Our overall goal is to integrate avian research, the training of current and future wildlife professionals, and the education of people of all ages in the mid-Michigan region, while showcasing the diversity of wildlife inhabiting one of mid-Michigan’s most diverse wildlife research areas. Specifically, we will (1) collect long-term data on the health of the landbird community of the Rose Lake State Wildlife Research Area during breeding and migratory seasons, (2) provide university students the opportunity to be active participants in ongoing research and learn skills associated with capturing and handling of wild birds, (3) engage with children of all ages with hands-on activities in a science-related discipline, and (4) provide a unique opportunity for bird enthusiasts in the Great Lakes region on state-managed land.
- Assess diversity and abundance of landbird species using the Rose Lake State Wildlife Research Area (RLSWRA) during the migratory and breeding seasons (month to month).
- Assess physiological and immunological health of landbirds in relation to habitat use, food and nutrient availability, and exposure to parasites/pathogens.
- Assess long-term temporal changes in the abundance and diversity of birds using RLWRA, which may provide insight into population-level changes associated with climate change.
- Facilitate research experiences for university undergraduate and graduate students by providing data sets and a field site to conduct their research projects.
- Provide opportunities for data sharing with agency professionals and research scientists as well as provide opportunities for visiting scientists to collaborate on landbird-based research.
Education & Training Goals:
- Provide hands-on training for our future wildlife professionals, by teaching them how to capture and handle wild birds. Depending on the status of the on-going research there may be additional training in banding birds, collecting blood and tissue samples, examining birds for ticks, radio telemetry, and habitat sampling.
- Host field trips for university classes that provide not only exposure to techniques used in avian-based research, but more importantly, show them how those techniques are being applied for ongoing research projects; a component frequently missing from many college courses.
Outreach & Engagement Goals:
- Work with instructors and kids from K-12 schools, summer camps, 4-H groups, and others to provide an opportunity to connect with nature through hands-on activities, creating enthusiasm and appreciation for our natural resources and the intrinsic value of wildlife.
- Connect with a growing community of bird enthusiasts to enhance appreciation for and visibility of state-owned lands beyond the traditional, consumptive uses (i.e. hunting and fishing).
- Provide a venue for community building and the exchange of local, historical, and scientific knowledge.