QUAKERTOWN, Pa., (July 2022) — New Vitae Wellness and Recovery is proud to partner with Nockamixon State Park in a new program to protect the local population of bluebirds through the donation of hand-built nesting boxes. The volunteer program gives New Vitae residents the opportunity to interact with nature while helping to protect the bluebird and support their own recovery.
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 then built the nesting boxes in New Vitae’s woodshop at Mount Trexler Manor under the guidance of woodshop instructor David Guare.
New Vitae Pathways Shift Lead Erin Benninghoff then worked with Park Ranger Trever Blackwood to arrange a meeting at Nockamixon State Park for representatives from New Vitae to meet Blackwood and a local Bluebird Monitor, who tracks bluebird migration information for the state. The presentation highlighted the importance of caring for and maintaining the bluebird nesting boxes at the park.
Nockamixon State Park has designated an area in front of the Park Ranger’s office, where parking/handicap parking is easily accessible, for New Vitae Wellness and Recovery 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. “We thank Nockamixon State Park for their collaboration and look forward to supporting the bluebird program while our residents continue their own personal growth and healing.”
The Eastern Bluebird had been in severe decline for decades and by 1970 was on the brink of extinction, mostly due to the loss of tree cavities to nest in and competition for a dwindling number of nesting sites from aggressive non-native birds such as English house sparrows, and other factors. Birders came to the rescue, forming the North American Bluebird Society (NABS) in 1978 and spreading the word about the need for bluebird habitat. A movement to build and place bluebird boxes ensued, and over the years, the Eastern Bluebird population has rebounded and stabilized.
As part of that 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. The program has been so successful that that state expanded it to include more cavity-nesting birds, including chickadees, wrens, purple martins, barn and eastern screech owls, and kestrels. 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.
Next year, New Vitae hopes to expand its participation in the bluebird program to pair residents to work one-on-one with the volunteer Bluebird Monitors and learn to track the migratory patterns of area bluebirds as part of the state’s monitoring program.
Nockamixon State Park is a 5,286-acre Pennsylvania state park in northern Bucks County. Its numerous habitats are havens for birds and wildlife, and more than 250 species of birds have been recorded at the park. The park offers a wide variety of environmental education and recreational programs, including guided walks, hands-on educational activities, children’s programs, and evening programs.
About New Vitae Wellness and Recovery: New Vitae Wellness and Recovery is dedicated to providing comprehensive behavioral health care services and supportive residential opportunities for adults. Our array of services promotes holistic wellness through varying levels of residential supports that are combined with clinical services for individuals who experience mental health, addiction, and brain injury. With sites in Bucks, Lehigh, and Philadelphia counties, New Vitae works with individuals and families to utilize personal strengths, develop personal independence, and provide opportunities for community connections. To learn more about our service model, please visit www.newvitaewellness.com.