WBCI e-News vol. 2, no. 1 (March 8, 2002)

The Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative: "A cooperative partnership to deliver the full spectrum of bird conservation emphasizing voluntary stewardship."

The WBCI› (Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative) e-News is a periodic e-newsletter to quickly share that is happening in bird conservation across Wisconsin (and occasionally beyond).

Quote:›› "This whole [forest] model is a way of understanding when you cut a particular forest type whether are you moving towards a sustainable ecosystem or away from it," forest ecologist for [University of Minnesota - Duluth's Natural Resources Research Institute's] George Host said. "We know we're going to work in the landscape -- this tells us how to do it most effectively." For more information, see item III below.

In this issue:

I.››› Meet Our New WBCI Coordinator, Andy Paulios

II.›› WBCI Committee Meetings Announced ››››››› Outreach Committee - Tuesday, August 13 10 a.m. UW-Wildlife Ecology ››››››› Forest & Barrens Subcommittee - Wednesday, August 21, 10 a.m. -› Wausau DNR

III.›› Landscape Model for Northeastern Minnesota Forests

IV.›› Private Nature Education Center, Fifield (Price Co.) WI

Invitation to contribute news

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I.››› Meet Our New WBCI Coordinator, Andy Paulios ›››››››

Our new WBCI Coordinator, Andy Paulios, has been 'hooked' on birding ever since he was identifying waterfowl and other marsh birds along Weaver Bottoms on the Mississippi River south of Wabasha, Minnesota as a young boy. His love of birding blossomed at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, where he majored in biology and education.› After graduating from Luther College, Andy taught high school science in Webster, Wisconsin and lived at his family's cabin.› When not teaching or coaching, he could usually be found hunting, fishing or birdwatching at such great places as Crex Meadows or Amsterdam Sloughs.› Andy's birding 'claim to fame' occurred one evening in Amsterdam Sloughs when a Short-eared Owl attempted to land on his camouflaged head!!› After two years at Webster, Andy attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Through the assistance of Dr. Robert Howe, Andy managed to get paid to bird and study birds for 8-10 months out of the year.› His thesis research focused on owl distribution and habitat selection in the Nicolet National Forest.› After UWGB, Andy took a job with the Wisconsin DNR in Madison and was married to Amy Tyriver.› Andy and Amy now live in Janesville, WI and are usually busy exploring Wisconsin's great places on the weekends.

Andy will be working out of one of the many cubicles on the 4th floor of DNR (GEF 2) in downtown Madison. He can be reached at 608/267-0813 or andy.paulios@dnr.state.wi.us Please join us in welcoming Andy!

II.›››› WBCI Committee Meetings Announced

All WBCI meetings are open to everyone. Please pass along word to anyone who may be interested in attending or joining any WBCI committee.

A. Outreach Committee - Rebecca Christoffel, Chair

The next meeting will be Tuesday, August 13 at 10:00 a.m. at A232 Russell Labs (Department of Wildlife Ecology) on the U.W.-Madison campus. For more information, contact Rebecca, 608/256-8264 (rchristo@facstaff.wisc.edu)

B. Forest & Barrens Subcommittee - Andy Paulios, Interim Chair & Ron Eckstein, Chair

The first meeting of the Forest & Barrens Subcommittee will be Wednesday, August 21 at 10:00 a.m. in Wausau at the DNR Service Center, 5301 Rib Mountain Road.› Take Cty Road N exit off I-39/HWY 51.› Go south on Rib Mountain Road to DNR Service Center. For more information, contact Andy Paulios, WBCI Coordinator, WI DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921 (andy.paulios@dnr.state.wi.us) 608/267-0813

III.››› Landscape Model for Northeastern Minnesota Forests

Land managers in northeastern Minnesota have a new tool to manage the region's forests. Using decades of data, researchers at University of Minnesota - Duluth's Natural Resources Research Institute have developed a computer program to predict how logging a stand will affect the forest's future.

"This whole model is a way of understanding when you cut a particular forest type whether are you moving towards a sustainable ecosystem or away from it," forest ecologist for the institute George Host said. "We know we're going to work in the landscape -- this tells us how to do it most effectively."

Host was co-leader on the project that produced the Sustain 1.1 software. The three-year labor was paid for by $300,000 from the Legislative Commission for Minnesota Resources. Sustain 1.1 is designed for managers who oversee large tracts of land in northeastern Minnesota and have access to Geographical Information Systems equipment. Future versions of the software may cover more of the state and be useful for individual landowners. The program is available free to public land managers.

"It's going to give us another way to look at the effect of our management actions," said Superior National Forest wildlife biologist Peg Robertsen, who has trained on the system. "It's the latest, best science, which is what we always like to use."

To develop Sustain 1.1, institute researchers used data on forest communities, birds, amphibians and aquatic insects, comparing past with present conditions. Using Sustain 1.1, land managers will know whether harvesting a certain stand of timber will move the region's population of certain birds toward or away from historic population levels. Those numbers -- called natural range of variation -- are becoming a› popular way to judge the sustainability of managed ecosystems.

"A good example is the Blackburnian Warbler," said institute researcher and project coordinator JoAnn Hanowski, naming a small migratory bird species that winters in southern climes but whose breeding range includes northeastern Minnesota forests. "Historically, we figured there were between 189,000 and 221,000 breeding pairs in northeast Minnesota. Today, we have around 149,000. If we're looking at sustaining populations, we need to look at how their habitats have changed and what types of habitats to provide in the future."

Foresters in New England and California are using similar programs. But those programs are more narrowly focused on trees and lack Sustain 1.1's historic perspective, Host said.

