Volunteer Leads Loon Restoration at Lake Dunmore
Vermont Enterprise Journal Mike Korkuc, a longtime volunteer who has helped defend and develop loon populations at Lake Dunmore and surrounding lakes for 15 years, has been named the winner of the 2022 GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental Award.
The distinguished award is called for former Milton resident Meeri Zetterstrom, who impressed restoration efforts that led to ospreys’ removing from Vermont’s endangered species checklist. The award is given yearly to one particular person, enterprise, group, or nonprofit that has made a big contribution to Vermont’s atmosphere. The feather-shaped award is accompanied by a $2,500 donation to assist the winner’s ongoing efforts.
Korkuc, in collaboration with the Vermont Middle for Ecostudies, has saved a number of loons at Lake Dunmore, Silver Lake, and Sugar Hill Reservoir and has taught a whole bunch of individuals about loons and how one can defend them. He has volunteered numerous hours defending loons and their Lake Dunmore nesting web site and displays 4 surrounding lakes.
“Mike is by far probably the most lively of my 300 loon volunteers statewide,” stated Eric Hanson, a earlier GMP-Zetterstrom Award winner, who coordinates loon restoration efforts throughout Vermont. “He all the time goes above and past. In his affected person and dutiful method, he has made folks care concerning the pure world.”
“Nobody jogs my memory extra of Meeri Zetterstrom than Mike,” stated nominator Joan Gamble. “He volunteers his time freely and passionately to maintain the loons secure! Yearly he makes, installs, and maintains loon nesting sign-buoys across the island on Lake Dunmore – primarily taking it upon himself to guard them. He’s usually out in his pontoon boat, The Loonatic, the place he firmly and respectfully educates boaters about protecting away from the nest, loons, and their chicks.”
Korkuc, who knew nothing about loons when he first noticed one on Lake Dunmore years in the past, shortly turned their advocate after he noticed a loon household, together with a chick, endangered by boat site visitors. Due to his imaginative and prescient and efforts, loons have efficiently hatched and fledged younger on the lake for over a decade, a complete of 16 offspring.
“My pictures of that first chick sparked my new interest,” Korkuc stated. “I’ve since captured over 40,000 photographs, most of loons,” he stated. “I’m so honored by this recognition from GMP, and it evokes me to proceed to guard and educate folks about loons.”
Korkuc, as Meeri Zetterstrom did with osprey photographs, used his footage to create public curiosity within the loons and defend them. Over time, he’s developed an electronic mail group of greater than 450 folks he gives with photographs and common updates on the birds’ progress.
Zetterstrom was referred to as “Grandma Osprey.” She started her efforts to revive ospreys at Milton’s Lake Arrowhead within the late Nineteen Eighties. Her imaginative and prescient, collaboration and management helped ospreys rebound, they usually had been faraway from the endangered species checklist in 2005. The award was created shortly earlier than Zetterstrom died in 2010.
“Mike’s willpower and use of images to construct assist for the birds is harking back to Meeri,” stated GMP Vice President Steve Costello, who labored on osprey restoration with Zetterstrom for years. “He’s created broad assist and public understanding of the birds and helped give them the area and quiet they want round their nest web site, which is on a really lively lake. They wouldn’t be almost as profitable if not for Mike.”
Previous GMP-Zetterstrom Award recipients embody Sally Laughlin, whose work was instrumental in restoring three species of endangered birds; Michael Smith, founding father of Rutland’s Pine Hill Park; Margaret Fowle, who led Vermont’s peregrine falcon restoration program; the Lake Champlain Committee, which works to guard and enhance Lake Champlain; Kelly Stettner, who based the Black River Motion Crew; Roy Pilcher, founding father of the Rutland County Chapter of Audubon; Lake Champlain Worldwide, a nonprofit working to guard, restore and revitalize Lake Champlain and its communities; Marty Illick of the Lewis Creek Affiliation; Steve Parren, a biologist for the Vermont Division of Fish & Wildlife; Hanson, a biologist on the Vermont Middle for Ecostudies; Brian Lowe of Randolph, who helped fledge a whole bunch of kestrels in central Vermont; and Angella Gibbons, founding father of EarthWalk Vermont.
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LEICESTER, Vt. – GMP