STATE OF ICELAND, NY – The State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is making bird watching accessible to all as part of its Adventure NY initiative to connect New Yorkers with the state’s abundant nature.
The DEC on Thursday celebrated the grand opening of the New York State Birding Trail’s first segment of the Mount Loretto Unique Area on the South Shore.
Contrary to the name, the New York State Birding Trail is not a physical trail, but rather a network of bird sanctuaries throughout the state.
“From Brooklyn to Buffalo to Staten Island, New York’s breathtaking natural beauty and abundant habitats make it the perfect place for bird watching,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Given the explosion in the popularity of bird watching across the state, especially during the pandemic, the New York State Birding Trail will make bird riding easier and more accessible to all New Yorkers.”
With inclusion in mind, DEC selected locations that are accessible by both car and public transportation. There are 33 locations of the Birding Trail across the five boroughs, nearly one-third of which are in the Borough of Parks, Staten Island.
A source of tranquility
Vice President Ed Burke discussed the importance of the Birding Trail specifically on Staten Island.
“The opening of this trail is another great way for the DEC to invite Staten Islanders to our natural areas – to learn from them and take advantage of them. Natural areas like Mount Loretto are part of the fabric on Staten Island. They are healthy too the body and soul of the mind, and we are the Park district. The more we can invite people to use our parks, the better, ”Burke told Advance / SILive.com.
“Mount Loretto is one of the most unique ecosystems in all of New York City, and many Staten Islanders have yet to discover it. So this trail today that invites Staten Islanders to bird watching also invites them to have a look. in this wonderful area that we have in Staten Island, ”he continued.
From the mountains of Mount Loretto, people can observe ospreys, shorebirds, bald eagles and more.
The vice president also stressed that the area, like Mount Loretto, is places of tranquility.
“It’s a place where the Staten Islanders can come to when they need moments of calm, and we all do,” Burke said.
NYC Park’s Deputy Commissioner for Urban Park Service and Public Programs Margaret Nelson also spoke about the sense of tranquility and adventure that Birding Trail offers.
“In the midst of the city’s bustle, it’s both soothing and fascinating to discover all the great parks where there are opportunities for bird watching,” Nelson said. “By creating this bird paradise, both beginners and experts can look at some of the most amazing winged creatures.”
TOUR IN NEW YORK NATURE
The trail is managed by the DEC in partnership with regional partners, including the National Park Service, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and NYC Parks. In addition to the above agencies, DEC collaborates with Empire State Development’s Division of Tourism – I LOVE NEW YORK and New York City Audubon for the New York City segment.
“This new Birding Trail system across the country is exactly what we need at the moment. More people in our city than ever before in our lifetime experience nature right here in the five boroughs, ”said Kathryn Heintz, CEO of NYC Audubon, during her remarks at the grand opening.
‘This is a silver lining of the pandemic. People find and connect nature, and they do so through birds. I have no doubt that this newfound love will entice even more people to explore the natural areas of our city, ”Heintz added.
The track’s grand opening was announced ahead of two upcoming events involving bird watching and bird awareness: World Migratory Bird Day on October 9 and “The Big Sit!” from 9 to 10 October.
The DEC offers extensive resources on its New York State Birding Trail website, including a map showing where species can be found and facilities available, I Bird NY challenges, and educational and interpretive information. Sources are also available in Spanish.
Public and privately managed sites may self-nominate for consideration to be included on the Birding Trail. Click here for more information on the nomination process.