On a clear blue day this past May, two Reserve staff had the experience of a lifetime: helping to band an adult pair of osprey nesting near the Discovery Center boardwalk. Working alongside Great Bay 5K Race Director and osprey expert Bob Kennedy, the trio managed to capture, band, and release both the female and the male, all within 46 minutes. In early July, the banding of the juvenile osprey was another success, and Kennedy hopes to monitor the Great Bay populations of osprey moving forward.

Reserve staff are now working to enable online access to the camera overlooking the nest, a major goal of the Stewards’ appeal over the past year. Education staff are also working to develop curricula for learning about this impressive species and all of the factors that contribute to its survival, such as pollutants, climate change, available habitat, and water quality.

In our 2019 call for support, we set the ambitious goal of raising $30,000. We are thrilled to report so many friends of Great Bay answered the call, with more than $34,000 in donations.

In addition to helping with the osprey camera, another goal of our appeal was to support the completion of a major new exhibit on horseshoe crabs at the Discovery Center. Together with funding from a Wildlife Heritage Foundation of NH grant, this exhibit will be installed in September.

We are thrilled that your assistance also provided time and supplies toward research projects in the estuary, including continued DNA monitoring of invasive species as well as understanding the role of invasive crabs in the region. Stewards support allowed the Reserve to purchase supplies, lab time, and analysis support to start an eDNA monitoring program at the Great Bay NERR in partnership with the University of New Hampshire, and allowed the Reserve to restore a small john boat and purchase a new motor and all the safety equipment necessary to use the vessel for shallow water research and data collection.

Your generosity also allowed the Reserve to begin work on a soundscape monitoring program. This emerging field of ecology records and analyzes sounds to determine what types of animals and birds are in an environment, when they migrate, and when and where they are feeding or breeding. Funds were also used for the continued support of the Great Bay Community Wildlife Garden, with new signs installed this year and the planting of new native flower beds.

With your help we have also achieved our goal of assisting communities around Great Bay with water quality issues through a public outreach campaign around wetland buffers. The Reserve Coastal Training Program Coordinator is producing an information and graphic two-pager that targets municipal volunteers to highlight the benefits of vegetated buffers, specifically for climate adaptation.

None of these projects would be possible without those who answered our call for support of research, education, and community outreach, and the Stewards are so grateful to all of you who helped.

Want to become a member or donate to the Stewards? Find out more!