First Impressions 2018

The first week of Project Wild America 2018 is already over! The week’s theme was Roger Tory Peterson and birds, and we stuffed quite a bit into it. The crew held up strong and stuck with us, or at least it seemed so, but they will tell you their First Impressions below.

Makenna Graham: The first week of Project Wild America was really interesting and a lot of fun. This is my second year with the program, and it’s really amazing to get to experience the wildlife in our area again. We’ve had several rainy days, and some days that were almost too hot to stand, but we still find productive and fun activities to do and involve the community. This week we did bird banding, turtle trapping, and dragonfly and damselfly catching. We also attended the bike path opening at Chadakoin Park, where we saw many enthusiastic community members eager to explore. Overall, the first week with Project Wild America’s 2018 crew was very fun and I look forward to the adventures we will have throughout the summer!

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Picture By Anna Burt of a Meadow Hawk Dragonfly

Abbi Warner: My first week working with Project Wild America was amazing. We went bird banding and turtle trapping. Unfortunately, we didn’t catch any turtles but we did catch about 15 birds. I loved the bird trapping. Holding the different birds in hand, feeling their faint heartbeats was so amazing. I never would have thought I would ever in my whole life hold a wild bird like that. One of the two most beautiful things about holding the birds was that you get to see every little detail up close. The other is letting the bird fly out of your hand and seeing them go back into their natural habitat, free and unleashed. All in all, I’m very excited to expand my experiences with this project in the weeks to come!

Jasmine Buffone: My first week of working as a PWA Youth Ambassador has been completed. It was filled with many new experiences and insights relating to Roger Tory Peterson. Whether it was learning about dragonflies or banding birds at the Chadakoin park we gained knowledge about our community and explored the different species that thrive all around us. We also set up turtle traps and attended the bike path opening

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Picture by Abbi Warner of a Garter Snake

ceremony at the Chadakoin park. Everyday brings something unique and fun to learn about. I’m looking forward to exploring the nature that surrounds Jamestown and can’t wait to see what the following weeks bring.

Anna Burt: This past week has been so much fun. I’ve already learned so much about the species of animals and plants all around me that I never took much notice of before Project Wild America. Everything is truly beautiful. We did bird banding earlier this week and we were able to hold the birds in our hands using the bander’s grip, a technique of holding the bird with two fingers curled around the head then the rest of your hand holding the bird’s body. I’ve had so many unique and amazing opportunities so far and it is only week one! I cannot wait to see what these next couple weeks will entail!

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Picture By Anna Burt of a Great Crested Flycatcher in a bander’s hold

Leanna Stratton: Our first week was an adventure from sitting in the big halls of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute all the way to walking down the trails of the Chadakoin River. The first two days were setting up and getting to know what the program was all about. Roger was a very interesting guy that explored and loved what nature was about. He studied and logged many different species so that people today could have a better understanding of  nature.

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Picture By Abbi Warner of the PWA crew exploring Chadakoin Park

After the first two days we were able to go and explore nature in the new bike trail at Chadakoin River. We set up bird nets and caught many different species of birds. Song Sparrow, Great Crested Flycatcher, Yellow Warbler, Swamp Sparrow, Cardinal, and Yellow Throat are some of the birds we banded and released the first two days. We set in some turtle traps on Friday but unfortunately didn’t get anything. Saturday we wrapped up the weekend at the Farmer’s Market playing Birdo. Overall the week was fun and full of many memorable events. Throughout the weeks to come I hope there will be many more fun and enjoying moments.

Sarah Quadt: The first week of Project Wild America is over, and I can safely say that I am proud to be a PWA Youth Ambassador. Everyday a new challenge awaits, and I love that our team has already accomplished so many different things. We spent Tuesday and Wednesday at RTPI, and learned all about the legacy of Roger Tory Peterson and what we will be doing this summer to embrace what Wild America stands for. On Thursday, we met bright and early at Chadakoin Park for a full day of bird banding and

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Picture by Sarah Quadt of a Yellow Warbler

dragonfly/damselfly catching. We learned a lot from the 15-20 birds we caught. I loved when we discovered that there are tropical migrants nesting right here in Jamestown! We also discovered that sometimes, even when you try to let them go, Robins chicks do not want to leave you. Dragonfly and damselfly catching was also a great educational experience. We learned how to properly handle and hold the delicate creatures, and identified some species in our area. On Friday, we met again at 7:30 a.m. for a long day of bird banding and turtle trapping, while also planning on attending the grand opening of the Riverwalk bike path by the mayor.  We learned how to assemble the traps and had our first experience using…waders. They definitely take some getting used to! On Saturday, we were at the farmers market on Cherry street reading to children, playing games, and spreading knowledge about the nature around us to the public. Overall, this first week has taught me to love and appreciate the nature around me, and I want to learn more.

 

 

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Year Four Brings More

Hide your turtles, hide your dragonflies because the Project Wild America Crew is back for our fourth summer! We are super excited to be back out in the diversity of nature that the Greater Area of Jamestown has to offer.

