WHOOPING CRANE CHICK: DAY 126
Today the Ponds Provide a
Natural Environment for the Young Cranes
THE YCC PROGRAM
Starting in 1933, during the Depression, the government employed young adult men to help with conservation management projects. The program was called the CCC, the Civilian Conservation Corps. Today, a similar group employs students of both sexes, ages 15 - 18. Since 1972, the Youth Conservation Corps (YCCs) has worked at Patuxent during the summer, helping our maintenance staff tackle large projects. A cooperative project between the USGS and the Fish and Wildlife Service, the YCCs have done a tremendous amount of work over the years. They've refurbished the McAffee duck facility, including redoing the plumbing, and replacing the flight netting, water hydrants, and bad pond liners. They've worked on drainage projects, installing prefab culverts. They've built crane pen complexes, such as the Purple Series which we use to condition birds for release into the wild. They've installed and maintained predator fences which keep the cranes safe. They've painted buildings and animal facilities. They've repaired concrete water control devices for our ponds and spillways, and built "beaver baffles" that keep the beavers from setting up house in those devices. They've cut back brush overgrowth that threatens the security of our animal pens.
One of their most recent projects involved building the ponds we now use to acclimate the release whoopers to a more natural environment. To stay safe in the wild, cranes need to learn to roost in water at night. Because of our new pond pens, our cranes can now do that.
The crew of YCCs, usually about 10-15 students, works under older students who have been in the program for several years. These assistant crew chiefs are usually between 18-23 years of age, have graduated the YCC program, and are employed as seasonal workers. The projects are assigned and supervised by experienced Patuxent staff members who organize and plan the YCC projects. Because the YCC program focuses on giving the students experience and education in conservation, the YCCs receive 40 hours of education on conservation and ecology, which includes three field trips.
The YCCs not only accomplish a great deal during the summer and learn a lot in the process, they save the government money. If not for the YCCs, these large tasks would have to be done by outside contractors at a much higher cost. Not only can the students take pride in their physical accomplishments and the knowledge and experience they gain, they are actively working to save the whooping crane for future generations.
Please check our site on October 19th for an update!
|Click here to ask questions about our chick or Patuxent's crane program.|
Hatch Day (Click on numbered links to view all other egg (negative numbers) and chick days).
To check on updates after day 14, go to whooper's home.