If the death of a canary in a mine shaft is a sure warning to workers to evacuate the premises, what is the right human response to the net loss of 3 billion birds in our neighborhoods, fields and forests since 1970?
This question emerges urgently from research published in September by the journal Science, which analyzed trends in North American bird populations over the last 50 years and found that we are in the midst of a startling 30 percent decline in birdlife amounting to 3 billion fewer birds.
“These losses are a strong signal that our human-altered landscapes are losing their ability to support birdlife, and that is an indicator of a coming collapse of the overall environment,” said Ken Rosenberg, conservation scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and lead author of the study.
The declines are even greater for species that require specialized habitat to breed, migrate, or winter successfully. Nearly a quarter of the loss is occurring in grassland species, for example, such as the Eastern Meadowlark and the Grasshopper Sparrow. Grassland species have suffered a 50 percent decline overall, and the decline is particularly acute in Eastern North America. Development sprawl on undisturbed land and resistance to no-till farming practices continue to degrade habitat in our area, where the vast majority of property remains private.
Are we condemned to watch our birdlife disappear? No. Not as long as we’re willing to act. What can be done?
For starters, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has suggested “7 Simple Actions” that individuals can take to protect birdlife, such as treating window glass to avoid bird collisions, keeping cats indoors, and letting your land get a little wild with native plantings
In addition, if you own a piece of land, you can add “Simple Action Number 8” -- protect your own fields, forests or farmland. Loss of habitat is the most serious cause of bird declines. Over 90 percent of the land in Maryland is in private hands, not public parks or wildlife refuges, so private landowners must be part of the solution. The land you love can be protected forever if you attach a “conservation easement” to your deed. Such easements can be facilitated through your local land trust.
In St. Mary’s County, the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust (PTLT) has protected over 5600 acres of private land working with more than 30 willing landowners and government partners. And if you’re not a landowner, you can still protect land by contributing to your land trust. That’s what Wild Birds Unlimited has done by supporting the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust (PTLT). You can too.
Beautiful heavy gauge aluminum signs available for PTLT protected properties
The signs are a way to share with our neighbors the joy in saving land forever...for future generations.
We closed on the Hemlock Preserve easement in July - and received the check from the Nature Conservancy in mid-August. Board members and volunteers are working on easement documentation.
Early next month we will hear whether our proposal for easement procurement funding and for expansion of the Huntersville Rural Legacy Area has been approved. If so, funding will not be released until December or early next year. We can’t commit to spending until the easement projects are approved by DNR and money has been released. We can continue preparing our easement packages though (short of contracted work).
The outreach committee worked only through email (a break from all the meetings) this summer. We begin meetings again this month. The weather was outstanding for our boat charter to Cambridge on the Eastern Shore. We staffed an information table at the U MD Chesapeake Center for Environmental Sciences (Chesapeake Biological Lab in Solomons) open house.
Pete Neus has been able to get an invitation for us to have an information table at the Sotterley Riverside Wine Fest on the 5th and 6th of October. We need volunteer help for this event since the hours will be long.
We could use some volunteers to help staff our display that day, since it is in conflict with the monitor training Robert Willey is coordinating with Maryland Environmental Trust. This training, to be held at Summerseat Farm (with lunch provided) is open to all who might be interested in becoming monitors for us or for MET or who would like to refresh their training. Robert will be looking to get a full staff of volunteer monitors – the monitoring season is almost upon us.
Finally, we will be attending the Land Trust Alliance Rally in Raleigh, NC starting on the 17th of October.
Frank Allen, President PTLT
Do you enjoy exploring the great outdoors?
A training session for prospective volunteers will be held at Summerseat Farm at 26655 Three Notch Road, Mechanicsville MD 20659 on Saturday October 12, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. If interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with “PTLT training” in the subject line and advise the number of attendees. More information on the organization may be found at www.ptlt.org.
