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May Notes & News from the North

May was a busy month at Fields Pond and points north, as we delivered programs both at the Fields Pond Audubon Center in Holden and out in the communities around us. In terms of phenology, May is all about migration, both in the skies and in the waters, so we spent time showing students about both the science and natural history as well as the human involvement and what we can do to help rather than harm the natural world. Here are some highlights!

Fifth-grade students from Bangor and the surrounding areas (about 300 students in all) visited Fields Pond in May to explore the wonders of spring bird migration in Maine. These programs were designed to help students understand the vital role birds play in our environment, using one of nature’s most amazing phenological events, bird migration. During their field experience at Fields Pond, students learned to identify specific bird species using binoculars and field guides. Identified bird species were then entered into the eBird data base to help advance avian science and conservation. Students tracked real-time bird migration using Motus technology which gave them an appreciation for one of the most perilous journeys in the entire animal kingdom.

Fifth-grade students from Bangor visit Fields Pond, May 2024
Fifth-grade students from Bangor visit Fields Pond, May 2024

Moving from science to action, students wrapped up their field experiences by working in teams to create solutions for human-caused dangers to bird migration. Back at school, students met virtually with Maine Audubon’s Nick Lund to discuss the BirdSafe Maine initiative, which raises awareness of the problem of birds colliding with glass windows, and to brainstorm more ideas to help Maine’s migratory birds. Fields Pond Audubon Center staff also visited schools to help students assess their schoolyard’s bird friendliness and led a number of schoolyard birding trips.

Fields Pond Audubon Center Education Manager Melissa Gallagher joined in the excitement of the Challenger Learning Center’s annual Solar System Walk on the Bangor Downtown Waterfront. Kids and families from the Bangor area embarked on an extraordinary adventure from the Sun to Pluto, engaging in interactive activities at each planet. At Earth’s station, hosted by Maine Audubon, they explored the wonders of healthy watersheds, journeyed through the water cycle, and got hands-on with a captivating watershed model.

Salmon fry release, May 2024
Releasing Atlantic Salmon fry!

David Lamon, Director of Northern Programs and Operations, participated in the Union River Watershed Summit on May 18 in Ellsworth and led a riverside bird walk as part of the summit. The event drew stakeholders from communities across the watershed together for a series of presentations, interactive sessions, a premiere film screening, and displays from partnering organizations including Maine Audubon.

Atlantic Salmon fry, hatched from the tank at the Fields Pond Audubon Center, were released into the Sedgunkedunk stream in May. Students from the Homeschool Naturalist program at Fields Pond released the small salmon as part of their spring curriculum at Fields Pond. As part of their program, the students learned about water quality and the key role that salmon play in the ecosystem. This was the first year of the Homeschool Naturalist program, which will continue this fall. Learn more about the Fish Friends project. 

And more! 

Planting American Chestnut at Fields Pond
Mark McCollough, from the American Chestnut Foundation, led a team of Maine Audubon staff and Master Gardener volunteers to plant several new American Chestnut trees at the Fields Pond Audubon Center just in time for Arbor Week.