FALMOUTH, Maine – Maine Audubon seeks volunteers to survey roads in western Maine for signs of wildlife road crossings. Information collected by volunteers about where, when and how many animals cross our roads is the critical first step in identifying ways to reduce wildlife road mortality.
The western mountains region of Maine has been identified by many local, regional and international conservation efforts, including President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, as an important natural area for people and wildlife.
Since the inception of Maine Audubon’s Wildlife Road Watch program in 2010, more than 460 volunteers have reported more than 3,600 wildlife observations, including reports of rare and endangered species. Last year, 40 volunteers surveyed 22 routes throughout southern Maine. This is the first year that western Maine roads in Franklin, Oxford and Somerset counties will be surveyed.
Maine Audubon is looking for volunteers to survey sections of Routes 4, 16, 27 and 201. “This area of Maine has been identified as important habitat for large-scale wildlife movement in New England. We know that species movement in this area is impacted by roads and traffic,” said Barbara Charry, Maine Audubon wildlife biologist. “The goal of this program is to identify areas of concentrated movement and figure out what can be done to improve the conditions for Maine wildlife and Maine drivers. We can’t do it without our team of trained citizen scientists.”
Roads can have a big impact on wildlife by impeding movement and separating populations, as well as killing individuals from collisions. Biologists with Maine Audubon and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife will use the information gathered by volunteers to work with town planners and the Maine Department of Transportation to reduce road risks to rare wildlife and improve conditions for drivers.
“Maine has a unique mix of wildlife and well-traveled roads,” noted Charry. “We find that people are genuinely interested in taking care of our wildlife.”
Volunteers are asked to survey a designated section of road – by car or by foot – while recording any evidence of wildlife crossing. “It’s a minimal time commitment and a great opportunity for families to learn about wildlife together. It helps to get families outside on a regular basis in the spring and summer months.”
Volunteers may attend one of two webinar trainings that will be held on Sunday, April 7 from 10 to 11:30 am and Wednesday, April 10, from 6:30 to 8 pm. Volunteers will need a computer and internet connection to participate. Volunteers without internet access may have the option to use a computer at a local library or listen to the webinar using a landline or cell phone. To learn more about the Wildlife Road Watch or to RSVP for the training, contact Amanda Moeser at Maine Audubon at (207) 781-6180 ext. 207 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more at www.maineaudubon.org.
A trusted leader for more than 160 years, Maine Audubon’s science-based approach to conservation, education and advocacy advances wildlife and wildlife habitat conservation throughout the state of Maine. The largest wildlife conservation organization in the state, Maine Audubon has eight centers and wildlife sanctuaries and serves over 50,000 people annually, with 15,000 members and 2,000 volunteers to support its endeavors.