By Adele Woskobojnik
GRAYLING/ROSCOMMON–The Kirtland Warbler’ Home Opener on June 1 celebrated the recovery of the Kirtland’ Warbler.
Opening the program at Kirtland Community College in Grayling was Kirtland’ Warbler Alliance chairman Jerry Rucker.
‘Just like the Tigers celebrate with a home opener when they return from spring training in Florida, we have a home opener for the Kirtland’ Warbler on its return from the Bahamas,’ Rucker said.
Assistant regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Charlie Wooley of Milwaukee, traced the history of the conservation success story. The warbler was put on the endangered species list in 1973 when there were fewer than 200 pairs in the total population.
‘It is through the collaboration of multiple agencies and efforts of the public that the 200 pairs have grown to 2,000 singing males,’ Wooley said.
‘The goal is to delist the warbler in April 2019.
‘We have to sustain the species into the future for this to be a real success,’ he concluded.
Keith Creagh, Director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, highlighted the importance of agencies and the public to be partners in conservation.
‘From recovery to sustainability, Natural Resources has to be a great uniter. One of our goals is to engage youth, encouraging them to ‘do the right thing environmentally.’ In fact, everyone in the room should take someone under the age 15 out in the woods to experience what we feel,’ Creagh encouraged.
Also, from Milwaukee was Tracy Grazia, U.S. Forest Service, Wildlife Program Manager for the Eastern Region. She spoke on commitment to habitat management and shared the encouraging news that Kirtland’ Warblers have been found nesting in Wisconsin. ‘We have to make a commitment to continuous management,’ she said.
Rucker concluded the program encouraging government agencies, non-governmental organizations and individuals to maintain public awareness, support and advocate for the Kirtland’ Warbler. An announcement was made that Rucker is stepping aside as chairman of the Alliance, serving in that position for five years. He received a standing ovation and will remain on the board.
Appreciation for the sponsors of the Alliance and Huron Pines was thanked for their efforts in hosting the event and serving on the Kirtland Warbler Festival. Wingspan Optics, one of the sponsors, donated a pair of binoculars as a door prize. George Shaw, who lives a mile from where the first Kirtland Warbler was spotted, aptly won the binoculars.
The other sponsors of the event are Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, Consumers Energy, American Bird Conservancy, the Nature Conservancy, Children’ Zoo of Saginaw, and the U.S. Forest Service Department of Agriculture.
(Editor’ note: The public comment on delisting the Kirtland’ Warbler ends July 11. You may comment a. Electronically – Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov or b. Hard copy- Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to:Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R3–ES–2018–0005, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike,GÇ»Falls Church, VA 22041–3803.)
Au Sable Media Group, LLC, is a veteran-owned company that owns and operates the Roscommon County Voice, Crawford County Voice, Michigan Boomers and Voice of the Au Sable.
Our focus is on the positive people and events that make Northern Michigan a great place to live, vacation, work and play.
We have been commercial printers and publishers since 2010, specializing in brochures, rack cards, magazines and other newspapers and publications. A new addition to our stable of marketing products are various promotional items such as shirts, hats, mugs, water bottles and much more.
Through our publications and website at UpNorthVoice.com, we cover the following communities: Roscommon, Houghton Lake, St. Helen, Higgins Lake, Grayling, Frederic, Gaylord, Lewiston, Johannesburg, Atlanta, Hillman, Fairview, Comins, McKinley, Mio, Rose City, West Branch, Hale, Glennie, Sand Lake, Harrisville, Tawas City, East Tawas, Oscoda, Au Sable AuGres, Standish, Omer, Sterling, Gladwin, Beaverton, Kalkaska, South Boardman, Fife Lake, Mancelona, Alden, Traverse City, and Waters.