Featured Master Naturalist: Aimee Lusty

Master Naturalist 17′ – 47 training hours, 30 volunteering hours!

Aimee has been hard at work with the Group for the East End, conducting osprey nest surveys. Last winter, Aimee surveyed  35 osprey nests and platforms located in East Hampton, Amagansett, Springs, Napeague and Montauk, to determine the viability of platforms and the past year’s nesting activity. Data she collected included size of the nest, condition of the platforms, platform location, and whether any are in need of repair. During the summer Aimee revisited 25 of the 35 osprey nesting platforms and collected information on nest activity. For active nests, she counted the number of adults and young. One of the nests Aimee found was in a tree and had not been previously recorded!

In addition to monitoring osprey nests, Aimee also has been helping Cornell Cooperative Extension and New York City Audubon monitor the Atlantic horseshoe crab population at Jamaica Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The effort involved monitoring spawning activity at 2 sites, using a quadrat method to sample and count horseshoe crabs mating and laying eggs along shoreline. When a horseshoe crab was found, she would assign the crab a number, measure it, and attach a tag to allow re-identification over time.

Aimee is also interested in plants and volunteers with the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference, where she has been assigned 3 populations of rare or endangered plants to monitor along a New York portion of the Appalachian Trail Corridor.  For this project, she located and counted the number of plants in each population, documented and identified the local soil type, recorded possible threats, and recorded neighboring native and invasive plant species.



In addition to monitoring rare plants, Aimee participated in a restoration project with the NYC Parks Department. The project included identifying and removing invasive Japanese knotweed and Japanese honeysuckle in a coastal forest area of Idlewild Park in Queens. A wetland at the site was also enhanced by removing debris from the area.

Congratulations Aimee! Thank you for your efforts to monitor and conserve wildlife and rare plants, and to restore native habitats!

To see more of Aimee’s beautiful artwork, visit her site at http://aimeelusty.com/

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