We joined LTC shortly after moving to northern Michigan from Massachusetts seven years ago and volunteering with Little Traverse Conservancy for the last two years. It was a draw to the area to see such a well-established group actively working on growing and protecting the region’s natural beauty and educating us all in the process. In our second year monitoring frog calls at five LTC sites in Pellston, we also monitor an American kestrel nest box on a nature preserve within walking distance of our house, though the box has only been up for two years, so far, no one has moved in.
We have tried to instill an appreciation for nature in our kids from very young ages, and access to so many beautiful mapped preserves has helped tremendously. When Jack was two and Heidi six, they could name over 60 birds from just their calls using the Wild Republic Audubon birds. We have a pillowcase full of them, and while the bird was still hidden, we would squeeze the bird, and they would race to be the first one to name the correct species.
So when I saw LTC was looking for people to monitor frog calls, it was a perfect fit. Cacia has been an excellent intermediary trying to match the right volunteer opportunities to the exemplary volunteers and has made it as easy as possible to help LTC achieve its goals. We are still very amateur at our frog calls, but we are in it for the long haul! The kids have a hard time staying awake for the actual monitoring since they’ve gone to bed at 8 pm their entire lives, and the calls need to be done at sunset, so we practice identifying the calls at other spots, including our property, during the day.
Thanks to Chuck Robbins for getting such lovely pictures for us all the time and the Robbins family for joining us on our LTC hikes!
Story and photos submitted by Kestrel monitor Lynn Walters-Fraze (Black Hole Preserve, Emmet County)