State of the Birds The 2009 Report

State of the Birds The 2009 Report: “we see heartening evidence that strategic land management and conservation action can reverse declines of birds.”

In this first ever comprehensive report on U.S. bird populations, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, American Bird Conservancy, Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Pat Leonard, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, Klamath Bird Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey and other conservation partners lay out the status of our country’s avian health. The report shows great increases in some birds, while alerting our leaders to the potential loss of other bird species and the habitat that supports them.

The good news from the report is that proper habitat management and land protection is helping the precarious position of many bird species. More progress must be made, but national and international land conservation groups like the Nature Conservancy, and local land conservancies like Western Reserve Land Conservancy, which has has worked with multitudes of partners to conserve over 14,000 acres of important habitat in northern Ohio, are playing a vital role in protecting remaining habitat.

Read this report, then get outside and watch some birds this spring.


Volunteers Needed for Watershed Stewardship

From a National Park Service Press Release:

In celebration of the “Year of the River,” the National Park Service is launching a new Volunteers-in-Parks (VIP) opportunity – Watershed Steward to celebrate the recovery of the Cuyahoga River.

The stewardship of Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) resources is a shared responsibility because many of the resources the park protects extend beyond the jurisdictional boundaries. Land-use decisions made by 46 local communities in the park’s watersheds affect downstream park resources. Increased flooding, degraded water quality, and poor stream health can result from changes in park watersheds.
Watershed Stewards will help promote watershed stewardship principles by regularly attending and participating in their community’s monthly public decision-making meetings and, as they become more comfortable with the content, to engage in watershed policy discussions. Stewards will receive educational opportunities and reference materials on key aspects of watershed policy. Stewards will also be encouraged to participate in local watershed activities in their communities. Our goal is to supplement and enhance existing watershed protection efforts in order to better preserve downstream park resources. Stewards are expected to volunteer from four to six evening hours a month.

An informational meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 26 at Happy Days Lodge, located at 500 West Streetsboro Road (SR 303), Peninsula. Attendance is not required to apply.

Visit the National Park Service’s web site for an application and program details, and to read more about the Cuyahoga River Watershed. For more information contact Kevin Skerl at 330-650-5071 ext. 4. or


The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems

The Green Collar Economy by Van Jones is an interesting look at the current state of the environmental movement and the economy. It is written from a progressive viewpoint, and proposes some serious actions on the part of our government and individuals which, if acted upon, could solve two of our biggest problems.

The book includes a short history of the environmental movement, starting with early conservationists and preservationists like Gifford Pinchot and John Muir, through a regulatory phase spurred on by Rachel Carlson, author of Silent Spring, and into a newly emerging phase, which he calls an “Investment Agenda”.

During the new phase of the environmental movement, Jones says we need to meld equal protection, equal opportunity, and reverence for all creation into a new way of living, working and engaging with one another. Following these principles, with the government as a partner in removing barriers to green solutions, will put us on a road to both a more just, better world, and a better, more sustainable economy.

The book proposes a five-way partnership, a Green Growth Alliance between organized labor, social justice activists, environmentalists, students and faith-based organizations. Jones draws parallels with the civil rights movement and points out that we did not see Martin Luther King and other leaders marching out of shopping centers, libraries or high school gymnasiums. They marched out of churches. He suggests that having God on the side of the environment would add great power to the growing green collar economy.

One of the key points to this book is that many of the green collar jobs of the future are the same jobs we have now. Welders will fuse metal to create windmills rather than widgets; mechanics will work on electric motors alongside combustion engines; engineers will design wave powered generators instead of nuclear power plants. While some will require retraining or specialization, many workers can be assimilated directly into the green economy. That is a ray of hope in this economic environment.

The book closes with a focused set of recommendations for our political leaders, national and local. Let’s hope they take up the cause and go for the green!


Revised and Improved Trail Guide to Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Billed as the definitive guide to Cuyahoga Valley National Park‘s trails, this new revision of the popular trail guide edited by Rob and Peg Bobel lives up to its promise. Whether you are a hiker, biker, equestrian, local historian, naturalist, skier, or just someone who likes to read a great book, you should spend the time it takes to visit the park through the pages of this newly revised trail guide.

