Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps Provides Hands-On Activities Creating New Habitat at Geddes Brook
Fifty-six volunteers from Central New York participated in the first Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps stewardship event at the Geddes Brook wetlands on Saturday, July 14. Volunteers got their hands dirty while becoming environmental stewards helping to create habitat along portions of a new green corridor connecting habitat from Onondaga Lake to upland sites.
“Our goal was to get our campers excited and involved in the cleanup and thanks to this partnership, we could make that happen,” said Erin Bortel, Program Director, Camp Green Teen.
Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps seeks to inspire future stewards of Onondaga Lake and its watershed through a hands-on, experience-based program that offers citizens and organizations the opportunity to participate in activities that help restore and sustain Onondaga Lake and its value as an Important Bird Area.
“Coupling conservation efforts in monitoring and restoring critical habitat with opportunities that provide the community with a sense of accomplishment is key to instilling stewardship for Onondaga Lake as well as enhancing it as an Important Bird Area,” said Frank Moses, Director, Montezuma Audubon Center. “All of the volunteers have been initiated by taking a conservation pledge and have received certificates that recognize their efforts as Onondaga Lake Conservation Stewards.”
“On Saturday, a team of volunteers worked alongside habitat experts as they created new wetlands, enhanced habitat, supported birding, and became environmental stewards of Onondaga Lake,” said John McAuliffe, Syracuse Program Director. “We thank everyone who participated in the first Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps event and contributed to the renewal of the Geddes Brook wetlands and the future of the Onondaga Lake watershed.”
“The native species planted on Saturday will help re-establish habitat at the Geddes Brook wetlands,” said Jeremy Neumann, Senior Scientist, Parsons. “We hope the volunteers will share their experiences with other local community members, and inspire them to get involved by becoming environmental stewards for Onondaga Lake and members of the Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps.”
The Geddes Brook stewardship event also provided opportunities for volunteers to learn from scientists about citizen science monitoring and data collection.
Activities included planting native shrubs and plants, conducting stream sampling, and learning from habitat experts from the Montezuma Audubon Center, Onondaga Audubon Society, Parsons, and Honeywell about wetlands and their importance in supporting the Onondaga Lake watershed and its value as an Important Bird Area.
The volunteer efforts at Geddes Brook will contribute to the transformation of 17 acres of land in the Onondaga Lake watershed into a diverse new habitat for wildlife such as fish, birds, frogs, and turtles. By planting up to 50,000 native species, re-establishing wetlands, and improving habitat, the project will improve the ecosystem and play a significant role in creating a productive, healthy Onondaga Lake watershed.
Organizations providing volunteers and staff include: Onondaga Audubon Society; Montezuma Audubon Center; Parsons; Honeywell; CH2M Hill; Fairmount Garden Club; CNY Wild Ones; Camp Green Teen; Honeywell Institute for Ecosystems Education teachers; State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF); Community Participation Working Group (CPWG); Anchor QEA, LLC; Terrestrial Environmental Specialists, Inc.; O’Brien & Gere; and Applied Ecological Services (AES).
The Conservation Corps‘ founding partners include the Montezuma Audubon Center, Onondaga Audubon Society, Parsons, and Honeywell. A broad-based partnership will help to ensure that the program becomes self-governing in the next three years. On August 11, 2012, an Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps stewardship event will be held at Nine Mile Creek.