2013 Nominee:

Jerry and Joan Asling

With hard work and commitment it is possible for one person, or in this case two people, to make a difference. In the late 1970’s the Eastern Bluebird was declared ‘Rare’ by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. It is now de-listed, and has been re-established in Western Ontario, thanks to the dedicated work of individuals such as Jerry and Joan Asling.

In 1995 Jerry and Joan started with 25 nest boxes they built, to try to restore Eastern Bluebirds to this area. Since then they have worked tirelessly each year from early March or April on, starting out with 3 fully charged batteries for their drill and putting in long days which sometimes do not end until dusk. Over time they have increased the number to more than 400 (and at times as many as 500) boxes. Each of these nest boxes need to be checked up to 4 times per year, to be kept clean, observe nests, count eggs, and to monitor young birds and fledglings.

They have scrounged and purchased wood to make boxes, and there is also the work of replacing damaged and stolen boxes, along with keeping records of yearly observations and progress. They have experimented with various designs, finally coming up with a predator resistant box that best suits the needs of Bluebirds in the sometimes harsh Grey-Bruce weather.

2012 was their best year ever, with 61 nests fledging 254 young!

Farming practices are changing, and recently we have seen pasture lands, that were suitable Bluebird habitat, being plowed down for crops. The fences are often removed and the boxes along with them. Joan and Jerry are always on the lookout for new and suitable sites and scraps of lumber suitable for building replacement next boxes.

The Aslings have also attended 2 major Bluebird conferences, to learn more, share successes and failures, and compare nest box construction techniques.

In other conservation work Joan and Jerry have, until recently, organized and led the roadside clean-up program, in the Chesley and Paisley area. This meant finding willing workers, co-ordinating with the County roads department, providing safety vests and garbage bags, as well as ensuring the sorted recyclables and garbage were accepted at the local landfill.

The members of the Saugeen Field Naturalists and the Eastern Bluebirds of Grey-Bruce give a special ‘Thank You!’ to Jerry and Joan Asling for the above contributions to conservation, for your leadership on outings, Jerry’s serving as President and Program committee, as well as many other acts of leadership and dedication to the Club and the natural environment.

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I the undersigned, wish to have my child
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