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Press Release

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
National Wetlands Research Center
700 Cajundome Blvd.
Lafayette, LA 70506

Contact: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Phone: 337-266-8655
Fax: 337-266-8541
For Release: March 9, 1999

USGS National Wetlands Research Center Celebrates Fourth Acadiana Migratory Bird Day

They're baaaack!

The millions of birds that migrate through Acadiana in early spring are already arriving. And for the fourth year, the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wetlands Research Center will celebrate Acadiana Migratory Bird Day with activities for kindergartners to senior citizens on Apr. 9 and 10.

Dr. Robert E. Stewart, center director, said, "Folks in this area are privileged to witness this annual cycle of nature. Because wetlands are critical to migratory birds as either resting areas or summer habitat, our researchers take a special interest in increasing community awareness of birds like hummingbirds and warblers."

The celebration will begin Apr. 9 at 2 p.m. with award ceremonies honoring Lafayette Parish school children winning a poster contest with the theme, "Catch the Migration Sensation." Prizes will be awarded for grades K-2, 3-5, and 6-8. Prizes in each category include a $100 Savings Bond for first place; $50 Savings Bond, second place; and a book on birds, third place. Winners will also receive an International Migratory Bird Day poster.

The awards ceremony and all other Migratory Bird Day events will take place at the Center's headquarters, 700 Cajundome Blvd., Lafayette. Friday night and Saturday morning sessions are open to sixth graders to adults. No reservations are needed, but seating is limited to the first 80 participants.

Friday night at 7 p.m., Vice President and Director of Wings of the Americas, Nancy Jo Craig, will speak about bird migration and her organization, a new international bird conservation program of The Nature Conservancy made possible by Canon U.S.A., Inc.

Craig formerly worked at the Louisiana State University's Center for Wetland Resources, publishing some of the first papers to report wetland loss and its causes in coastal Louisiana. She established the Natural Heritage Program in Louisiana in 1984 and then established and directed the state's Nature Conservancy program for 10 years. She has received numerous environmental awards and served on the 1992-93 Clinton Transition Team for Natural Resources.

On April 10, events will begin with a 9 a.m. welcome from Dr. Stewart and an overview of the program by Dr. Carroll L. Cordes, branch chief of animal ecology. Featured speakers include Dr. Wylie Barrow, center research biologist, who will discuss "Wild Fruit and Birds" at 9:15 a.m. He will be followed at 10 a.m. by Bill Fontenot of the Lafayette Nature Station addressing "Backyard Gardening for Birds."

At 10:45 a.m. Dr. Clint Jeske, center research biologist, will discuss "What Is a Bird and How Do We Know?" At 11:30 a.m. Letitia Butcher and Cathryn Diaz of Acadian Wildlife Education will speak on "Migratory Birds in Louisiana." Dr. Cordes will present closing remarks at 12:15 p.m.

Dr. Cordes noted, "We believe that deteriorating and lost habitat is behind the declines in numbers of many of our songbird species. For example, prothonotary warblers are listed as a species of management concern in Louisiana and depend on adequate habitat in and around Lafayette to breed."

Acadiana Migratory Bird Day is a local celebration held in connection with International Migratory Bird Day, sponsored by several private groups and federal agencies, including the U.S. Geological Survey. For more information on Acadiana Migratory Bird Day, contact Debbie Norling at 337-266-8654 or Susan Horton at 337-266-8655.

As the nation's largest water, earth and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2,000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial scientific information to resource managers, planners and other customers. This information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, to contribute to the conservation and the sound economic and physical development of the nation's natural resources and to enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy and mineral resources.

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