New Vitae Wellness and Recovery is partnering with Nockamixon State Park in a program to protect the local population of bluebirds through the donation of hand-built nesting boxes.
Several residents from New Vitae’s wellness and recovery programs volunteered in May to build bluebird nesting boxes according to specifications from the North American Bluebird Society (NABS). They built the nesting boxes in New Vitae’s woodshop at Mount Trexler Manor under the guidance of woodshop instructor David Guare.
New Vitae’s Erin Benninghoff arranged a meeting with Park Ranger Trever Blackwood and a local bluebird monitor, who tracks bluebird migration information for the state and the park designated an area in front of the park ranger’s office, for New Vitae to install its bluebird nesting boxes.
“This program is a wonderful opportunity for New Vitae residents to connect with nature while making a positive impact on the local environment,” said Judith O. Yanacek, president and CEO of New Vitae Wellness and Recovery.
The Eastern Bluebird had been in severe decline for decades and by 1970 was on the brink of extinction. Birders came to the rescue, forming the North American Bluebird Society (NABS) in 1978.
As part of the national effort, the Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks developed a volunteer-led bluebird nesting box monitoring program in the late 1980s that is still going strong today. By 2020, the program had successfully fledged more than 123,000 individual birds of 19 different species. In 2019 alone, more than 130 volunteers at 50 Pennsylvania state parks monitored and recorded the fledging of 7,848 individual birds, including 2,409 Eastern Bluebirds.