Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Craft and Conservation

Most of you know that I work for an environmental non-profit that supports land management agencies throughout Nevada. My particular project assesses vegetation and habitat health for the Bureau of Land Management. The project funding comes through concern over declining habitat for the threatened bird, the Greater Sage Grouse. In 2010, the US Fish and Wildlife Service determined that this western bird was "warranted but precluded" for listing from on the Endangered Species List. Essentially this means that there may be evidence for a listing, but other priorities and lack of information postpone the decision until 2014. My project is one of many to supplement existing data sets so that the Bureau of Land Management and other sage grouse habitat agencies can gain a clearer picture of the pressures placed on the sage grouse populations.

All of this to say, when I had to do a presentation last week, I thought it would be fun to make sage grouse cookies as a visual aid (since every good presentation has at least 3 visual aids).
I based the idea off of the turkey cookie that we know and love from Thanksgiving. However, sage grouse aren't as charismatically cartooned as the turkey is, so it was a bit of a flop, although it was a tasty flop. Sugar cookies +chocolate+coconut=yum. 

Every spring, sage grouse undergo a mating ritual known as "lekking". In a lek, females gather around the males who "strut" or dance around until the females agree on one suitable mate. For all of the females. Its like a permanent Jr. High for birds.

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