The Bluebirds On Our Shoulders

Girl Scout’s national Bluebird Festival tradition started right here in the Valley

Alissa Peterson, photos by Cal McNeil

Our local Girl Scouts help the area with a lot more than our Thin Mint quotient. It’s true. Seriously. In 2007 Eau Claire troop leader Shelly Volk founded the Bluebird Restoration Project in honor of a lost friend. It’s a program designed to educate the public on how to start and maintain a bluebird trail and where to report their results. Since that time the Girl Scouts in the Eau Claire area have teamed with several prestigious institutions, like Northland Adventures, Beaver Creek Reserve, Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, NY to actively grow our bluebird populations. On May 12, Beaver Creek Reserve hosted their 5th Annual Bluebird Festival at Hickory Hills Golf Course, where Volk and her troop placed 30 houses along the course perimeter back in 2007. Participants received a tour of the well-established five-year-old trail, lessons on how to build their own bluebird nest, and how to properly monitor and record their sightings. To make it as easy as possible for volunteers to report their findings, Volk and her troop teamed with NestWatch.org via Cornell University, where they can easily and quickly enter their sightings. Regis Catholic Schools are also incorporating a curriculum giving students a chance to become Citizen Scientists and to have an opportunity to witness the life cycle of animals in their natural habitat. To find out more and get involved (not just Girl Scouts), look at BlueBirdRestorationProject.org.

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