Thursday, April 12, 2007

Lynx tracker to speak at Maine nature center

By Merryspring Nature Park

CAMDEN (April 10): Local nature educator and tracking specialist Laura Sebastianelli will visit the Merryspring Nature Center at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 19 to share her experiences and observations from tracking Canada lynx in northwestern Maine this past winter.

Sebastianelli, who is well-known to local nature lovers from her work as education director at the Tanglewood 4-H Learning Center in Lincolnville, is also an expert tracker who assists the state of Maine with the ongoing lynx research being conducted by the Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. When the snow conditions are right for tracking; Laura and her fellow trackers head for the big woods. They leave their rustic bunkhouse early each morning in hopes of cutting fresh lynx tracks-- but also get to enjoy all of the trail's other sights and surprises, from horned owls to shed moose antlers. Ultimately, the data she gathers helps the MDIF&W to assess lynx populations, as well as to locate dens and live-trap animals for attaching the radio tracking collars that provide reams of useful data to biologists.

This data is especially critical in recent years, since the federal government has listed the lynx as "threatened". Maine's position on lynx status has varied wildly-- Commissioner Lee Perry asserted in 1998 that lynx shouldn't be listed because they were not, and never had been, found in Maine; but by 2005 the official version was that Maine has a healthy and stable lynx population--and therefore still needn¹t be listed! Lynx politics got even livelier with the recent federal decision to waive the protected status of lynx as regards the proposed Plum Creek development around Moosehead Lake-- which just happens to be where Laura has spent her winter tracking.

This talk will be a great chance to get firsthand information on the current state of lynx biology and politics in Maine, and to become familiar with issues that will be moving front and center in the coming months. The talk is free to Merryspring members; $5 to non-members; and should last until about 8:30, with ample time for questions, answers, and home-made cookies. As this is the final talk in Merryspring¹s winter series, a full house is expected -- everyone is encouraged to arrive a few minutes early, and to stay a few minutes late. For more information or directions, call Merryspring at 236-2239.

http://knox.villagesoup.com/aande/story.cfm?storyID=90227

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