Roger-Tory-Peterson-woodpecker-plateWhile we follow a similar plan for this project each summer, we are continuing to add more objectives to our growing list of knowledge acquired. This summer we are separating our time into five themed weeks. The first of which will be Roger Tory Peterson and Birds. During this week, we plan to see nature through Roger’s eyes and engage in the curiosity of birds. We plan to bird band, take formal bird counts, and get re-accompanied with the vast variety of species around us. The second week is all about Herpetology and amphibians. This means turtles, frogs, and salamanders! We will attempt to capture and record the elusive species that live in and around the Chadakoin River.

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Week Three is our Invasive Species Week which coincides with New York Invasive Species Awareness Week. For this theme, we plan to identify the numerous invasives that target surrounding habitats. This is an important topic, especially when it comes to understanding the ripple effects invasive species have on the environment. Branching off of the connectivity of the environment, our fourth theme will be Biodiversity and Habitats. During this week we will work at identifying as many species as possible, adding them to our already 200-some identified species. We will then figure out habitat indicators for certain species as this helps put two and two together when it comes to identifying habitats. Our final themed week is centered around both Wild America and Human Impacts. During this week, we will look at understanding the affects that humans, waste, and urbanization have on the environment and species around us. We will conclude the week at the Panama Rocks Wild America Festival where nature and its beauty will be celebrated.

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The Crew has quite a full summer ahead of them, considering on top of the aforementioned objectives, each Saturday we are participating in numerous public outreach events. To get more details on those, please visit our Events 2018 tab.

We are excited and hopeful that we will continue to build on this unique project, all while basking in the intrigue that nature has to offer. So, if you see us out and about Jamestown, feel free to come up and say hi and ask us what we are working on; we are always eager to involve the public!

Kayaking with the Crew

DSCN5442What a way to start our second-to-last week as the Project Wild America Crew! Bright & early on Tuesday morning, where was the Crew? In bed? At the Roger Tory Peterson Institute? Nope, try the middle of the Chadakoin River. You see, this week starts our theme of Bioblitz. Bioblitz is basically just us trying to identify as many species as we can in the Jamestown area. And what a better place to identify as much as we can than one of the most diverse places in Jamestown: the Chadakoin River. We dipped our kayaks into the chilly water around 8:30 a.m. at McCrea Point and started identifying from there. To make it more interesting, our crew leaders made it a competition. All eight of us crew members were challenged to each identify five to ten different species without overlapping with one another. While this may have started a few quarrels among the crew, we were still successful! I don’t have enough room to list it all, but I’ll give you the lowdown for each category.

Aquatics: Eurasion Milfoil, Curly Pondweed, Duckweed, Hornwort, and Bryozoan.

Birds: Catbirds, Eastern Kingfisher, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Sandpiper, Red-winged Blackbird, Blue Jay, Mallard Ducks, American Robin

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Vegetation: Birdsfoot Trefoil, Cardinal Flower, Blue Vervain, Purple Loosestrife, Narrow-leaved Cattail, Japanese Knotweed, Spearmint, Royal Fern, Forget-Me-Knot, Queen Anne’s Lace, Wild Blueberry, Skunk Cabbage, Mugwort, and Button Bush

Trees: Black Ash, Green Ash, Black Willow, Sugar Maple, Red Maple, Dogwood, and Silver Maple

And all of this was just along a mile stretch of the Chadakoin River. Who knows what other mysteries lie in the banks and swamps downriver. As you can see it was a busy day filled with biodiversity, competition, and lots of yakin’. And that was just day one of Bioblitz. Catch us at Chadakoin Park, McCrea Point, or Allen Park just trying to add to our species list and don’t be afraid to approach and ask questions: we’re friendly and always looking for someone to share our knowledge with!DSCN5431

Tasty Invasives

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When you think about the concept of invasive species, eating them doesn’t come to mind. But here at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, we like to think outside of the box. These past few weeks our PWA crew has been avidly mapping the surplus of invasive species along the Chadakoin River. Walking up and down the Riverwalk, out behind the Gateway Center, and near McCrea Point we’ve taken numerous GPS coordinates. We input the data into the statewide databases, such as iMap Invasives. We’ve focused mainly on Japanese Knotweed, Multiflora Rose, Honeysuckle, Japanese Barberry, Garlic Mustard, Water Chestnut, and Tree of Heaven. These guys were introduced to the United States for different reasons, but they all share one common factor; they threaten our native species. But these invasives deserve a second chance right? A way to redeem themselves. Well, why not utilize their edible qualities? I mean it could potentially reduce their quantity. You’re probably thinking “Why would we want to eat something if it’s harmful to nature, won’t it harm our bodies?” Well, it’s highly unlikely that these guys will sprout and overtake your insides like they do the environment, but don’t quote me on that. This past Wednesday, the PWA crew taste tested some recipes that include invasive species and the verdict; invasive species can be tasty! Thanks to chef James Salamone, we discovered a productive use of invasive species.

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Salamone set up a stand outside the RTPI 3rd street location in order to draw in the locals. He made two recipes: Blackberry Knotweed Cobbler and Garlic Mustard Fried Rice. Both were equally as delicious and the tastes of the invasives were subtle.

When asked, James said he had cooked with invasive species before, but never these specific ones. It’s a neat way to truly experience these invasive species that surround us everyday. Speaking for myself, I would definitely eat them again. Plus we got a free lunch out of it. It was quite an interesting opportunity and I hope more people venture out and enjoy tasty invasives.

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