Nature Conservancy Scientists Find: Bugs Like Beer Too!
Conway's Tuckerman Brewing Company and The Nature Conservancy team up to count moths in the Ossipee Pine Barrens.
Conservancy scientist Jeff Lougee reviews several moth species that live in the Ossipee Pine Barrens.
As spring weather returns to New Hampshire, wildlife – including the state’s insects – begin to get out and about. Scientists at The Nature Conservancy are using this time of seasonal change to take inventory of moth species at its 3,000-acre Ossipee Pine Barrens Preserve.
Previous surveys show the preserve harbors at least 18 moth species of conservation interest – including one species that is listed as threatened by the state of New Hampshire. Now it’s time to see if they’re still there.
The Preserve provides protection for New Hampshire’s largest intact pine-barrens ecosystem, a globally rare, fire-dependent mix of pitch pine and scrub oak that moths find irresistible. Prescribed burns have been used to manage the land for the past 7 years to clear out dead scrub oak and encourage new growth. The results should provide an abundant food supply for caterpillars and, subsequently, the moths they become.
Beginning Wednesday evening, scientists will again be in the field capturing and counting moths, this time with the help of a local brewery. In order to get an accurate count and determine if conservation efforts are successful, scientists need to attract the insects to bait stations – and it seems that local beer is the way to do it!
Tuckerman Brewing Company, located in Conway NH, a short drive from the Pine Barrens, is partnering with the Conservancy by supplying some of their ale to be used as part of a “sugar bait” – a mash of beer and bananas - in order to attract the moths. Conservancy scientists will capture and record the results of the inventory throughout the spring, summer and fall in order confirm the continued presence of the species in the preserve.
“We are so excited to participate in such an ecologically important study right in our own backyard,” said Victoria Noel, Sales Manager at Tuckerman Brewing Company. “As a ‘green brewery’, we are committed to environmental responsibility, sustainable manufacturing and bettering the community we love. Working with The Nature Conservancy provides us with a unique way to do just that. And we’re thrilled that bugs love our beer too!”
“Having Tuckerman Brewing Company as a partner on this project is exciting,” said Daryl Burtnett, State Director of the Nature Conservancy. “The Nature Conservancy is very active in this part of the state with our Pine Barrens Preserve and our Green Hills Preserve – recently named one of New England’s top ten best family hikes by the Boston Globe. By partnering with local businesses such as Tuckerman Brewing Company, we hope to build upon the strong community support for conservation efforts and encourage more people to get out and enjoy nature.”
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.