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Our Boise River Project has a new name!

We’re excited to report that we had the opportunity to name our site thanks to one of IBO’s biggest supporters! 2019 was another banner year for our Boise River project.

A New Name

We are honored to announce a new name for the river site! In 2008, Diane and Winston Moore began building a substantial endowment for the Intermountain Bird Observatory. Diane and Winston felt strongly that IBO’s work with children is important, as they have always valued efforts that engage children, get them interested in nature, the great outdoors, and “all God’s creatures”.

Greg and undergraduate interns Jared Arp and Jeremiah Sullivan install new signage at the Diane Moore Nature Center river site! Photo by Mike Gindling

Their gift has been truly transformational for IBO, creating both stability and recognition for the program.

It was intended that annual distributions from the endowment would help fund outreach and education efforts of IBO with local children. Indeed, their gift has funded IBO staff salaries, enabled IBO to purchase the Boise River site, and has funded development of education and outreach programs there. As a tribute to the late Diane Moore, the site is being named in her honor. Next time you visit the river site, be sure to look for the new signs celebrating the Diane Moore Nature Center!

Habitat Restoration

We kicked off our year with an exciting new field trip format: student-led data collection in our habitat restoration plots. We discovered that the seedlings all of you planted during our huge 2018 community planting day were a major success! At first we didn’t believe the greater than 50% survival stats measured by elementary students who visited the site. But we learned our lesson: 2nd graders are actually capable of collecting really accurate tally data!

Over the summer we continued our habitat restoration work with three dedicated undergraduate interns from Boise State and the College of Western Idaho. Aaron (CWI), Jared (Boise State), and Kim (CWI) worked tirelessly to water and weed each of our 45 plots on a weekly basis. They worked with our partner organization mentors (Sean Finn from the Treasure Valley Native Plant Network, and professor Dusty Perkins from College of Western Idaho) to conduct seedling survival research based on soil type. Thanks to their research, we were able to carefully select species for our 2019 planting day, and place them in locations where we are confident they will survive.

This year, our planting day fell on the day of the huge October thunderstorm! If you live in the Treasure Valley, we’re sure you remember the day. Despite the rain, hail, snow, and lightning we had 90 dedicated volunteers show up to help us get our seedlings planted.

We added almost 2,000 new seedlings of 27 different species to help restore habitat for birds, wildlife, and pollinators along the Boise River.

Thanks to our partners who grew all our plants! The Treasure Valley Native Plant Network, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Draggin’ Wing Farm, and Twin Peaks Nursery.

Field Trips and Outreach

Thanks to support from the Golden Eagle Audubon Society, we were able to continue our trajectory of expanded education and outreach programming.

Compared to 900 visitors in 2017, an astounding 1,530 of you visited us this year!

Our Saturday summer banding days were packed with visitors and we loved spending time with all of you talking about our bird conservation work.

Your donations during your visits this summer made it possible for us to open on more fall school days than ever before. And, except for days with bad weather, we filled every single day we made available this fall, and hosted 21 different K-12 classes! Thanks to everyone who supported our efforts this year. We hope to expand our programming in 2020 and offer Monday field trips to accommodate the high demand for K-12 trips. Join us in making this dream a reality by making a donation today.

Banding Research

And last but not least, what about the birds!?

We documented a number of interesting sightings during our Summer Breeding Season MAPS banding and our Fall Migration banding. Overall we banded slightly more birds than last year, catching a total of 1,212 birds of 57 species.

Here are a few highlights from what we learned:

For the first time, we documented likely breeding of Red-eyed Vireos at our site! This is a species that prefer very lush healthy riparian habitats in the west. We documented two singing males at the site, and also caught a female with a brood patch; meaning that she had a nest somewhere nearby! This is a great sign that the habitat at the Diane Moore Nature Center is high quality.

This Spotted Sandpiper is the first of its species banded by IBO biologists! Photo by Jay Carlisle

We also banded a new species that has never been caught on an IBO project before: an adult Spotted Sandpiper!!

While common along the banks of the Boise River, we never expected to catch one! Volunteer Dave Wike, sticking with his reputation of always extracting the best new birds at the river site, was of course the one to come upon this bird in our net 7.

All in all, 2019 was a fun and exciting year for work along the river. We can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store!

A Purple Prairie Clover blooms at the Diane Moore Nature Center

This article is part of our 2019 end of the year newsletter! View the full newsletter here, or click “older posts” below to read the next article.