Archive for August, 2012

The Trumpeter Swan Society’s Associate Director, Becky Abel, Receives TogetherGreen Fellowship

August 26, 2012

TTSS’s Associate Director, Becky Abel

TTSS Board and staff are pleased to report that Associate Director Becky Abel was recently awarded a prestigious TogetherGreen fellowship.

TogetherGreen, a conservation initiative of the National Audubon Society and Toyota, selects 40 high-potential leaders annually to receive a $10,000 Fellows Grant. With the funds, Fellows conduct projects to engage diverse audiences in habitat, water, or energy conservation. In addition to receiving support launching their conservation initiatives, the Fellows also benefit from specialized training and the opportunity to become part of an exciting alumni network of conservation professionals.

“These are heroes. They help people engage with nature. They look like America: diverse, passionate, and patriotic,” said Audubon President David Yarnold. “Becky is a leader, and we’re pleased to give her a chance to invent the future.” Abel’s TogetherGreen project aims to develop guidance documents that outline steps for partnering with electric energy companies across the US to reduce Trumpeter Swan mortality associated with power lines. The TogetherGreen Fellowship Program provides the selected leaders with resources, visibility, and a growing peer network to help them lead communities nationwide to a healthier environmental future.

“Trumpeter Swans offer potential to serve as ambassadors for broad conservation messages related to wetland loss, for responsible stewardship of the earth’s biodiversity, and to highlight threats to migratory birds,” Abel explained. “Unfortunately, human-caused hazards and habitat alteration continue to threaten the species’ long-term security.”

“We want to build partnerships between unlikely allies—conservation groups and electric energy companies,” she added. “In addition to Trumpeter Swans, our work will benefit Tundra Swans, Whooping and Sandhill Cranes, pelicans, and other large, low-flying birds.”

Learn more about Becky’s project on the TogetherGreen website, which describes their mission this way:  “The TogetherGreen Conservation Leadership Program invests in high-potential leaders, providing them with tools, resources, visibility, and a peer network to help them lead the conservation actions necessary to shape a greener, healthier future.”  The Trumpeter Swan Society applauds Becky for her role in this important project.

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The Trumpeter Swan Society Members Share Creative Work Inspired by Swans

August 9, 2012

THE TRUMPETERS

A Poem by Peter Meiring, TTSS member

A Young Trumpeter Takes Flight, photo by Tammy Wolfe

 

Look towards the north to Cepheus;

Seen next to Polaris in the early Spring,

Pointing there towards the east is Cygnus,

With long neck and graceful curve of wing.

Deneb lights its tail, it can only be a swan.

The ancients surely knew their natural world,

When their gaze upon this constellation shone

And Cygnus the Swan it was thenceforth called.

In April, going north to breeding grounds,

Many swans are resting on the lake;

Their honks on taking off are thrilling sounds.

Flying in skeins and lines, their way they make.

A huge and lovely bird, all gleaming white,

With long and graceful neck and jet black bill

The Trumpeter Swan an unforgotten sight

And sound, the memory to thrill.

We appreciate recieving and being able to share Peter Miering’s inspired words. If you are inspired by Trumpeters, please share your work with us.  You can submit copy to our main office: The Trumpeter Swan Society, 12615 County Road 9, Plymouth, MN. 55441-1248.  Or send it electronically to ttss@trumpeterswansociety.org.

The photograph, of a juvenile Trumpeter in flight is by Tammy Wolfe, author and photographer.

Restoring Grayling and Trumpeter Swans, a Growing Management Challenge

August 5, 2012

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Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge (RRL) in Montana’s Centennial Valley is the most important nesting area for Trumpeter Swans in the western United States.  In addition to the vast refuge marshes, there are also 30+ historic nesting territories on nearby federal and private lands.  Greater Yellowstone’s nesting swans are the most vulnerable breeding Trumpeters in North America and the only nesting group that escaped extinction in the lower 48 states.  Swan habitat management decisions in the Centennial Valley will have a substantial impact on the viability of these nesting swans.

Last year, through our Centennial Valley Project, we produced a detailed report summarizing the off-refuge territories and providing recommendations to correct problems and increase nest success. This year, we are working with landowners to improve conditions at priority territories.  Thanks to grants received from the Cinnabar Foundation and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, we are also expanding our efforts to focus on a very important issue – ensuring that efforts to restore lake-dwelling grayling are planned with the utmost care to avoid significant damage to important Trumpeter Swan habitat.

Although this beautiful fish is widespread in Alaska and Canada, grayling in Montana are a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act.  The Centennial Valley is home to one of the last lake-dwelling populations in the lower 48 states.  Recently, fish managers have proposed restoration actions that would drain both Culver and MacDonald Ponds on RRL.  These spring-fed man-made ponds have provided much of the late winter/early spring foraging habitat for the valley’s nesting swans for over 100 years and TTSS is asking the US Fish and Wildlife Service to carefully reconsider this action.

Careful integration of grayling and Trumpeter Swan restoration needs will be a challenge for the foreseeable future.  Our goal is to build a vital partnership with fish managers and conservationists to explore all possible management options and find ways to minimize and mitigate swan habitat damage if at times it is unavoidable.  We are hopeful that this situation, involving the restoration of two iconic, vulnerable populations, will become a showcase effort of integrated management for vulnerable species with overlapping ranges that have differing habitat needs.

This article by TTSS Board Member Ruth Shea appeared in the July 2012 issue of Trumpetings, Vol. XXII, No. 2. Members of the Society receive this publication three times each year.

Find the detailed report summarizing TTSS’ recommendations for the Centennial Valley and more on the Greater Yellowstone Initiative (GYTSI):

http://www.trumpeterswansociety.org/GYTSI.html