An Environmental Educator During COVID-19

Being in quarantine has many pitfalls, but one (dare I say) silver lining is that communities are going outside, exploring their local parks and people seem more attuned to wildlife. Overnight it seems many of my friends and family have become enthusiastic birders. This week I was able to take a break from virtual learning and do some birdwatching myself! I was able to join Margaret Fowle, a conservation biologist with Audubon Vermont, out in the field to survey for bobolinks. If you do not know what a bobolink is, I highly suggest you look up this wonderful, strange grassland bird. Its call has been likened to R2D2. 

We were surveying for The Bobolink Project, a Mass Audubon initiative that both Vermont and New Hampshire Audubon’s have joined. The Bobolink Project uses donated funds to provide financial assistance to participating farmers who modify their mowing schedules so that grassland nesting birds, like the bobolink, can successfully complete their breeding cycle and raise their young. So, we visited a few landowner's properties to wade through grasses that extended above my shoulder in some areas and walk transects throughout the fields to count both male and female bobolinks. We paid special attention to the females because if you know how many there are then you roughly know how many nests to expect from a field. Participating in the project with Margaret was such a great change of pace and provided an opportunity for the two of us to complete a project together for the first time - not to mention she is the coolest. I am hopeful I'll get to do more conservation projects before the end of my term, but in the meantime, I'll be helping create Audubon Vermont's first ever virtual camp. 

I do not have a mask on in the photo because it was 90+ degrees out in this field, but rest assured we kept our distance! 

If you'd like to know more about the Bobolink Project visit: https://www.bobolinkproject.com/