Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust is a recipient of a Cornell Land Trust Grant for 2023. The Cornell Lab’s Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative awarded grants to 14 land trusts throughout the country to assist with management and restoration of private protected lands, integrate bird conservation into prioritization and planning, and develop partnerships within the birding community to amplify conservation efforts.
Mount Grace’s work funded by this grant will focus on Guiney Memorial Forest, a 33-acre wildlife sanctuary in Royalston. This small sanctuary has various habitat types, including maturing white pine, hemlock, and hardwood forest as well as a diverse understory, spruce-fir tamarack forested swamp, and more.
“The Ruffed Grouse Society & American Woodcock Society is excited to support and be an active partner on this project in our Northeast Region!” said Todd Waldron, RGS & AWS Northeast Forest Conservation Director.
Protected in 1998, Father John Guiney’s family donated this 33-acre property to Mount Grace on the condition it be maintained as a wildlife sanctuary. Funds from this grant will be used to restore habitat and create habitat management demonstration areas that support targeted bird populations and can be used as outreach and educational tools for land trust staff, conservation practitioners, and private landowners.
Work will take place concurrently with work at Birch Hill funded by a U.S. Forest Service Landscape Scale Restoration Grant. Partners include the Ruffed Grouse Society, National Wild Turkey Federation, Massachusetts Department of Fish & Game and Department of Conservation & Recreation. Work will include outreach to birders participating in eBird surveys of the site and outreach to landowners interested in replicating site management techniques to improve bird habitat on their own land.
“Small landowners play a significant role in forest stewardship in southern New England,” says Stewardship Manager Tessa Dowling. “This project is an opportunity to engage local landowners in bird-friendly forestry by demonstrating ecological restoration work on a scale that is relevant to private owners of small forest tracts.”
Work is set to begin by the end of September, with opportunities to join eBird monitoring efforts soon to follow. To stay up to date on this project, visit mountgrace.org.