Home
Field Notes
 
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
ARCATA FWO: Fourth Grade Snowy Plover Art Contest
Midwest Region, June 12, 2013
Print Friendly Version
Winners of the Snowy Plover Art Contest at Dows Prairie Elementary School.
Winners of the Snowy Plover Art Contest at Dows Prairie Elementary School. - Photo Credit: Liisa Schmoele/USFWS
The fourth graders of Dows Prairie Elementary School showing off snowy plover refrigerator magnets they made.
The fourth graders of Dows Prairie Elementary School showing off snowy plover refrigerator magnets they made. - Photo Credit: Liisa Schmoele/USFWS
A snowy plover and its chicks, by Chelsea Rodriguez of Dows Prairie Elementary School.
A snowy plover and its chicks, by Chelsea Rodriguez of Dows Prairie Elementary School. - Photo Credit: USFWS
A snowy plover tending the nest, by Jackson Franklin of Dows Prairie Elementary School.
A snowy plover tending the nest, by Jackson Franklin of Dows Prairie Elementary School. - Photo Credit: USFWS

Western snowy plovers have some new friends in Humboldt County, California: the fourth graders at Dows Prairie Elementary School in McKinleyville. These students participated in a snowy plover art contest to help inform the public of how important it is to share the shore with our avian friends.

In Humboldt County, western snowy plovers come back year after year to nest at Clam Beach. The trouble is that Clam Beach happens to be one of the most heavily utilized beaches in the county: clammers, equestrians, dog-walkers, and general beach-goers love Clam Beach! Finding a balance between habitat for snowy plovers and recreation isn't easy.

Symbolic fencing and volunteers help to inform the public of critical areas to stay out of during nesting season, but seasonal gate closures eliminating favorite shortcuts to protect habitat are not well-received. One such gate along the McKinleyville portion of the Hammond Trail, a popular pedestrian, cyclist, and equestrian trail, is the target of incessant vandalism.

Susan Neel-Goodsir and Liisa Schmoele from the Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office visited Dows Prairie Elementary School and had a conversation with the students about western snowy plovers, their importance to our beach and dune ecosystems, and how the students could help snowy plovers. The art contest started by the Arcata FWO is part of a larger plan to help Hammond Trail users better understand the need for seasonal access closures, and hopefully, reduce vandalism to fencing along the trail. The snowy plover art created by the fourth graders will be used on informational signs explaining seasonal gate closures and alternate beach access locations.

Informational and educational signs are a temporary measure until a long-term solution can be developed. The Arcata FWO is working closely with the California Department of Transportation and Humboldt County to do that. In the meantime, field office staff hope that connecting these signs to students and their parents (and therefore the McKinleyville community) will afford them greater respect and instill a sense of appreciation for the natural world in the next generation of residents.

 

Liisa Schmoele is a U. S. Fish and Wildlife Biologist in Endangered Species at the Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office in California.


Contact Info: Liisa Schmoele, (707) 822-7201, liisa_schmoele@fws.gov



Send to:
From:

Notes:
Find a Field Notes Entry

Search by keyword

Search by State




Search by Region


US Fish and Wildlife Service footer