In the interest of forging a link between the prospecting community and naturalists, we have a proposal. The non-governmental organization BIRD STUDIES CANADA is seeking volunteers to monitor the breeding success of that most-Canadian icon, the common loon. It occurred to us at CMJ that geologists have unique access to undisturbed lakes with loon populations. Our proposal is that field crews volunteer to participate in the survey.
The survey is simple. In June, watch for loon pairs in a lake. In July look for newly hatched chicks. And in August record the number of chicks that have survived the summer. Results may be submitted either as hardcopy or by entering them online. This activity might make a pleasant change from swatting blackflies.
Often the mineral industry is demonized by various NGOs for environmental, human rights and health troubles, real or imagined. Here is an opportunity for front-line geologists to co-operate with an organization before problems arise. In the head office it is called community relations, sustainable development or a consultative approach. We call it people lending a hand because they are where the loons are, and because they care.
To learn more about monitoring the loon population or to get involved, please contact Bird Studies Canada at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-448-2473 ext. 212, or at www.bsc-oec.org and click on Volunteer Programs.
In the meantime, field crews might remember these tips when they are in loon country. Avoid the birds when possible. When boating, steer clear of shoreline areas that show evidence of loon activity. Watercraft can flood nests and disturb loons, sometimes permanently separating parents from chicks. Dont let the camp dog roam. Remove your trash when you leave an area. You might have some other tips to share with our readers, based on your own experience.
We wish all geologists and prospectors good luck and a safe season this summer, whether it is avoiding blackflies, counting loons or finding the mother lode.