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Bicknell's Thrush Habitat Protection Fund announced

WILMINGTON A unique group of partners, including The Adirondack Community Trust (ACT), announced Tuesday, July 17 at Whiteface Mountain the creation of a new fund to protect the Bicknells Thrush a rare migratory songbird that flies each year from the Dominican Republic and Haiti to summer in the Adirondacks. The Bicknells Thrush Habitat Protection Fund will create a mechanism to protect the rare birds wintering grounds in the Caribbean.

With more than 160 endowment funds that distribute over $500,000 in grants annually to improve the quality of life in the Adirondacks, we are thrilled to partner with this consortium of organizations to establish our first international fund, stated ACT Executive Director Cali Brooks.

As part of the unit management planning efforts for Whiteface Mountain Ski Area, a working group was formed that includes representatives from the Adirondack Park Agency, Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), Department of Environmental Conservation, Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Adirondack Council, Audubon New York, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC). This unprecedented partnership has resulted in many firsts, including the following:

ORDA is the first organization in the Northeast to develop and execute a ski area management plan focused on the preservation of Bicknells Thrush habitat.

The Adirondack Community Trust is administering its first fund dedicated solely to the habitat protection of a migratory songbird that breeds on Whiteface and other mountains in the Adirondacks.

The partners are developing compatible solutions to complex issues involving environmental protection, economic development, and sustainability at both ends of this songbirds flyway.

As part of the final unit management plan, which was unanimously approved by the Adirondack Park Agency Commissioners in May 2004, ORDAs ski area expansion plans are being carried out in an environmentally sensitive manner, avoiding potential disturbances to nests by delaying construction above 2,800-feet until after the breeding season. Scientific field research and monitoring will also continue on Whiteface Mountain, and the partners will work together on outreach efforts meant to increase public awareness of Bicknells Thrush and this groundbreaking cooperative effort to preserve its habitat.

The Bicknells Thrush Habitat Protection Fund is steered by an executive committee composed of representatives of the following organizations: Adirondack Council, Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Audubon New York, Vermont Institute of Natural Science, and Wildlife Conservation Society. The executive committee will make recommendations to the Adirondack Community Trust on the distribution of grants made from this fund.

All donations to the fund, made to the Adirondack Community Trust, are tax deductible. For more information, please log on to www.GenerousACT.org or contact Executive Director Cali Brooks at (518) 523-9904.

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