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Audubon Society set to make Lake Hefner more bird-friendly



As the president of the Audubon Society of Central Oklahoma, Jane Cunningham and other Central Oklahoma Audubon chapter members, as well as members of Friends of Lake Hefner and the Sierra Club, are about to break ground on Phase I of the Lake Hefner Habitat Restoration Project.

The groundbreaking is scheduled for the morning of March 1.

The idea for such a large-scale habitat restoration project began in spring 2007, when members noticed a dearth of birds in the area, and will finally come to fruition this spring, when the group begins planting native trees.
"We were standing at the east corner of Lake Hefner and we were looking at what they call the bird habitat area thinking that we can fix it; it needs better habitat. We just got to thinking: We can do something about this," Cunningham said.

The entire project spans about eight and one-half acres, near Stars and Stripes Park. The bulk of the planting of Phase I's 51 trees will take place in 2008, with the group maintaining them for three years while they get acclimated to their new environment, Cunningham said.

However, the Audubon Society of Central Oklahoma will become land stewards of the area, responsible for maintenance and upkeep.

Plans for the area include:
" a "learning circle" of boulders,
" a native grass prairie,
" a "soft birding" walking trail and
" a native arboretum, complete with aluminum plant tags for tree identification.

The plant tags are part of the group's mission to use the project as an outreach and education opportunity, helping the public identify tree species. "Deborah Benjamin

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