Students will also learn how this unique natural resource affects their community, local economy and other social implications.
The Kirtland’s warbler is a conservation success story right here in northern Michigan. A migratory songbird, the Kirtland’s warbler will only nest in large stands of young jack pine, mostly in a few counties in Lower Michigan. They had almost gone extinct, with only 167 singing males counted in 1987, but thanks to active state and federal agency management there are now more than 2,000 singing males. Since their population has grown and stabilized, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is contemplating removing the Kirtland’s warbler from the Endangered Species List (ESL), of which it has been a resident since 1973.
Huron Pines, with other conservation partners, would like to engage students in a conservation education program by focusing on one of the greatest conservation success stories ever told. Students will learn about the Kirtland’s warbler and the jack pine ecosystem as well as management practices that resource professionals use every day. Teachers can bring their students into the jack pine forest to learn about a wide range of forest ecology topics and, working with a community partner, students can learn about key Kirtland’s warbler management procedures such as habitat closures, jack pine harvest and replanting, cowbird control, wildlife viewing tours and the population census. Back in the classroom, teachers can use the supplemental materials and resources to teach real world applications of data analysis, statistics and scientific or report writing. Since public outreach and education is such an important part of the success of this species, students can learn about interpretive materials, create art based on what they learn, have their stories, reports or art published in the Huron Pines eNewsletters, and even pass on their understanding to younger students in their school.