Banding an Adirondack loon

BRI-Adk Loon banding

The Wildlife Conservation Society's Loon Conservation Fund provides support for loon conservation programs in and around the Adirondack Park.

The Wildlife Conservation Society's Loon Conservation Fund was created in 2005 through a bequest from Dr. John Jeffrey Nicholas of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Nicholas and his family spent many enjoyable summers on Adirondack lakes, listening to the loon calls echo across the water, and watching these beautiful birds raise their chicks. His memory lives on through the generous legacy he left with the Wildlife Conservation Society Loon Conservation Fund at ACT.

Since its establishment, the fund has provided annual support to the Wildlife Conservation Society and its collaborator, the Biodiversity Research Institute, to conduct loon conservation programs in and around the Park.

The Loon Conservation Fund supports research on the major threats to the Adirondack loon population, including mercury pollution, acid rain, shoreline development, and climate change. This work informs regional and national policies that protect loons and other wildlife from these threats. Results from this science recently contributed to the mercury emission regulations for coal-fired power plants in New York and the Northeast, reducing their mercury emissions by 50 percent by 2010.

The Loon Conservation Fund also supports the Annual Loon Census.

"The Loon Census is a great way for the public to get involved in WCS' loon conservation," said Zoe Smith, director of WCS Adirondack Program. "We recruit hundreds of volunteers each July to help us count loons on area lakes and ponds."

The census provides a yearly  snapshot of the New York loon population for WCS scientists and wildlife managers. Results estimate that the Adirondack loon population is between 1,500 and 2,000 birds, almost double the population estimate from the 1980s survey.

Other activities supported by the Loon Conservation Fund include the middle-school curriculum, "Science on the Fly!"

"This web-based program provides an interactive way to educate students about the environmental impact of airborne pollutants" said Nina Schoch of BRI,  "and inspires them to become actively involved in conservation."

For more information about "Science on the Fly!" click here.

Support from the WCS Loon Conservation Fund at ACT has been instrumental in enabling WCS and BRI to increase scientific and public understanding of the conservation issues affecting loons and their aquatic habitats in the Adirondack Park.