Home
Field Notes
 
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Happy-Faced Spider Cohort Visits the Lenape National Wildlife Refuge Complex
Northeast Region, April 17, 2018
Print Friendly Version
Laurel Gould from the Friends of Great Swamp accepts a thank you poster from the Happy-Faced Spiders.
Laurel Gould from the Friends of Great Swamp accepts a thank you poster from the Happy-Faced Spiders. - Photo Credit: USFWS Staff
The cohort was able to demo the Archery in Motion (AIM) trailer’s portable archery range between presentations.
The cohort was able to demo the Archery in Motion (AIM) trailer’s portable archery range between presentations. - Photo Credit: USFWS Staff
Presentations covered a wide array of topics. Here, Chelsea Utter, Refuge Specialist, talks about the mentored hunting programs that take place at Wallkill River NWR.
Presentations covered a wide array of topics. Here, Chelsea Utter, Refuge Specialist, talks about the mentored hunting programs that take place at Wallkill River NWR. - Photo Credit: USFWS Staff

On April 17th and 18th, the 2018 Refuge Academy Happy-Faced Spiders Cohort, took a field trip to the Great Swamp and Cherry Valley Refuges of the Lenape National Wildlife Refuge Complex. During the two-day stint, the cohort learned about the various programs the Complex manages, challenges that arise, and how the staff overcome them.
The cohort arrived at Great Swamp on the first day, where staff from Wallkill River and Great Swamp came together to greet them. Mike Horne, Refuge Manager and Lia McLaughlin, Deputy Refuge Manager gave a quick introduction of the Refuge Complex then turned it over to the rest of the staff for presentations. Jon Rosenberg, Visitor Services Manager, covered the hunting programs and human-wildlife interactions in the suburban landscape around Great Swamp, with special emphasis on black bear management. Dave Miller, Engineering Equipment Operator, talked about habitat management challenges around the Complex and how the staff handled equipment breakdowns, weather, and other sub-optimal situations in order to complete on-the-ground habitat work. The Great Swamp day concluded with a tour lead by George Molnar, Contaminants Biologist, and Marilyn Kitchell, Wildlife Biologist, of the Wilderness Area and its challenges that include powerlines, pipelines, and Superfund landfills.
The second day was spent at Cherry Valley NWR where presentations were held in the clubhouse at the former Cherry Valley Golf Course. Refuge Officer, Mike McMenamin, talked about the law enforcement challenges of the Complex and the incredible amount of ground he covers to patrol and stay on top of situations at all five of the refuges. Bog turtle conservation efforts in the Complex were covered by Colin Osborn, Fish and Wildlife Biologist. Lia McLaughlin and Chelsea Utter, Refuge Specialist, talked about urban and youth partnerships and outreach initiatives of the Lenape Complex which included a demonstration of our new Reels on Wheel (ROW) and Archery in Motion (AIM) trailers designed for mobile fishing and archery programs. The Happy-Faced Spiders got to enjoy shooting some archery before going back inside for more presentations.
The day continued on with a talk from Ken Witkowski, Biological Science Technician, on the grassland restoration project at Shawangunk Grasslands Refuge which concluded in 2011 but packed a multitude of management challenges. Jesse Mihatov, Maintenance Mechanic, brought things back to a present day restoration project, covering the restoration efforts completed and on-going at the Cherry Valley Golf Course tract. Chelsea Utter brought the group out for a short walking tour of the restoration sites to point out areas where greens and tee boxes once were but are now growing with native vegetation. The stream restoration area was the highlight with a live demonstration of volunteers and the American Conservation Experience interns diligently at work re-decking one of the bridges over the stream.
After the tour and lunch, the day wrapped up with presentations on the Rails to Trails project at Wallkill River NWR, the Housatonic Focus Area of Great Thicket and how it is being managed by the Complex, and a quick plug on the mentored hunting and fishing programs that take place at Wallkill River NWR.
The two day tour was packed with a ton of information and great discussions between the Happy-Faced Spiders and refuge staff. It also served as a fun way for refuge staff to showcase the projects they have been working on to fellow FWS counterparts.


Contact Info: Daniel Correa, 9083670906, daniel_correaserna@fws.gov
Find a Field Notes Entry

Search by keyword

Search by State




Search by Region


US Fish and Wildlife Service footer