By Jim Cox, Vertebrate Ecologist
Ever wonder what the wildlife of the region think of your membership contributions to Tall Timbers? Well…
Membership contributions have helped to provide over 265 new homes for Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. These homes (i.e., artificial cavities) occur throughout the Red Hills region and have helped to stabilize and expand populations of this endangered species.
Membership contributions have helped to conserve over 120,000 acres of woodpecker habitat in Florida and Georgia through the Safe Harbor Program. This voluntary program provides landowners with incentives to manage their properties to the benefit of woodpeckers and other wildlife, and, as a result, everyone becomes a winner.
Memberships also have helped to enhance woodpecker populations on other private lands elsewhere in the Southeast. Juvenile woodpeckers from the Red Hills have been shipped to the Jones Ecological Research Center (Georgia), Avalon Plantation (Florida), Wetappo Creek (Florida), and Sehoy Plantation (Alabama) to help bolster these populations.
Membership contributions have been used to leverage nearly $610,000 in grant dollars for Vertebrate Ecology over the past five years from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and other granting institutions. These funds go directly toward defining conservation and management activities that can help improve the outlook for declining species such as Bachman’s Sparrow, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Loggerhead Shrike, and Gopher Tortoise.
Memberships enable us to share the information generated through research with hundreds of land managers each year. Vertebrate Ecology has developed dozens of brochures and presentations over the past three years that go directly into the hands of land managers working throughout the southeastern U.S. Your dollars are improving management on hundreds of thousands of acres.
So, if you ever wonder what your dollars do, just listen carefully to the music of birds pouring out of an open pine forest on a bright Spring morning.