August 28, 2017
The following questions frequently asked by audience and/or tips are based on feedback from previous Speaking for Wildlife presenters:
- I am a Field Trip leader. We are planning on starting another season of walks in town. A landowner asked about insurance for the walkers. Was it stated at some point, perhaps in the 101 training, that if we went through the class and led a walk UNH had participant coverage for this? If so, is there documentation to this effect that I can provide the landowner to assure them? Usually the insurance for the participants (as opposed to you, as a UNHCE volunteer) is associated with whatever land the walk occurs on, not with UNH Cooperative Extension. Private landowners in NH are protected by state statute. Here's what I have to pass along from SPACE (Statewide program of Action to Conserve our Environment), which is the Current Use Coalition organization for landowners whose land is enrolled in Current Use. The link at the end includes all of the RSA language, which the landowner can look over.
- What kind of liability do I have if I allow others to use my land? New Hampshire has a statute that limits the liability of landowners that allow public access to their land. The key to understanding this is in the concept of "duty of care". To those you invite to your property you owe a duty of care. If your land is unposted, or your land is posted but you give permission for any of the uses listed within this statute without asking for anything in return, you have no duty of care for the user's well being. Details about landowner liability may be found by following this link.
- Do different species of bats hibernate in the same hibernacula?" Answer from Emily Brunkhurst of NH Fish & Game: Yes, different species of bats do use the same hibernacula. They may be in different parts of the hibernacula to take advantage of slightly colder or warmer temperatures, but also can be all mixed in together. In many mines here the northern long-eared bats tuck themselves into cracks and bolt holes in the ceiling, while little brown bats cling to the walls, sometimes singly and sometimes in small clusters. The other three hibernating species may also be found in the same mine.
- Is there a Coverts organization in Maine? There is no Coverts Program in Maine. Maine has an organization called Small Woodlot Owners Association of Maine that supports the interests of landowners, but it's not a volunteer program nor does it have a focus on wildlife or habitat. They do offer educational programs periodically.
- What can the farmer do to help wildlife? Suggest that farmers can contact not only the Agricultural agent in their County Extension office, but also their County Forester, who can help with wildlife habitat management. Other references include:
- How much of our forests did Native Americans really burn in pre-settlement times? Matt Tarr came across an excellent research paper that you might want to read (or skim!) related to this question: Indian-Set Fires in the Forests of the Northeastern United States Emily W. B. Russell
- What species are on the Threatened & Endangered Species list today? New Hampshire Fish & Game is the agency responsible for tracking all "TES" wildlife in the state. A complete list of both state- and federally-endangered and threatened wildlife is on their website here: Endangered and Threatened Wildlife of New Hampshire You may also be interested in the complete list of all wildlife occurring in the state: Wildlife Species Occurring in New Hampshire
- What tree species existed in New Hampshire in the pre-settlement period? Although it's a dense paper, if you are interested in this topic, here's a paper that shows, in great detail, the trees in New England during European settlement (down to the number of each type to tree, based on pre-settlement tree surveys): Forests of Pre-settlement New England. Another great reference is William Cronon's book, "Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists and the Ecology of New England," available from libraries and bookstores.
- How did coyotes get here (Canada or from the west)? Current research suggests that coyotes got to northern New England from both the north and west, mixing genes with the Algonquin wolf along the way. They entered NH around 1944, and were first seen in Plymouth. Click here to read NH Fish & Game's wildlife profile for Eastern Coyote Read more with this link to an article on Eastern "Coy-Wolves"
- How are ducks doing in New Hampshire? According to NH Fish & Game waterfowl biologist Ed Robinson, ducks and geese are doing well in New Hampshire and the entire Eastern Seaboard. Both wood ducks and mallards have high populations, as do resident Canada geese. Resident geese can be a nuisance in the winter as they congregate on commercial lawns, ponds, golf courses and airports. The only duck species that is in decline in New Hampshire is the black duck. Black ducks are very secretive. They nest in the northern boreal forests (northern NH) and spend winters and migratory periods in coastal marshes in southern NH. During breeding season, black ducks don't tolerate human disturbance well, so any human development encroaching on ponds and marshes where they nest will impact this species. According to Ed, "when black ducks abandon a pond, mallards generally take their place and out-compete them for territory in the future. So when they leave, black ducks generally don't come back." As human development continues to expand throughout NH, black duck habitat continues to be impacted with resulting declines in this species. Click here to learn more about Black Ducks in a wildlife profile from the NH Wildlife Action Plan.
- Are there local places where we can see grassland birds? Where are the local wildlife corridors? Audience really liked local materials - added slides showing local parts of town, showed a slide of the 1854 town report showing income from bounties, etc. Says Cynthia Bruss & John Trachy: "we added some local slides which were appreciated and it was suggested that more would be nice. Folks want to know about their own town."
Other Presenter Tips and Ideas
- "Read the prepared remarks for each slide several times prior to the presentation, but in the presentation, speak from shortened notes or from memory, prompted by the slides. It feels--and I think also appears to the audience--more natural."
- Check out your location beforehand, a few days ahead if possible. Check for the size of the screen (a home-sized screen is too small), ample seating, table to set up projector, etc. You may have to bring some things with you or borrow them from other locations (town hall, library, county UNHCE office)
- In "Backyard Wildlife" be sure to mention why it's not good to feed bears - check out "Something's Bruin" at NH Fish & Game's website to learn about living with bears.
- Check out Bat Conservation International's Website for great information on White-nose Syndrome if you're looking to learn more.
- If audience members are interested in hearing what calls sound like for any of the birds mentioned, you can access Cornell's All About Birds page to play clips.
- Make sure you bring a copy of the notes pages (either in the bin or you can print it at home)
- Be prepared to carry a very heavy tote! Get help if you need it.
- A laser pointer would be helpful (note: both kits now have one)
- Audiences like take-home items: NRCS bookmarks, brochures, magnets, etc. - talk to your Co. Forester for ideas