Harnessing the Power of Community to Protect a Park and its Birds
As both a scientist and an educator, Mark LaBarr understands the importance of translating science into practical, relevant terms for people. Mark has been a conservation leader in his community for two decades, and has used this philosophy to build valuable relationships with community leaders, landowners, and local groups to help protect migratory birds.
Mark's project focused on providing management recommendations to the Charlotte Park Wildlife Refuge Oversight Committee to be included in their updated management plan. A focus of these recommendations is exploring ways to maintain the shrubland habitat while removing invasive species. He also spent lots of time working with 5th grade students at the Charlotte Central School. Through his curriculum, each student adopted a Champlain Valley priority bird species and undertook a number of written and artistic projects about “their bird." In addition Mark held a Bird Day where the kids watched him band birds and built their own nest boxes.
By engaging the local community in its protection, Mark hopes to demonstrate the value of this park – not only to the birds, but to the community itself.