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Valle De Oro National Wildlife Refuge Friends, Volunteers, and Supporters Contributing to Scientific Research

The very first urban national wildlife refuge in the Southwest, Valle De Oro National Wildlife Refuge, is also one of the first to take part in the pilot project called Nature’s Notebook.

Nature’s Notebook is an online monitoring program of the USA National Phenology Network. It is a national effort to create long-term data sets that will be used for scientific discovery and decision making. In cooperation with the Refuge System’s Inventory and Monitoring initiative, volunteers at Valle De Oro will be recording phenology. Phenology is essentially nature’s calendar – when flowers bloom, when eggs hatch, when bears hibernate; all of the timing and habits that allow an ecosystem to function.

The measurements that will be taken on the refuge are critical to ensuring the management practices are best suited to the area. Refuge Manager Jennifer Owen-White says the refuge will rely on this data to inform managers about what kind of habitat should be restored and how they should do it.

The wildlife refuge, located just south of Albuquerque, New Mexico, standing at just 570 acres, was once the home of the Valley Gold Dairy. The dairy land was heavily used; cows compacted the soil, nutrients were lost, and it was not managed with wildlife in mind. The hope is that the information collected through Nature’s Notebook will provide a much better idea of what the landscape needs.

The volunteers, the Friends of Valle De Oro, and citizens are the muscle behind the data collection. They are establishing a baseline of information for the management plan. Schools are getting involved as well. Albuquerque’s Nex+Gen Academy High School teachers are working with the USA National Phenology Network to design a senior project based around data collection at the refuge. USA National Phenology Network and the teachers are working together to make sure that the students collect accurate and rigorous data about wildlife, plants, and habitat.

This partnership is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when refuges work with outside groups. This collaboration shows what can be done when there are similar goals in mind.

Valle De Oro National Wildlife Refuge recently celebrated their second birthday, check out their celebration in this short video:

Permanent link to this article: http://refugeassociation.org/2015/01/valle-de-oro-national-wildlife-refuge-friends-volunteers-and-supporters-contributing-to-scientific-research/

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