April 23, 2019  
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Volunteers needed: Help restore cottontail habitat
Volunteers needed: Help restore cottontail habitat
On Sept. 22, 28, and 29, in celebration of National Public Lands Day, the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) will be hosting a volunteer work day to help restore native shrubland habitat at Libby Field in Scarborough. Shrubland habitat is home to many species including the New England cottontail rabbit, Maine’s only native cottontail. The refuge is looking for your help.

The New England cottontail rabbit is listed as state endangered in Maine. Its numbers have dramatically dropped over the past 50 years throughout its range. In Maine, the rabbit population is estimated to be only three hundred individuals. The cottontail depends on dense thicket habitat in order to hide from predators.

“If you can walk through it, it isn’t good New England Cottontail habitat,” says Kate O’Brien, the Wildlife Biologist at Rachel Carson NWR. This shrubby habitat is steadily disappearing and being degraded in Maine for a number of reasons including; development, fragmentation, invasive plants and forest maturation. With a decline in the habitat comes a decline in the species that depend on this habitat type. In addition to the New England cottontail, species such as the eastern towhee, American woodcock, prairie warbler, willow flycatcher, and black racer all depend on shrubland habitat for existence, and their populations are dwindling.

Volunteers are needed from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. all days to assist with planting of native shrubs propagated at our own greenhouse. You can park at Uncle Don’s Spurwink Country Kitchen at 150 Spurwink Road in Scarborough, and we will provide transportation to Libby Field. Carpooling to Uncle Don’s is encouraged. Please bring water, sturdy boots and pants, sunscreen/hat, bug spray, and lunch/snacks.

Please contact Alexa Duchesneau at 207-646-9226 ext. 33 or alexa_duchesneau@fws.gov to sign up.


Posted on Thursday, September 13, 2018 (Archive on Thursday, October 4, 2018)
Posted by Jym St. Pierre   Contributed by Jym St. Pierre

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