Christopher Lajewski

Engaging Homeschoolers in Montezuma Wetlands Complex Habitat Restoration

The homeschool community represents a significant portion of the Montezuma Audubon Center's (MAC) program attendees. The demand for MAC's programs has grown each year to the point where center staff now offer three classes each month for 5-12 year olds, up from one class per month. For his project, Christopher will collaborate with the business community to begin a homeschool seed propagation project that will help restore the forests, wetlands, and grasslands at Montezuma. Homeschoolers ages 5-12 will be in the Youth HSNS while homeschoolers ages 13-18 will be in the Teen HSNS. Both groups will work side by side with Audubon, NYSDEC, and USFWS staff and volunteers to collect native plant seeds that will be propagated by Synapse Partners, LLC. The children will then plant the trees, shrubs, and wildflowers as part of the HSNS curriculum to restore habitat in this globally significant Important Bird Area. The conservation goal for the project is to restore 100 acres of forest, wetland, and grassland habitat in the Montezuma Wetlands Complex for the Cerulean Warbler, American Black Duck, and Bobolink, respectively. These birds have been identified in Audubon's strategic plan as birds of conservation priority.

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