On August 6th and 7th, at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) Appalachian Lab in Frostburg, MD, 39 environmental professionals representing 23 organizations – including state and federal agencies, universities, and non-profits – attended the AMJV Technical Committee meeting to learn and share about bird conservation in the Appalachian Region. The meeting began with updates from recent bird conservation meetings, including newly released species population estimates and ACAD assessment scores. AMJV staff also led discussions on the importance of landscape-level and multiple-species management, partner roles in the AMJV’s strategic plan, and the AMJV’s Focal Landscape Initiative. On the second day of the meeting, attendees heard updates from AMJV partners about monitoring, research, and habitat conservation projects happening in the Appalachian region and internationally for birds across the full annual cycle. Topics covered included: new spatial analysis and modeling tools to assess breeding habitat for birds; outreach and training efforts for private lands forestry; high-elevation Golden-winged Warbler and old-growth forest surveys; stable isotope work examining dispersal of Golden-winged Warblers; the use of radar and other technologies to understand migratory stopover habitat use; and monitoring programs to identify important overwintering sites for Golden-winged and Cerulean Warblers.
The first day of the meeting was followed by a field trip to the nearby Finzel Swamp, where Gwen Brewer of MD DNR led participants on a tour of the unique TNC nature preserve. Finzel Swamp is 326 acres in size and is located in a “frost pocket,” an area where the surrounding hills capture moisture and cold air that conspire to create a landscape more reminiscent of habitat found much further north in Canada.” This mountain peatland preserve marks the headwaters of the Savage River and contains a shrub swamp and 3 other distinct plant communities, which provide habitat to a “spectacular range of plants, birds, and mammals.” The many AMJV partners who had eyes and ears tuned in for our feathered friends during the field trip were not disappointed, with participants seeing/hearing 25 species!
A big thank you goes out to all partners who attended the AMJV Technical Committee, especially the Appalachian Lab and MD DNR for hosting our group and helping to coordinate this successful meeting!