Help save a snag

Volunteers can assist the Weminuche Audubon Society (a “TogetherGreen” Grant Recipient) and the Pagosa Ranger District of the San Juan National Forest at a “TogetherGreen” Day event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30.

Working together, volunteers will mark protected wildlife habitat trees in the San Juan National Forest.

The habitat trees are large, dead or dying ponderosa pines located near road corridors. The current number of wildlife trees (large snags) fall below the recommended number to fit the needs of wildlife.

In fact, research indicates one third of all birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians in America’s national forests depend on snags for their survival. Moreover, large ponderosa pine snags are critical for survival of bluebirds, flammulated owls, Lewis woodpeckers, olive-sided flycatchers, pygmy nuthatches as well as other birds and animals. Protecting their habitat will help keep populations of these species stable while helping to maintain a healthy ecosystem.

In September, volunteers posted and potentially protected 122 snags in the Turkey Springs vicinity. Now we are expanding our efforts to the Kenny Flats area of the San Juan National Forest.

The event includes a ranger talk, lunch and an opportunity for volunteers to mark their own wildlife tree protection sign.

To participate, volunteers will meet at Kenny Flats (Forest Service Road 006), located about 15 miles south of Pagosa Springs off of U.S. 84. Turn east at the Forest Service entrance and follow the signs to the parking area. Carpooling is suggested.

Be sure to bring a hammer and essentials, such as water, sunscreen, hat and rain gear, to spend the day outdoors. In addition, bring a camp chair and wear hunter orange, if you have it. If not, orange vests will be provided. Due to the nature of the project and the time of year, participants are asked to leave their four-legged friends at home.

For more information, call Susan Halabrin, president of the Weminuche Audubon Society, at (970) 749-6143.