If you have the first or second edition of the trail guide, you need to get with the times and upgrade to this nifty new version. With easy-to-read maps of each trail, and twice as many photos as the last edition, there is much more to read and ponder. As a guide put together by a local group of trail volunteers, there can be no better compilation of the park’s pedestrian byways. The Cuyahoga Valley Trails Council is an all-volunteer group that maintains trails in the national park. You can learn more about them, including how to help with their trail work through the Adopt-a-Trail program, at

In addition to including driving directions, length, relative difficulty ratings and other useful information, the new edition includes an updated, more useful index, and relevant information for trail users of all sorts. The appendix is very useful as well. It contains contact information for the parks, visitor centers, outfitters, non-profits involved with the parks and trails, and a great table which summarizes the trails reviewed in the guide.

The new trail guide contains a succinct, yet informative description of every single official trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The nearly 50 trails traverse over 200 miles of our glaciated, inspirational landscape, including trails within Brecksville and Bedford Reservations of Cleveland Metroparks, Viaduct Park in Bedford, O’Neil Woods, Deep Lock Quarry, Hampton Hills, and Furnace Run areas of the Metro Parks, Serving Summit County, as well as three of our regional long distance trails: the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail and Buckeye Trail within the National Park, and the Summit Bike and Hike trail, a converted Rail to Trail corridor on the eastern boundary of the Cuyahoga Valley. Numerous updates and tidbits of historical and natural background help guide your hike along these splendid walking, biking, and equestrian trails.

Peppered throughout the book are the editors’ suggestions for various types of hikes. For example, want to find a great place to take your kids? How about the best waterfall hikes? Places to find examples of local geology? Want to go fishing, or watch birds? Maybe you want to take a great winter hike, check out the best spring wildflowers within the park, or just get some vigorous exercise. They are all thrown in with handy lists-but, you will have to look through every page to find the lists.

Even if you never walk a single trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (and you should, no matter who you are), this book will enrich your life and give you a sampling of the great pieces of history and the natural wonders of the park. Photographs, both current views of the Cuyahoga Valley landscape, and historical views of the valley, give the reader visual perspectives on the park and its features. Of special note are the Civilian Conservation Corps photographs that show some of the most recognizable buildings in the park, such as the Kendall Lake Shelter, under construction during the WPA days of the Great Depression.

This new version of the Cuyahoga Valley Trails Council’s great trail guide is published by Gray & Company, and is available at CVNP visitor centers, local bookstores, such as the Blue Heron Book Store in Peninsula, Trail Mix, across the street from the Boston Store Visitor Center, and online at

The royalties from the sale of the trail guide book all go to the Cuyahoga Valley Trails Council to help with its work on the trails within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We highly recommend this wonderfully revised trail guide, which is a softcover book running 272 pages. For more information, see the press release issued by the publisher at


Bird Gardens – Wildlife Gardening for Birds –

Check out this post at the Daily Green: Bird Gardens – Wildlife Gardening for Birds and Other Ways to Help Birds. Not only does it include some great photos, but there are 25 bird conservation tips from the National Audubon Society.

The skunk cabbages have been up for over a week, so Spring is just around the corner! Soon spring migrations will be heating up, so this is a perfect time to brush up on some beginning bird watching tips as well.


Spring is on its way…

A couple of days ago, I was standing in my bedroom, looking out toward the woods. Suddenly, I saw a strange bluish, head looking out from the shrubs. This alien looking creature then stepped forward, revealing itself to be a wild turkey. It was a tom with a beard about 10 inches long. I got excited. Then another followed, and another, and another. My excitement grew. Six large toms eventually sauntered out of the woods and into the field.

Stepping out to the patio and opening a window, I made a couple of lame attempts to call to them in turkey language. Alas, I am not fluent. They stopped moving, but didn’t even look at me. On the third try, they did look at me, but never called back.

In any event, the subject of this post is Spring. I was told by a friend, who was forced to listen to this whole episode, since I was on the phone with him when the turkeys appeared, that the large mixed-gender winter flocks start to break down into single-sex groups when spring is near.

So, groundhogs are out. Turkeys are in. Spring, here we come!