The White Stork Project
Project time period:
The White Stork Project focused on using the very common and abundant White Stork as a potential bio-indicator of environmental changes in Armenia. By studying migration patterns and reproductive ecology of White Storks, it was possible to determine potential impacts of climate change and increased pesticide/herbicide use in Armenia. The project was unique in that it used villagers as citizen scientists or ‘Nest Neighbors’ in the data collection process. Their involvement with the research gave them a better understanding of wildlife ecology and improved the relationship between people and nesting storks. Prior to migration, Acopian Center scientists distributed calendar-questionnaires in the villages and showed the villagers how to record information on stork arrival, departure and number of fledglings. After the storks have migrated, Acopian Center scientists collected the calendars and entered the information into a GIS database.
During the spring, the center’s staff banded the nestlings and took water and soil samples in stork feeding areas for later analysis. The Acopian Center for the Environment launched a survey on pesticide use in the Ararat Valley after the first results from soil and water sampling indicated the presence of pesticide contamination. Substantial information on almost 1000 confirmed nest sites in Armenia has been collected through 2009.
Distributing and collecting calendar-questionnaires from villagers on information about stork arrival, departure and number of fledglings, banding nestlings and taking water and soil samples in stork feeding areas for later analysis, a survey on pesticide use in the Ararat Valley after the first results from soil and water sampling indicated the presence of pesticide contamination