Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Partnering to save endangered animals: Rhode Island

We're so excited about the new interactive map highlighting endangered species efforts in each state across the nation. Each day we'll feature a state, partner and animal. Subscribe on the right to keep up!

From the beginning, Avalonia Land Conservancy recognized Sandy Point Island as a treasure, a property unlike any others it owned – a sandy island enough removed from the shore to provide isolation and uniqueness while still close to home, says its former president Anne Nalwalk.

When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began to monitor the use of the island by various shorebirds, the true value of Sandy Point as a nature preserve became most apparent. Avalonia has been amazed to learn the importance of Sandy Point to shorebirds that use it for nesting, resting and staging. Read the story.

Binti Ackley, a volunteer at Sandy Point, helps tag horseshoe crabs, watch
and protect shorebird nests and chicks, and educate visitors. Credit: John Ackley

Here are some other stories featured on Rhode Island’s page:
  • Sandplain gerardia: This relative of the snapdragon grows in native grasslands that were historically maintained by fire, cutting and grazing. Without them, the plant is crowded out by shrubs and weeds.  
  • Roseate tern: Commercial hunting for trade and women’s fashions in the late 19th century decimated the nesting population, as it did for most seabirds. Today, loss of available nesting sites has restricted breeding birds, sending them closer to mainland areas and predators such as gulls, foxes and owls.
  • Atlantic Coast piping plover: Find out how human activities affect this dainty, sand-colored shorebird on both its breeding and wintering grounds.  
  • New England cottontail: This native rabbit’s population has plummeted over the last several decades, and though it’s disappeared from 86 percent of its historical range, the rabbit can be found in New Hampshire.
 Take a minute to check out one of the people whose work helps protect these rare plants and animals in Rhode Island

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