I recently got selected for a summer job as an avian field technician. I will be doing work on the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)/Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in Illinois. I’m very excited about getting some experience in conservation field work. I have to know 40 birds by sight and sound by the first day of work though! It’s going to be challenging. I’m hoping to morph into a crazy bird whisperer in the next three weeks. I’m also thinking if I pretend I’m in Beauty and the Beast it might help. BACK TO THE POINT!
The CRP is run by the USDA Farm Service Agency and was spurred by the Dust Bowl era. The program “reduces soil erosion, protects the Nation’s ability to produce food and fiber, reduces sedimentation in streams and lakes, improves water quality, establishes wildlife habitat, and enhances forest and wetland resources.” This information was taken off the official government website so it sounds really amazing. I don’t know enough about it to argue one way or another, but it seems like a good idea to me. The basic idea is that farmers get compensation for leaving parts of their acreage alone instead of trying to farm it. The acreage is usually highly erodible, so it probably wouldn’t be super productive land for farming anyway. A woman featured in the video stresses how helpful having a stable income from this program is for farmers, especially in drought seasons when crop failure is common. The video is not very long and it gives a good overview of the history, formation, and environmental and economical benefits of the program.
Extra: If you are interested in learning about birds, you can try this website that has become my new best friend. Their Bird Guide page allows you to search for practically any bird and learn its call, identification, habitat, etc. Also, if you didn’t get the point of my post’s title, birds and other animals often take dust baths to keep clean. 🙂