Saturday, December 29, 2012

Best of 2012: 7) Connecting people with nature

We're bringing in the new year with a look back at our milestones for 2012. Check back each day for featured events and activities from across the Northeast!

Volunteer at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in
New Jersey releases a mourning dove after a bird banding
program at the refuge. Credit: Larry West
Released mourning doves, ensured that sea turtle hatchlings made it to the ocean safely, and monitored bat species. Those are just a few of the activities Service volunteers and youth employees had the chance to do while working at national wildlife refuges, field offices, and other Service facilities in 2012. As a natural resource agency, we strive to connect people with nature in meaningful ways that inspire and empower them to take action and make positive changes in natural resource conservation.

Within the Northeast Region, more than 7,000 volunteers donated nearly 250,000 hours of time towards work in natural resource conservation on Service lands and in Service programs. Volunteers made vital contributions in biological management programs, maintenance of buildings, boardwalks, and trails, conducting environmental education programs and in overall daily upkeep of Service stations. Below are a few highlights.

In July, volunteers from the Coastal Bay Stewards and Boy Scouts Venturing Crew 2012 joined biologists from the Chesapeake Bay Field Office and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to band over 600 young brown pelicans on Smith Island in Virginia. The banding will help document and monitor the expanding bird population and understand the expansion of brown pelicans north along the Atlantic Coast.

An employee holds a brown pelican as the band is attached.
Credit: Pete McGowan/USFWS

In March, over 70 volunteers led by members of the New Jersey Beach Buggy Association removed two 20-yard dumpsters full of trash and debris from the Holgate Unit at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey. The cleanup will help protect beach nesting birds, including the federally endangered piping plover.

CDIP interns work in visitor services,
biological and maintenance programs.
Credit: Lamar Gore/USFWS
Young people are essential to the continued success of natural resource conservation and the work of the Service. This past year nearly 230 young people worked for the Northeast Region, as we continued to expose young people to the benefits of environmental conservation. The Service was awarded The Wildlife Society’s 2012 Diversity Award, recognizing the Career Discovery Internship Program (CDIP). The program focuses on hiring freshman and sophomore college students from diverse backgrounds. In its fifth year, CDIP has expanded to four Service geographic regions, including Alaska.

More Resources:
Get involved: Youth
Get involved: Volunteers 

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