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Bird Transect Study at Little Bennett Regional Park
By Russell Winter
I am recent graduate from the Global Ecology Studies Program (GESP) at Poolesville High School in Poolesville, Maryland. GESP is a magnet program that focuses on environmental studies and sciences and learning about the environment through hands-on experiences. Every senior in the Global Ecology Program is required to take the Advanced Placement Environmental Science course and to do a Senior Project. This project spans the entire year and must benefit the environment in some way -- whether it be directly or by influencing other people to help the environment.
I chose a project that involved original research. Such projects are usually more involved than most other types of projects. The head of GESP, Mrs. Joyce Bailey, informed me about a project that would involve conducting a transect survey at little Bennett Regional Park. I immediately decided to do it because it seemed like a very good fit for me with my interest in birds and skills as a birder.
In September of 2010, I went to a Friends of Little Bennett meeting to discuss my project. I decided that the purpose of this study would be to collect data on bird populations and the number of bird species sighted in Little Bennett Regional Park. In doing so, I studied the seasonal fluctuations of bird populations and the overall bird species diversity of the Park. I knew that I would have to choose a site that would be representative of the entire Little Bennett ecosystem if I was going to study the overall health of the ecosystem. So I chose a 1.4 mile long segment of the Western Piedmont Trail at the center of the Park. It has very diverse habitats and is representative of the Little Bennett ecosystem.
Procedure and Protocol
What I Learned
Since my study only spanned from September 19, 2010 to April 30, 2011, I hope that this study continues. It would be good to have a complete year of data including the summer months, though a continuous monitoring of bird species diversity over the span of at least a few years would be most informative. Future projects might study other areas of the Park because there are different habitats throughout the Park. Only by studying other areas of the Park can there be a complete picture of bird species diversity in Little Bennett Regional Park.
Posted July 5, 2011