Scouts help at key N.Y. nature preserve

By Keith Dempsey at Brockville Recorder and Times on March 1, 2023

Two organizations dedicated to preserving the Upper St. Lawrence River joined forces with Scouts last week to help migratory birds across the river from Gananoque.

On Tuesday, Feb. 21, the Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT) and Save The River (STR) hosted a group of scouts and their families on the TILT’s newly-conserved Blind Bay Preserve in New York State.

Joined by their families, the members of Pack 55 and Troop 55 of Fort Drum worked with TILT and STR staff to install songbird nest boxes throughout the upland hardwood forest of the Preserve, while members of Troop 55 took to the water’s edge to install wood duck nest boxes.

Blind Bay is a historic breeding ground for muskellunge and 53 other aquatic species. In early 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that they had identified Blind Bay as a preferred site for their new Thousand Islands facility.

While working to install the nest boxes, the Scouts had plenty of time to learn and explore the variety of habitats the Preserve supports.

The upland section of Blind Bay is home to many species of birds, reptiles, insects and a variety of native plant species, making it an ecologically valuable property to conserve now and for generations to come, officials with the conservation groups say.

Blind Bay is located within the core of the Algonquin to Adirondack wildlife corridor (A2A), which includes the Frontenac Arch, and is situated along the Atlantic Flyway, a migratory path for a significant number of bird species.

“With habitat loss being a major contributor to alarming declines in bird populations, the conservation of this property is already a major asset to numerous species as a place to stopover during migration, forage for food, or breed,” said TILT’s land protection specialist, Nate Helmuth.

“Today, we’re helping them out a little more by installing nest boxes that can be utilized by many species as a safe place to raise their young.”

(Keith Dempsey is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)

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