Birder's Guide

MAY 2015

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 25 of 35

GLADE • Inspiring a New Generation 24 Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community | May 2015 ensure its survival during its journey? How are these similar to the characteristics one needs to be a successful person? In this way, the bird's story, in fgurative terms, serves as inspiration and motivation to the develop- ing leaders. When the mist nets are unfurled on a cool Ozarks morning, the students are eager to band birds. A young naturalist scurries through the underbrush and cries out from the oak-and-hickory-dominated forest. "Got one!" A bird struggles awkwardly in the nearly invisible mist net. Curious teens gather around, trying to discern the sights and sounds in the slanting rays of the morn- ing light. As the entangled bird hangs help- lessly, it is calmly approached by the bander and skillfully removed from the net. The feld marks become increasingly visible. In protective hands, the tiny bird emerges and springs to its upright position. It is an Amer- ican Redstart, one of about 60 Neotropical bird species that return to the Ozarks each spring and summer to raise young. GLADE bird-banding activity is part of the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Sur- vivorship (MAPS) research program of the Institute for Bird Populations. While care- fully adhering to the established protocol, GLADE banders Andrew Kinslow and Dr. Janice Greene use migration maps, photo- graphs, and iPad apps to complement the hands-on learning taking place. With Pyle's Identifcation Guide to North American Birds always within easy reach, birds are mea- sured, aged, sexed, weighed, evaluated, banded, and passed around to awestruck teens. Adult mentors share their personal glimpses into the lives of these birds of two worlds. Kinslow's favorite story involves the lifespan and navigation abilities of one particular Louisiana Waterthrush, which returned to the Homestead Springs Farm and Research Station and was netted in the exact-same location for nine years in a row from 1999 to 2007! As the week progresses, participants immerse in nature, and their journals be- gin to record desired outcomes. Brooke Widmar, an enthusiastic 17-year-old from Ozark, Missouri, refects on her experi- ence, explaining that GLADE is teaching her scientifc and communication skills that are important in addressing the plight of these long-distant migrants. She elaborates: "How many kids get to hold a Neotropical bird in their hands? How many kids get to say they helped restore habitat for an en- dangered warbler?" During the course of the academy, team- building challenges are invaluable in teach- ing leadership styles and the dynamics of group interaction, and in reinforcing indi- vidual strengths. However, these simulated activities cannot compare with the personal growth and development that occurs when the GLADE team actively engages in an authentic conservation challenge head-on. For this reason, GLADE youth take on the real-world work of restoring vital habitat for two species of special concern in the White River Glades and Woodlands Important Bird Area (IBA). Swainson's Warblers are elusive and dif- fcult to observe, even though their song is loud and distinctive. In Missouri, at the northwestern extreme of their geographic range, they reside in the canebrakes of ri- parian habitats. Due to reservoir construc- tion and land-use changes, Swainson's Warblers are now absent from many areas of Missouri where they once enjoyed a sus- tainable population, including this IBA. That is where GLADE comes in. In 2004, GOAS, in collaboration with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), purchased a backhoe attachment that could be used to transplant Giant Cane (Arundinaria gigantea)—a native bamboo— from established canebrakes to temporary plots. In the summer of 2009, the attach- ment was used when GLADE youth joined MDC workers to transplant more than 100 large cane clumps. The two-acre canebrake established in this effort is spreading well, and similar restoration efforts have been At the end of a successful day of cane restoration, pride resonates from the entire group. We hope a full week's immersion in nature inspires and empowers GLADE participants to further affect positive change in Ozarks communities and ecosystems. Photo © Kelsey Rumley

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