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Biologist Connie Rutherford weaves palm fronds to the nest base (22882403329)


Biologist Connie Rutherford weaves palm fronds to the nest base (22882403329)



Biologists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service teamed up with Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast on November 22, 2015 at Camp Arnaz near Ojai to build floating nest platforms that will be used by federally endangered light-footed clapper rails in Ventura County this spring.
Utilizing tools and teamwork, girls constructed 10 platform nests using palm fronds and wood platforms. The nests will be placed in local lagoons at Navy Base Ventura County before the spring nesting season in 2016. Biologists at the base will monitor use of the nests through small wildlife cameras. This is a long-term conservation effort that will build upon the girl's interest in the outdoors, science and conservation, and contribute to the recovery of a federally endangered species.
The light-footed clapper rail is a federally endangered species that lives in coastal wetlands of southern California and northern Baja California, Mexico. Conservation efforts, including a captive breeding program and habitat restoration activities have aided in the recovery of this endangered bird, which faced extinction in 1980s due to coastal wetland destruction and degradation. For the first time in 40 years, more than 600 light-footed clapper rail pairs were documented during the 2015 breeding season across 22 marshes in California, according to an annual survey coordinated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Nesting usually begins in March and late nests hatch by August. The birds build their nests in areas to avoid flooding by tides, yet in dense enough cover to be hidden from predators and to support the relatively large nest. Typical nests are elevated 4 to 18 inches above the ground. The outside edges of nesting platforms are typically woven into the surrounding live cordgrass which secures the nest as it floats during high tide. Nests typically include one or two ramps of vegetation leading to the ground, and a loosely woven canopy of live stems and leaves. Females lay approximately 4 to 8 eggs, which hatch in 18 to 27 days. Both parents care for the young; one forages while, the other adult broods the chicks.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service believes that taking the time to introduce our children to nature and to educate them about the wonders of the environment they live in allows them to develop a sense of place, an understanding of the natural world that will continue to teach and inspire them for a lifetime. Our hope is that this hands-on project, which will support the recovery of a local endangered species, will inspire these young girls to pursue careers in the sciences and become stewards of their environment.
Girl Scouts of California's Central Coast serves over 10,700 girls across six counties and is committed to making Girl Scouting available to girls in ways that impact their lives both in the moment and into the future. Girls participate in troops, individual projects, council events, day camps, and more. A variety of leadership, outdoor skills, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) based programs and events provide girls with opportunities to learn and explore in fun and informative ways. To join or volunteer in Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara or Ventura County, visit:" rel="nofollow"></a>

Photos by Ashley Spratt/USFWS.



1980 - 1989


United States Fish and Wildlife Service

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