A Unique Approach to Land Preservation in Southern Maryland
Leonardtown, Maryland – In a unique partnership between conservation organizations and state and federal government, 67 acres of pristine Calvert County watershed have been preserved for future generations to enjoy.
The July 18 transaction spearheaded by the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust and Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust involved the purchase of an easement to land along upper reaches of Hellen Creek near Lusby from The Nature Conservancy, which in turn donated the land to CPNHT. Monies for the easement came from the U.S. Navy’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program (REPI). The easement will be jointly owned by the Maryland Environmental Trust and PTLT, which will be responsible for protecting terms of the easement in perpetuity. CPNHT, which has managed the land since 2006, will be responsible going forward for its care, including public access. Together with the Hellen Creek Preserve on the southern shore and the newly acquired Turner Road property on the northern there are more than 280 acres of protected property on Hellen Creek.
For more than 10 years, CPNHT, The Nature Conservancy, Calvert County, and the state of Maryland worked on the land transfer, which nearly died with a change in Maryland governors. PTLT entered the discussion by offering to leverage its relations with the Navy, which helps fund preservation of land beneath critical flight paths.
Hemlock Preserve’s 67 acres of natural features include upland woods, ravines, bluffs and marsh along Hellen Creek. It’s home to 50 species of birds, most notably Wild Turkey, Bald Eagle, Pileated Woodpecker, and several species of flycatchers and warblers. The preserve has the southernmost stand of Canadian hemlock on the eastern coastal plain. The stand is thought to be a relict community left behind by the last glaciers 15,000 years ago. Visitors also enjoy its plant life which includes trailing arbutus, winterberry, and mountain laurel in the interior, with marsh hibiscus, cardinal flower, and buttonbush down by the creek.
For more information on Hellen Creek Hemlock Preserve, visit the Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust website, http://www.covepoint-trust.org.
Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust’s mission is to sustain the region’s biodiversity and water resources through a network of protected landscapes. PTLT acquires land and conservation easements by purchase or donation. For more information, visit www.ptlt.org
Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust is a nonprofit Trust located in Calvert County. Founded in 1994, its mission is to preserve and protect ecologically sensitive sites in Southern Maryland through land conservation, acquisition, scientific research, and environmental education. For more information, visit www.covepoint-trust.org.
Frank Allen, President PTLT
Good news! AmazonSmile is now available in the Amazon Shopping App to all AmazonSmile customers using supported Android devices. You can use the below copy and instructions to share the news with your supporters!
If you are an AmazonSmile customer, you can now support Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust in the Amazon shopping app on your Android device! Simply follow these instructions to turn on AmazonSmile and start generating donations.
If you do not have the latest version of the Amazon Shopping App, update your App. Click here for instructions.
AmazonSmile is not currently available for iOS users. We will notify AmazonSmile charities when it becomes available.
Have you opened a new location, redesigned your shop, or added a new product or service? Don't keep it to yourself, let folks know.
Customers have questions, you have answers. Display the most frequently asked questions, so everybody benefits.
Leonardtown, Maryland– The Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust is proposing to expand the Huntersville Rural Legacy Area creating the St. Mary’s Greenway of protected forests, farmland, and headwater streams connecting the Patuxent and Potomac River watersheds as they lead to the Chesapeake Bay.
A 15 minute film written and narrated by Frank Allen, President PTLT
Originally presented to local transportation boards.
This winter PTLA received a prestigious Janice Hollmann grant to further its land conservation efforts.
The $2,000 grant awarded by the Maryland Environmental Trust will be used to help PTLT underwrite its administrative and outreach needs for our outreach work to property owners.
Hollmann Grants are awarded to land trusts within Maryland. All grants require a 100 percent match from the land trust of in-kind services and privately raised funds and are subject to a competitive application process.
“We’re delighted to receive this grant for a number of reasons,” says PTLT President Frank Allen. “Besides helping further our mission, earning a Hollmann Grant demonstrates to the wider world of conservation the depth and breadth of our organization’s growth and accomplishments since its founding 23 years ago.”