"No one has done anything on this scale," he said. Host said Sustain 1.1's time has arrived, with the aspen forests that resulted after large-scale logging reached old age. "We're at a place where we have to make some decisions about what we want the forests to look like in 10 years, 20 years and 30 years, to do two things," he said. "First to supply products for our industries, but also to try to maintain the plant and animal populations at sustainable ›levels." Article by Steve Kunchera.

For more information, contact Rich Kocis, USDA Forest Service, Content Analysis Team - Salt Lake City, UT, 801/517-1036 or 1020 (rkocis@fs.fed.us)

--submitted by Linda Parker, Forest Ecologist, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (lrparker@fs.fed.us), 715/762-5169

IV.››› Private Nature Education Center, Fifield (Price Co.) WI

The Nature Education Center at Fifield, operated by Tom and Mary Lou Nicholls, is a WBCI Partner. Tom is a retired Project Leader,› research wildlife biologist, and forest pathologist from the USDA Forest Service, North Central Research Station, St. Paul, MN. Tom continues working as a Forest Service Volunteer, holds a Federal master bird banding permit, and is a wildlife safari leader having been to East Africa ten times since 1988.› Mary Lou is an avid gardener who enjoys growing both wild and domestic flowering plants and sharing her joy of gardening and wildlife with people. Our private Nature Education Center is located on the edge of Fifield, in Price County, on 222 acres of forest land, most of which has not been logged for over 70 years. Logging done previous to that time was done selectively, so artificial habitat fragmentation due to logging is minimal. The area is part of the glaciated Northern Highlands physiographic region which consists of level to gently rolling topography of relatively low relief with an elevation of about 1,450 ft.

Our Nature Education Center is non-profit. There are no charges for any of the offered activities. Donations are appreciated and are used to cover operating costs of the Center. The Center is OPEN BY APPOINTMENT ONLY to individuals or small groups, 10 or fewer, unless special arrangements are made for larger groups, by calling 715/762-3076. Visitors take on all responsibility for personal loss or injury while on Center property. The Center is located on the south edge of Fifield one-fourth mile west of HWY 13 at W7283 Walnut St. where a dead end road leads to the mysteries and miracles of nature.

Our forest was naturally fragmented into a mosaic of about 20 different habitat types due to its glacial history that produced a variety of soil types and topography. Thus, the forest has a rich diversity of plant and animal life and is composed of mixed hardwood and conifer trees along with distinct habitats of sugar and red maples, paper birch, quaking› and large-tooth aspen, red pine, white pine, tamarack, white cedar, black spruce, hemlock, shrub swamp, sedge meadow, wetlands, and grasslands with wildflowers. Two wildlife ponds and a series of four seasonal pools with a connecting creek with small waterfalls have been constructed on the land that are inhabited by several species of› amphibians, water insects, and turtles.

The Center has an evolving nature education program that started in 1999. It is based upon The Leopold Education Project whose objective is, in the words of Aldo Leopold, "to teach the student to see the land, to understand what s/he sees, and to enjoy what s/he understands."› The Center's key education message is to THINK HABITAT and the need to protect and conserve habitats that provide essential food, water, shelter, and space needed by all living organisms to successfully carry out their life cycles.

The Center is an active official U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service bird banding station used to study bird habitat relationships, site fidelity, longevity, refueling habitats for neotropical migratory birds, and birds as vectors of tick-borne zoonotic diseases, such as Lyme and Ehrlichiosis.› So far, over 120 bird species have been observed during these studies. Besides mist-netting, cell trapping, and banding, other bird study research techniques such as point counts, transects, and radio telemetry can be observed and practiced. Students are welcome to do short-term research projects for classes.

Over 50 nest boxes are in use mainly by Eastern Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, House Wrens, Hooded Mergansers, and Black-capped Chickadees. The Center has an extensive display of bird feeders, bird feed, and bird houses for those wanting to know how to attract birds to their property.

There are several miles of trails on the land that wind through a diversity of habitat types that can be used for nature study by written permit only. Hunting, ATVs and snowmobiles are not allowed on Center property without special permission and permit. Other planned attractions include bird walks, a nature trail, forest management techniques, forest disease identification, ecologically-oriented field trips on Nature Education Center lands and the adjacent Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, a historic barn, old logging tools, and flower gardens.› Checklists are being prepared for all plants and animals found on Center property.

--submitted by Thomas H. Nicholls,› Nature Education Center, W7283 Walnut St., P.O Box 63, Fifield, WI 54524--006, 715/762-3076 (nicho002@tc.umn.edu)

Invitation to contribute news. Please submit items for the WBCI e-News to this e-mail address. These could be anything that you and your group or agency wish to share about what is being done, where, and by whom: projects that are in the works, whether large or small, local or state-wide; activities, programs, and workshops; what the average birder might do to help out; what the problems are; or what help you might need on specific projects.

No attachments will be allowed. Instead, try to include web links whenever possible for more detail. Or if the information is lengthy, and only an attachment would be efficient, provide an e-mail contact so that those interested can ask for the attachment. The source of the item posted will be included at the end of each message. Back issues of the WBCI e-News can be found on the WBCI Website: http://www.uwgb.edu/birds/wbci/

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Karen Etter Hale, WBCI ad hoc committee chair
and WBCI e-news coordinator

Executive Secretary
Madison Audubon Society
222 S. Hamilton St., Suite 1
Madison, WI 53703-3201
608/255-2473
608/255-2489 fax
masoffice@mailbag.com
http://madisonaudubon.org