President's Corner
Sharyn Magee

Citizen Science

The first step in intelligent conservation is knowing which species are present in a given area. Unfortunately, conservation is not a high priority in our culture and salaried naturalists are too few to collect all the data we need to make informed decisions about conservation, especially on the local level. Citizen Science helps to fill in this knowledge gap. The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and National Audubon jointly sponsor several Citizen Science programs that help collect the vital data we need to make good conservation decisions. We urge our members to participate in these projects. eBird allows easy access to Citizen Science. On the most basic level, take a walk and record the birds you see and hear in eBird. Go to the next level by counting the number of each species you encounter. Adopt a local patch and bird and eBird it regularly. You are now helping the conservation effort more than you realize.

As President of WCAS, I am frequently asked questions on various conservation issues ranging from habitat management to utility right-of-way alignments. Since I cannot personally survey every affected property, I rely on eBird to find out which birds are using which areas and at what time of year. The more data points on the eBird maps and bar graphs, the better the advice I can give. Please help me by putting more data points on the map.

D&R Greenway Land Trust and Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space need help monitoring birds on their reserves to help them design better management protocols for their properties and to evaluate their existing management practices. Monitoring birds gives a good approximation of habitat quality and shifts in bird populations can indicate changes in habitat quality. Consider adopting a reserve and visiting it as often as you can.

I especially urge any of our members who own or have access to properties affected by the proposed PennEast pipeline to bird the properties and establish an eBird account for that property. Enter the location in eBird as a “hot spot” so the location will be a public, shared location and not a private, unshared location. It is especially important to note the presence of New Jersey Threatened and Endangered Species on or near the pipeline route. Cutting through farmlands, the pipeline route goes through prime habitat for the American Kestrel, a threatened New Jersey species and the fastest declining raptor in Eastern North American. I rely on your observations to determine the effect the proposed pipe line route will have on our birds and their habitats.

View other President's Messages from Sharyn:

  1. Connections - Baldpate Mountain
  2. The Silent Crisis
  3. Protect Preserved Land
  4. Comments on PennEast's Draft FERC Resource Report 3
  5. Citizen Science
  6. PennEast Pipeline Proposal — A BAD IDEA!

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Last revision: Monday, August 29, 2016