Spend Spring Break Restoring the Gulf!

The National Audubon Society, in partnership with the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Alabama, is offering an Alternative Spring Break opportunity for students and others interested in restoring the health of Gulf ecosystems through research and education. Qualified applicants will have previous experience or background that fits our project needs, i.e. some background in earth sciences, field research or science related experience. Preference will be given to students, but we are opening this up to non-students at this time as well. Please read on for more details and to find out how to apply for this unique hands-on restoration and education experience.

Projects will include:

Night Life on Weeks Bay presentation
Participants will assist with collecting sound recordings, movie clips and still pictures of nocturnal fauna associated with Weeks Bay and surrounding habitats for the purpose of creating an interpretive slide show. The slide show will be accessible via computer within the Visitor Center and online. The slideshow will be used to inform the public of the richness and diversity of habitat and fauna within the Weeks Bay Reserve.
*The Reserve has limited photographic equipment available. Participants are welcome to bring their own.

Remnant bog habitat map
Participants will learn to identify key characteristics of bog habitat (soil and flora) and use their knowledge to locate and map habitat sites suitable for pitcher plant bog restoration. Pitcher plant bogs are critically endangered habitats (>98 percent decline) that once occurred on approximately 1.2 million acres in the lower coastal plain and are now estimated to occur on less than 5,000 acres in natural or nearly natural condition. Another 24,000 acres of bog habitat probably remains in degraded or hydrologically altered condition. Even these liberal estimates indicate at least 97 percent of the former bog habitat has been destroyed or seriously altered.

Additional Activities:

* Walking tours and surveys of Dauphin Island and Fort Morgan, two important bird areas and primary concerns in Alabama due to their proximity to the Gulf waters and the severity of oil still being found
* Canoeing, kayaking, and hiking
* Boat outings
* Local Arts & Craft Festival and live music

Participants can expect to survey Weeks Bay Reserve habitats both by land and vessel. Early mornings and late evening work will be required. All activities are subject to change. Backgrounds in biology, botany, ecology, environmental studies, and ornithology are preferred. Students interested in a possible graduate study fellowship at the reserve are strongly encouraged to apply. Bunk style housing with kitchen will be provided from March 19-27. Food and travel expenses will NOT be covered. Spots are limited to six to eight participants.

If you meet the criteria and would like to participate please download an application at
http://www.audubonaction.org/springbreak.

Application deadline is March 14, 2011, but will be processed on a first-come, first-serve basis.

In addition to the Weeks Bay opportunity, we are offering a “Mini Spring Break” on March 17 & 18 at sites in coastal Alabama and Mississippi. No special experience is necessary. Volunteers can sign up for both days or just one. Projects include invasive species removal, habitat restoration, and community awareness. Because we cannot provide lodging, this opportunity is best-suited for local participants, or people who can arrange for their own accommodations. Applications for Mini Spring Break are also available at http://www.audubonaction.org/springbreak

For more information or questions please feel free to contact Kelsey at kblum@audubon.org

Please feel free to forward this message to others who might be interested!

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