Mass Audubon staff have recently coordinated the donation of a much-needed Leica scope for staff at La Milpa Lodge, Belize. The scope was donated through the American Birding Association’s Birders’ Exchange program, which collects and distributes donated equipment for bird and habitat conservation throughout Latin American and the Caribbean.
Bird Conservation’s Jeff Collins with Vladimir Rodriguez and the newly donated Leica scope in Belize
Bird Conservation’s Jeff Collins delivered the scope while leading a Mass Audubon tour group around Belize. The scope was delivered to Vladimir Rodriguez, a field station manager in the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area in northwestern Belize. Vladimir is a graduate of the International Intern Program, a partnership program of ABA’s Birders’ Exchange and Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center.
Along with the Mass Audubon tour group and the Belizian staff from the lodge, Vladimir and Jeff put the scope to good use right away. Birding highlights included a Red-capped Manakin and Chestnut-collared Woodpecker. Read more about Mass Audubon’s long history of conservation work in Belize.
A Mass Audubon tour group enjoying the birding in La Milpa, Belize
Hannah Lyons-Galante in New Mexico
Hannah Lyons-Galante just returned from attending a field trip to central New Mexico with a group of 12 undergraduate students from Harvard University, Professor Richard Forman, and another teaching assistant. The students are all studying Environmental Science and Public Policy, which was Hannah’s major at Harvard, and the focus of the field trip was Ecology and Land-use Planning.
Staying at the field station at Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, the first three days of the trip were spent outside absorbing the ecology of the Great Plains grassland, Chihuahuan desert, and flood plain of the Rio Grande. This included a visit to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge to see thousands of Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese, as well as Northern Pintails, roadrunners, kestrels, Northern Harriers, American Coots, and more! The next three days were spent learning about the people living in central New Mexico and their needs.
These activities culminated in the students working together in small groups to create a land-use plan for the region. Presenting their plans to a panel of local experts, the students gained first-hand experience of the challenges faced by communities to create effective land-use plans; plans that take into account every citizen’s needs, and those of the plants and animals they share the landscape with. This is especially difficult in a desert climate where water is so scarce. Hannah certainly enjoyed this wonderful opportunity to mentor undergraduates, many of whom are interested in conservation. She highly recommends taking a trip down to New Mexico in the winter time: a land of sun, wide-open vistas, and excellent birding.