Wildlife Blog

Providing Homes for Burrowing Owls

By Colleen Beaty, Senior Research Assistant WHC member Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. recently partnered up with WHC’s Tucson office and the Arizona-based raptor rescue organization Wild at Heart to construct artificial burrows for rescued burrowing owls at Freeport’s Safford Operations facility. Freeport produced a video about this project and gave us permission to share it. You can watch the video below to see the volunteers in action and find out more about this fantastic project: If you live out in the western parts of the U.S., you may recognize the burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia). Unlike most owls, they are [more...]

Celebrating Wildlife Programs in the Huron to Erie Corridor

Wildlife Habitat Council 2014 Huron to Erie Celebration

By Martha Gruelle, Director, Huron to Erie Waterways for Wildlife Project Rain cleared and the sun shone for more than 60 business and conservation professionals who gathered on April 29 to celebrate corporate wildlife programs in the Lake Huron to Lake Erie corridor. The group recognized 20 Wildlife at Work and Corporate Lands for Learning programs in southeast Michigan and southwest Ontario that were recently certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council. Special recognition went to regional award winners, who were selected by partner conservationists. Celebration participants also took the opportunity to learn ways to improve their habitat programs. They learned about [more...]

Partnerships and Technology: Keys to Success for Warm Springs Ponds Program

Wildlife Team members at BP's Warm Springs Pond check an osprey nesting platform

By Josiane Bonneau, Director of Field Programs I recently participated in one of the monthly team meetings for the BP Warm Springs Ponds program. As the Director of Field Programs, I no longer get a chance to regularly interact with site-level teams and dive into the nuts and bolts of maintaining a program. Needless to say, I miss it. So you can probably understand why I jumped at the chance to be part of the conference call–even if I secretly would have been willing to travel to beautiful Montana to attend in person! I was delighted to become acquainted with [more...]

Small Refinery, Big Impact on Learning

Unfished pond at the Billings Refinery

By Julie Napolitano, Education and Event Assistant The ExxonMobil Billings Refinery in Billings, Montana, may be the smallest ExxonMobil refinery in the world, but its wildlife habitat area is making a big impact on students at a local college. While meeting with representatives from ExxonMobil and their partners from Rocky Mountain College during a recent Corporate Lands for Learning (CLL) site visit, I was excited to hear about the wealth of research opportunities their wildlife habitat is providing college students, an often underrepresented audience in CLL programs. Students from Rocky Mountain College’s Environmental Science classes use the refinery’s surrounding habitat [more...]

10 Native Vines to Attract Butterflies

purple passionflower

By Colleen Beaty, Senior Research Assistant Native vines are an important but often overlooked component of butterfly habitat. Many vines serve as larval host plants (food sources) for caterpillars. They provide cover for butterflies and caterpillars, and the flowers provide nectar for butterflies (and many other pollinators, including hummingbirds). Most native vines also have attractive foliage and colorful flowers that would provide an aesthetically-pleasing addition to your site’s landscaping. Spring is generally the best time to install native plantings, so if you’d like to add vines for pollinators, now is the time! Here are 10 examples of native North American [more...]

Hands on Learning to Celebrate Earth Week

Students played a game to learn how non-native, invasive plants outcompete native plants for resources.

By Robert Campbell and Rebecca Culler, Education Specialists For the fifth consecutive year, high school students from West Nottingham Academy in northeastern Maryland celebrated Earth Week at New Beginnings – The Woodlawn Wildlife Area. New Beginnings – The Woodlawn Wildlife Area is a former Superfund site, comprised of a closed landfill and an adjacent natural area owned by Bridgestone Americas, Inc., that is an ongoing effort to transform the land into a thriving wildlife area that’s a unique natural resource in Cecil County, Maryland. During the field trip, students learned about local wildlife habitats and joined in the ongoing land [more...]

Collaboration with Forest Service Underway

Lori McKeon, USFS

By Andrew Cook, Development Manager Lori McKean of the United States Forest Service (USFS) is working at WHC’s Silver Spring office on a four-month assignment to help develop shared conservation goals between WHC member companies and the USFS. The ensuing work will serve as an important framework for collaborations between WHC and other federal (and state and local) land management agencies. The USFS is entrusted with 193 million acres of forests, grasslands, and headwaters in the United States, which are often adjacent to industrial operations and population centers. This opportunity will provide an in-depth identification of conservation and educational alignments [more...]

Trail Blazing Wildflower Adventures

Galearis spectabilis

By Julie Napolitano, Education and Event Assistant Spring is one of my favorite times of year and hiking through my local state parks is one of the most enjoyable ways to experience this change of seasons. Last year I made it a goal to work on my wildflower identification skills but staring at pictures in a field guide just wasn’t cutting it, so I put on my hiking boots, grabbed my iPhone, and set out for the closest trail—Patapsco Valley State Park. Last year, I identified close to 30 native wildflowers in the Mid-Atlantic area, with Galearis spectabilis being my [more...]

WHC Receives Illinois DNR Grant to Benefit Lake Michigan Shoreline

WHC staff meet IL Governor Pat Quinn

By Colter Sonneville, Ecological Restoration Field Manager Fellow Chicago Field Office staffer Shelley Cabrera and I recently attended a press conference given by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn at Chicago’s Oak Street Beach. We were there on a sunny spring Saturday to hear the governor announce that WHC was one of 26 beneficiaries of a $1.6 million investment in environmental and education projects that will benefit the Lake Michigan shoreline. WHC was awarded a grant of $50,004 for “Restoring Urban-Industrial Habitats in the Illinois Coastal Zone.” With a focus on the South Chicago and Calumet Region, WHC will improve hydrologic regimes, [more...]

The Night I Saw an Eastern Tiger Salamander

eastern tiger salamander

by Colleen Beaty, Senior Research Assistant, Wildlife Habitat Council Way back in college I took a Herpetology class, which included four outdoor field trips. One of my fondest memories from that class is our nighttime field trip to a large vernal pool in a nearby forest. There was, of course, an abundance of spring peepers and other tree frogs, complete with the cacophony of all the males calling for mates. Vernal pools like the one I visited that night are particularly attractive to amphibians because they provide a relatively safe place for them to breed in the spring. Vernal pools [more...]