Volunteer Experience: Black Tern Habitat Enhancement Project

KLT volunteers loading up the platforms in canoes to take out onto the Creek

Volunteer Experience: Black Tern Habitat Enhancement Project
By: Patricia Wilson, KLT Volunteer

Volunteering with KLT has been an amazing and fun learning opportunity for me. Getting the chance to work and collaborate with other individuals who are passionate about the environment and about protecting and preserving the lands we love has been a rewarding and amazing experience.

The Black Tern Habitat Enhancement Days (Saturday April 15th & Wednesday April 19th) in particular has been an incredible experience because I was able to see the project from start to finish. From creating the Best Management Practices for constructing and installing Black Tern nests to actually getting the opportunity to go out to the Emily Creek Property and place them within the wetland. Throughout this experience I was able to research and learn about the Black Terns, a species I was unfamiliar with, and learn about why they are at-risk (they show a decline of 61 percent in the last 30 years!). I learned their ideal nesting habitat and how to look for potential nesting sites, egg survival rate, and distribution and migration patterns. I was also able to meet with an MNRF researcher who has spent the last few years researching and conducting field work on Black Terns. From this I was able to get her expertise on nest placement and learn helpful tips from her research.

KLT volunteers Alex & Patricia re-meshing platforms.
KLT volunteers Alex & Patricia re-meshing platforms.

 

What I enjoyed most about this project was getting the chance to be outside, enjoying nature with other volunteers and applying the knowledge I had gained from creating the Best Management Practices and applying it in the field. Covering the nesting platforms with marsh vegetation and then taking the platforms out in canoes to put them along the watercourse was a really cool experience and a ton of fun! Despite the mild rain we were able to observe several bird species as we worked such as Red-winged Blackbirds, Kingfishers, American Bittern, Red-tailed Hawk, Loons and Geese and we heard the mating calls of Wood Frogs and Northern Leopard Frogs.

KLT volunteers loading up the platforms in canoes to take out onto the Creek
KLT volunteers loading up the platforms in canoes to take out onto Emily Creek

This project was important since the Black Terns are a species in decline. Both protecting wetlands and enhancing these environments by providing viable nesting options is crucial in the conservation of this species. Over two days with a small team of awesome volunteers we were able to put out 20 platforms along the creek, providing the Terns with 20 more options to nest in this pristine wetland environment. This will give the at-risk Black Terns that inhabit this protected space, a better chance of raising chicks and building a healthy local population.

Decorating the nesting platforms with marsh vegetation and mud.
Decorating the nesting platforms with marsh vegetation and mud.

 

Patricia Wilson has been volunteering with KLT since August 2016. She has a degree from Trent University in Biology with a specialization in Conservation Biology and is enrolled in the Ecosystem Management program at Fleming College for September. Patricia is very passionate about the environment and conservation, we are grateful to have her on our team of volunteers!

1 of 20 nesting platforms put out along the Emily Creek watercourse.
1 of 20 nesting platforms put out along the Emily Creek watercourse.

 

At Kawartha Land Trust our volunteers are the heart and soul of what we do. We feel very fortunate to have a large, enthusiastic and dedicated volunteer base with a range of talents who give us the gift of their time to help us accomplish our land securement and stewardship goals for the Kawarthas and engage the community in support of this work.

In 2016, over 90 KLT volunteers, who care about protecting important natural areas in the Kawarthas gave over 6,000 hours of their time to help care for and protect the land you love!

As we continue to grow, so does our need for volunteers to help with our many projects.

If you’re interested in joining our team of volunteers contact us today!