June 7, 2019
Meet the McGraw interns for 2019
Each summer, the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation welcomes college students who are planning careers in the outdoors – wildlife and fisheries management or outdoor recreation.

While at McGraw, these interns gain exposure to all aspects of their chosen fields, from guiding fishing trips and clay shooting outings to scientific research and dog training.

This year’s interns at the Shooting Sports Center and Fisheries come from Kansas State University, the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, and for the first time, Northern Michigan University.

Here are some brief introductions.

Lack of horseshoe crabs threatens bird migration
By Jon Hurdle/The New York Times
Photo by Florida Fish and Wildlife/flickr
On a recent spring day at a remote New Jersey beach, hundreds of shorebirds flapped frantically beneath a net trapping them on the sand. Dozens of volunteers rushed to disentangle the birds and place them gently in covered crates.

On a nearby sand dune, teams of scientists and volunteers attached metal leg bands, plastic tags and tiny radio transmitters to birds of three species. They were weighed and measured, and then released.

The operation is part of an annual “catch” of migratory shorebirds that stop on the beaches of the Delaware Bay, a globally important bird habitat, to gorge on the eggs of spawning horseshoe crabs. The stopover strengthens the birds for the long-distance migration to the Canadian Arctic, their breeding grounds, from as far away as southern Chile.

With fresh information on the birds’ weight and health, the scientists will be able to judge whether these species are getting enough food to reach their breeding grounds, and whether their populations are stable.

They destroyed
a dam, and
the river rebounded
By Paul Rogers/Mercury News
Photo by Jim Milbury/flickr
Four years ago, construction crews with huge jackhammers tore apart a 10-story concrete dam in the wooded canyons of the Carmel River, between the Big Sur hills and the beachfront town of Carmel, Calif..

The destruction of the San Clemente Dam, which had blocked the river since 1921, remains the largest dam removal project in California history. It’s still early, but one of the main goals of the project seems to be on track: The river is becoming wilder, and struggling fish populations are rebounding.

“We don’t want to do the touchdown dance yet, but so far things are looking good,” said Tommy Williams, a biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who has monitored the Carmel River’s recovery. “It’s just amazing how fast these systems come back. Everything is playing out like we thought.”

Urban wastelands are a surprising ‘paradise’ for bees
By Brandon Keim/Anthropocene
Photo by Elliott Plack/flickr
A growing appreciation of how bees can thrive in urban environments has led many city dwellers to protect their habitat. Pollinator gardens are a regular feature of neighborhoods and schools; parks and nature sanctuaries are managed with bees in mind. Yet one potentially bee-rich environ still receives relatively little attention: urban wastelands.

“Proper management of urban natural resources should cover both the formally managed areas and the so-called unproductive spaces, which have been undervalued,” write ecologists Lucyna Twerd and Weronika Banaszak-Cibika, both of Poland’s Kazimierz Wielki University,  in the Journal of Insect Conservation .

Twerd and Banaszak-Cibika surveyed wild bee populations in wastelands—old sand and clay mining pits, demolished factories and warehouses, grasslands once used for grazing sheep, a former military training area—around Bydgoszcz, a city of 360,000 people in northern Poland.

They counted 201 species altogether: honeybees and bumblebees, sweat bees and leaf-cutting bees, hive-dwellers and soil-dwellers, altogether representing some 42 percent of all bee species ever reported in Poland.

Get to know fabulous Horicon Marsh
By Chris Sebastian/Ducks Unlimited
Photo by Dave/flickr
Wetlands serve as natural community centers of sorts for millions of people across North America. Marshes, estuaries, shallow lakes, and other wetlands are popular recreation areas for a variety of outdoor enthusiasts. A prime example of a wetland that is treasured by people from all walks of life is southeast Wisconsin's 32,000-acre Horicon Marsh.

The largest freshwater cattail marsh in the nation, Horicon hosts more than 400,000 people annually for activities such as hunting, fishing, kayaking, bird-watching, and environmental education programs. Two-thirds of this publicly owned wetland is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the remainder by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Horicon Marsh has immense waterfowl habitat value, supporting the largest nesting population of redheads east of the Mississippi River and impressive numbers of staging Canada geese, dabbling and diving ducks, and other migratory birds in spring and fall. 

“Real conservation is hands-on, net-gain, local habitat manipulation and species management. It’s not about letting nature take its course.” 

- George Reiger

To read past McGraw Reports click here.