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Birders sought to monitor Evergreen Cemetery in Portland

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Birders sought to monitor Evergreen Cemetery in Portland

PORTLAND — As part of a forestry management plan for the woods at Evergreen Cemetery, the state is looking for volunteer birders to help keep an eye on the cemetery's avian population.

The city was awarded funds through the state's Project Canopy program in 2007, and has used more than $2,500 to create management plans for Portland's woodlands.

According to the state Department of Conservation, management plans have been completed for Baxter Woods, Baxter Pines and Pine Grove Park, and some work has been done at Baxter Woods. Project Canopy is run by the state Forest Service, which is part of the DOC.

The city plans to begin work at Evergreen in winter 2011, according to Project Canopy Director Jan Santerre. The Forest Service is calling the Evergreen project a demonstration forest, where people can observe sustainable forest management.

Santerre said it is important to get birders involved early so they are aware of the work that is planned, and also so they can help the city and state keep track of the different species of birds and how they are affected by the thinning of woodlands.

Santerre said the hope is that forest management will improve wildlife habitat at the cemetery. A few different areas are targeted for maintenance, she said, including an oak stand and a stand of white pine.

Trees leaning on other trees at the cemetery can create dangerous situations, she said, because severe weather can cause those trees to topple over. Thinning the woodlands will allow large, healthy trees to thrive.

Because Evergreen is a popular birding destination, Maine Audubon has become involved in the monitoring project.

Birders interested in helping to monitor the bird population and activity at the cemetery should attend one of two introductory walks at Evergreen, which will be led by a Project Canopy representative, a state field forest manager and a representative from Maine Audubon.

The walks are scheduled for 5 p.m. on March 29 and April 1. Participants should meet at the south side of the ponds at Evergreen. For more information, call Laura Minich Zitske at 623-2371 or e-mail projectcanopy@roadrunner.com.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net