Visitors gathered at the amphitheater for the Western Snowy Plover evening campground presentation

The importance of interpretation and field work

 

A year ago last Friday I would have never imagined that I will be giving my second evening campground program and my first presentation on the Western Snowy Plover in front of large crowd, at least to me it felt like it was. Last week I traveled to Nehalem Bay State Park to present on the Western Snowy Plover and keeping birds on a wild diet; essentially promoting clean campgrounds in our state and federal public lands including parks and forests to protect endangered species from introduced predators such as the corvids. As always, I was super nervous but something that helped me tremendously was being able to have firsthand experience with the subject I was presenting on. At that moment, I realized how important doing wet sand surveys and nest monitoring was in connecting my audience to a bird that maybe they had never seen and only heard about before. I was able to give them a firsthand account of their peculiar foraging and nesting behavior and the importance of keeping away from the nesting grounds for the sake of the eggs and the parents. For even the most well trained eye can have difficulty finding their nests and the wondering adult plovers around the wrack line. I was fascinated by the kids’ excitement in learning about the snowy plover and their enthusiasm in becoming Jr. Field Rangers to protect wildlife and their habitat. With the enthusiasm and excitement generated afterward I knew that I had accomplished the overall goal. Near the end as I was preparing to pack, a visitor came up to me and she said “she had seen the plover signs before but didn’t exactly know why or what they were protecting but now it all makes sense, thank you.” I became even happier when she told me that.

 

The whole presentation experience was a great opportunity for me to share my knowledge about something I really care about. It is also a perfect example of how doing field work can further aid field rangers in their interpretation programs and interactions with their audience. In other news, the shorebird surveys and Western Snowy Plover nest monitoring continues  and hopefully by the end of the month six plover eggs will have successfully hatched! It’s been an amazing experience seeing how dedicated the plover parents are and how intelligent they become as the nesting season continuous. And with that I hope that everyone was able to enjoy the World Cup Final, it was an amazing game by the way!!!

Araceli Morales
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