MORRISTOWN, N.J., July 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Representatives from Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L), New Jersey Audubon and the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife recently banded four American Kestrel chicks at a nest box located at the South Branch Wildlife Management Area in Hillsborough, New Jersey. This marks the second consecutive year the three organizations have partnered to help boost the population of this threatened species.
"American Kestrel populations are experiencing long-term declines in North America and in 2012 they were added to the list of threatened species in New Jersey," said John Parke, stewardship project director of New Jersey Audubon. "With the help of JCP&L and the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, these nest boxes provide a critical part in the recovery of North America's smallest falcon."
The American Kestrel population has declined primarily due to lack of suitable habitat and the scarcity of nesting sites. Last year, JCP&L worked with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife to install the nest boxes where two chicks ultimately were born.
"We are hopeful that our efforts at the South Branch Wildlife Management Area will contribute to American Kestrels being removed from the threatened species list." said Jim Fakult, JCP&L president. "Placing nest boxes and helping support the wildlife area are just a few of the ways JCP&L employees contribute to the communities we serve."
The kestrel banding is part of an ongoing nature program designed to study migratory patterns at the South Branch Wildlife Management Area. Created in 2006, the 422-acre location has been identified as a critical site for protecting nesting populations of threatened and endangered grassland birds. JCP&L helped restore the area by removing and recycling old electric wire, transformers and utility poles left by a former owner.
As an active member of the New Jersey Audubon's Corporate Stewardship Council (CSC), JCP&L continues to work together with its partners to help improve ecosystems in the communities it serves. New Jersey Audubon established the CSC with participation from corporate landowners who have expressed a commitment to environmental sustainability through their stewardship of the natural resources within and beyond their property boundaries. The CSC emphasizes voluntary stewardship and promotes conservation partnerships.
The New Jersey Audubon Society is a privately supported, not-for-profit, statewide membership organization. Founded in 1897, and one of the oldest independent Audubon societies, New Jersey Audubon has no connection with the National Audubon Society. New Jersey Audubon fosters environmental awareness and a conservation ethic among New Jersey Citizens; protects New Jersey birds, mammals, other animals, and plants, especially endangered and threatened species; and promotes preservation of New Jersey's valuable natural habitats. For more information about New Jersey Audubon and the S.A.V.E.™ Birdseed program, visit www.njaudubon.org. For more information about NJ Audubon's Corporate Stewardship Council please see http://www.njaudubon.org/SectionConservation/StewardshipInAction/CorporateStewardshipCouncil.aspx.
JCP&L is a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE). JCP&L serves 1.1 million New Jersey customers in the counties of Burlington, Essex, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren. Follow JCP&L on Twitter @JCP_L, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JCPandL, or online at www.jcp-l.com.
Editor's Note: Photos showing the banding of the kestrel chicks at the South Branch Wildlife Area available for download on Flickr.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.