Wetland Restoration Through Marsh Bird Monitoring – Yahel Delgado-Diaz

On June 10th, I was part of the staff for the iSWOOP event at the Great Marsh in Chesterton, Indiana. The purpose of the activity was to present the research done by Stephanie Beilke- Audubon Great Lakes Conservation Science Manager titled “Wetland Restoration Through Marsh Bird Monitoring in the Calumet Region”. We also had planned presentations by Audubon Great Lakes Conservation Data Coordinator Dr. Dan Mason, Botanist at the Indiana Dunes National Park. It’s no secret I was raised by a birder, so this was exciting for me. I was taking pictures of birds to send back to the birder in my family, my mom. We headed out for a hike with Stephanie where she explained the Survey & Field protocol for the birds of Calumet Marsh. I was taking notes, but I have done Audubon surveys since I was 8 y/o. The next activity was a real challenge for me because it was incorporating all of this, to the Indiana Dunes education program. We had an exercise in communication where we outlined strategies and assessment, this was very new to me!

After a wholesome lunch at the headquarters picnic shelter, Stephanie spoke to all of us about how she got into her field, Audubon Great Lakes previous project with a climate change focus, their current Marsh Bird Monitoring Project, why they are doing it, what they are learning. When Dr. Dan Mason spoke to the group about restoring the Great Marsh, I was amazed at all the work so many people dedicate to these tasks not just for the birds, but for habitat, biodiversity, and us. I was amazed and again could not wait to tell that bird lady everything I had seen, heard and experienced this day. But this was not over, we had an afternoon brainstorming session on how to Plan and share an interpretive program or program element that I could present this summer and how to incorporate the Marsh Bird Monitoring Project in our interpretative program. I did this activity along with the crew and Wendy Smith, the Education Coordinator for the Great Lakes Research and Education Center.

It was a very exciting and education filled day, and I cannot wait to share my photos with the bird enthusiasts! Wink wink! 

For more information on the research at the Great Marsh, please visit: https://www.audubon.org/climate/survivalbydegrees

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