October 14, 2009 was officially recognized as Interior Least Tern and Piping Plover Day in Nebraska, according to a proclamation issued by Governor Dave Heineman.
The designation was in recognition of the tenth anniversary of the Tern and Plover Partnership in Nebraska, which started in 1999, said Mary Bomberger Brown, program coordinator of the effort. "We wanted to get some recognition of this effort to protect the Least Tern and Piping Plover, so contacted the governor's office and provided them information on the partnership and its successes."
The proclamation was prepared by the governor's staff and was read by Governor Heineman at a ceremony on October 14th, at the Warner Room of the State Capitol.
Chris Thody, Governor Dave Heineman and Mary Bomberger Brown at the reading of the proclamation. Courtesy of the Tern and Plover Partnership.
State of Nebraska
Whereas, Interior Least Terns (Sternula antillarum athalassos) and Piping Plovers (Charadrius melodus) are protected in the state of Nebraska by the Nebraska Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act, the federal Endangered Species Act, and the federal International Migratory Bird Treaty Act; and
Whereas, the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership works proactively and cooperatively with the aggregate mining industry, electrical power companies, other utility companies, Natural Resources Districts, real estate development companies, construction companies, local governments, property owners, homeowners’ associations, state and federal agencies, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, the University of Nebraska School of Natural Resources, the Nebraska Environmental Trust, and others to protect Nebraska’s Interior Least Terns and Piping Plovers; and
Whereas, Interior Least Terns and Piping Plovers require open areas of sand for nesting which, in Nebraska, includes sandbars in the Platte, Loup, Elkhorn, Niobrara, and Missouri rivers, sand and gravel mine discharge piles, beaches at lakeshore housing developments, and Lake McConaughy; and
Whereas, Interior Least Terns and Piping Plovers return every year to Nebraska to nest which is critical for the recovery and survival of the two species; and
Whereas, by protecting Interior Least Terns and Piping Plovers nesting on their property, the partners of the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership are making positive contributions to the conservation of these two imperiled species; and
Whereas, the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership builds alliances with all interested parties to insure that Interior Least Terns and Piping Plovers remain a part of Nebraska’s rich natural heritage; and
Whereas, recognizing the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership gives us the opportunity to celebrate Nebraska’s natural heritage and to embrace the continued recovery of these two species.
Now, therefore, I, Dave Heineman, Governor of the State of Nebraska, do hereby recognize Wednesday, October 14, 2009, as
Interior Least Tern and Piping Plover Day
in Nebraska, and I do hereby urge all citizens to increase their understanding and awareness of Interior Least Terns and Piping Plovers in the State of Nebraska and the United States of America.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand, and cause the Great Seal of the State of Nebraska to be affixed this fourteenth day of October, in the year of our Lord Two Thousand Nine.
Brown, provided a short speech. Chris Thody, outreach coordinator for the partnership, also attended.
"It is very useful for the governor's office to know of the positive results and successes of the partnership," Brown said in a latter interview. "The proclamation also expands the exposure of this effort to a new audience, which gives a broader base of potential interest and support. Our group can be worked with successfully, and it is important that more people realize this."
Personally, "it is always nice when efforts get recognition by people in a broader context," than the regular partners and bird enthusiasts, Brown said.
"The proclamation was a special treat," she said. "We hope to parlay this attention in expanding our efforts to conserve" these two bird species.
In Nebraska, The Least Tern is an endangered species and the Piping Plover is classified as threatened, with both species in peril throughout their North American range.
Name the Giant Plover
The Tern and Plover Partnership is currently holding a contest to name a giant model of a Piping Plover.
The model is several feet in height and it a life-like representation being used as part of the partnership's educational efforts.
"It is helpful in getting people interested enough to stop and visit to learn more about the plover," Brown said. "This gives us a chance to explain the needs for conservation" and to explain that there are birds in peril in Nebraska.
The giant plover has been taken to a couple of events already, and has especially enjoyed by kids, younger and older, Brown said. Many of them like to get their picture taken with the model bird.
Although Brown and Thody refer to the giant plover as a she, most of the suggested names have been a male moniker.
The deadline for entering the naming contest is October 28th, and names can be submitted at the Partnership website.