Friends of Connetquot River State Park Preserve | PO Box 472 | Oakdale, NY | 11769 | Contact Us

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FOC Receives Grants!

The Friends are proud of the support from the foundations whose links appear below. The capacity building grants they have awarded us will greatly help in strengthening our organization for the benefit of Connetquot River State Park Preserve:

The Robert D. L. Gardiner Foundation

New York State Council on the Arts

Parks & Trails New York

Upstate History Alliance

Click here to read the details of these grants

Support the Quail Release Program at Connetquot River State Park Preserve

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Since 2006, Cathy Wilvert, a member of the Friends of Connetquot, has been raising and releasing Bobwhite quail - and up to 2008 also a few Ring-necked pheasant—at the Preserve with the intention of restoring the quail, an indigenous species, which vanished from Connetquot because of intense urbanization of the surrounding area and predation pressures within the Preserve.  Suitable habitat for the quail still exists in the confines of this vast Preserve; however, the surrounding urban obstacles, such as busy four-lane highways, businesses, houses, and so on prevent the birds outside from entering the Preserve to replenish the birds lost to predation.

The quail's disappearance from Connetquot Preserve has contributed to an increase in the tick population there and prompted Cathy Wilvert, who is a professional nurse, into action.  Her goals for the quail release program are:

  • To reduce the tick population, as these birds are ground dwellers and consume ticks as part of their diet.
  • To decrease the health risks to park visitors and residents of adjacent communities from tick-borne diseases, such as lyme, babesia, and erlichiosis.
  • To safeguard the health of eligible blood donors from this diseases as once donors contract babesia they are permanently deferred from donating their blood.
  • To educate the children in the community about the environment and the wildlife of this area.
  • To again hear the call of Bobwhite quail in the Preserve.
  • To provide photographic and visual opportunities to the visitors of Connetquot Preserve.

In the initial two years of the project Cathy Wilvert researched the species and with the help of her husband, Ken, spent countless hours building the brooder house and flight pen.  Yet—with further help from her four daughters: Theresa, Megan, Jennifer, and Emily - she still managed to release 480 quail and 50 pheasant in that period.  The following two years the birds released increased to over 1,200 each year (please see table).

Year Quail Pheasant
2006 80 34
2007 400 16
2008 1,000 200
2009 1,245 0
2010 600 0
TOTAL 3,325 250

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