Fifteen campers, ages 7-10, of the Northern Maine YMCA’s Camp Sokosis in Biddeford enjoyed Piping Plover experiences July 14 and 16, 2010. Maine Audubon Staff Naturalist Eric Hynes and Seasonal Piping Plover Biologist Kathryn Friens joined YCAS members Monica Grabin and Pat Moynahan in presenting a two hour program that included experiential learning of bird basics with a focus on Piping Plovers. Games and an art project were used to teach the lesson. The program aims to increase awareness of the Piping Plover’s plight in Southern Maine and discovery of what we can do about it.
The indoor camp on the 14th was filled with laughter, action, beans, cottonballs, and spaghetti legs and of course questions. A field experience at Goose Rocks Beach on Friday July 16th gave the campers a chance to see first-hand what had been taught. The Least Terns and Great Blue Herons were big hits, but the birds of the day were the recently hatched Piping Plover Chicks sitting in the exclosure next to their mom/dad. All the children as well as Counselors Patrick Harrison, Andrea Chambers and our Meme bus driver Heather Gendron saw these special birds through the spotting scope. Quiet shouts of “Oh! My God!,” “I see the chicks!,” “How Cute!” and of course “WOW!” filled the air. Maine Audubon Wildlife Ecologist, Jody Jones, glowed as all present felt the wonder of this endangered species.
Please consider coordinating such a program in your community. Call your local recreational departments or your schools and let either Monica or me coordinate your event. The plight of the plover must be made known.