birds that have been recorded there. Now salt water flows freely from the bay into the West Pond, and has utterly destroyed its prized freshwater ecosystem. Before Sandy, the pond teemed with a diversity of birds and other wildlife at all seasons, but now it is virtually devoid of interesting wildlife. The National Park Service has not acted to restore the pond and is making decisions that could potentially result in the permanent loss of this avian oasis!
The 45-acre West Pond, situated along the Atlantic flyway, was the only significant freshwater habitat in the coastal ecosystem of New York City. It is listed as an international Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International and the National Audubon Society.
The West Pond used to be home to many breeding and migratory waterfowl and coastal birds. Several of these species are listed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as Species of Greatest Conservation Need. In addition, the area around the West Pond had been critical nesting habitat for the threatened Diamondback Terrapinand a great variety of butterflies and other insect life.
The NPS and Gateway National Recreation Area are considering restoration options, and there is a real risk that they will decide not to restore the West Pond at all (see The New York Times, February 10, 2014). The time for action is now. Tell the National Park Service that you want the West Pond restored, to support freshwater habitat for birds and other wildlife. By signing this petition, you will help to restore this local, national and international treasure.