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For Release: Thursday, April 11, 2013

DEC Works to Reclaim Grasslands with Help of FedEx Volunteers

Members of the public welcome to assist in Invasive Species Removal Project on April 14

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation staff and FedEx volunteers will remove invasive species and woody vegetation from a section of DEC's Otis Pike Property on April 14, the agency announced today. In honor of Earth Day to reestablish grassland habitat, DEC staff will work alongside FedEx volunteers to protect a rare but essential environment that serves as a home to numerous protected New York bird species. The event is open to the public and additional volunteers are welcome.

"Grasslands are one of the most important and imperiled habitats across our state," DEC Regional Director Peter A. Scully said. "Due to changing land-use patterns, natural vegetative succession and development, grasslands are fragmenting and disappearing. DEC thanks FedEx for their initiative to help expand grasslands on Long Island and hopes many more volunteers will assist in this needed effort."

Volunteers will meet at 10 a.m. just outside of DEC's Otis Pike Preserve. The meeting location is on Route 25A (Parker Road) just north of the Route 25 (Middle Country Road) intersection in Calverton at parking spot 36. Volunteers are requested to bring working cloths (boots, pants, long sleeve shirt, gloves), food and water, sun protection, bug protection and hand cutting tools (loppers, hand saws, etc.).

DEC wildlife staff will lead the effort to restore the area and reseed the property with native grasses. Parcels of the Otis Pike property directly south of the target area have been reclaimed in recent years and unofficial reports have noted the use of these properties by numerous native species including endangered short-eared owls, eastern meadowlarks, northern harriers, woodcock and other grassland species.

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