Plymouth graduate student Jamie Sydoriak is transforming complex problems into simple actions, and mere opportunities into concrete actions.
In the Upper Valley of the Connecticut River in Vermont and New Hampshire, Jamie is providing interested landowners, one by one, with the means to help declining grassland bird populations on their properties. Following up on a 2013 bird survey and a landowner survey, Jamie is talking with anyone interested in managing their land to help the birds. Armed with information ranging from management recommendations to incentive programs, Jamie is connecting with landowners to discuss their options.
In these early weeks of her outreach efforts, Jamie reports that the interest from landowners has exceeded her expectations. Over 100 landowners have expressed interest so far. Each landowner receives user-friendly tips, tools, and resources, including a calendar showing the timing of bird nesting and suggested mowing dates. Jamie has even written a brief management plan for the Lebanon, NH airport, whose manager has agreed to delay mowing in certain areas not in conflict with airport activities.
A partnership between the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, NH Audubon, and Plymouth State University, “Conserving Grassland Bird Habitat in the Upper Valley” will help landowners provide quality grassland habitat for bird species that have been losing habitat in the Northeast and even in the “core” of their breeding range, such as in the Midwest.
Jamie’s efforts mark the first phase of a broader effort. Her successful initiative serves as a pilot for a similar, New England-wide grassland bird survey and outreach initiative, to be launched in May. Stay tuned!