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DNR Dedicates Woodcock Habitat Demonstration Area In Honor Of Dr. Aelred Geis

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Annapolis, Md. (October 27, 2011) - The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has dedicated the Woodcock Habitat Demonstration Area at Mount Nebo Wildlife Management Area in honor of Dr. Aelred Geis, a longtime resident of Howard County and a migratory bird biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Geis passed away in 2007.

“Dr. Geis made lasting contributions toward the improved management and appreciation of migratory birds” said Paul Peditto, Director of the Wildlife and Heritage Service.

“Al had a lifelong passion for American woodcock and naming the demonstration area after him is a fitting tribute,” said Caleb Gould, a longtime friend of Geis.

The 400 acre demonstration area in Garrett County serves as a model for habitat management benefitting American woodcock and other wildlife species that depend on young forest. Populations of woodcock and other bird species that use similar habitats have declined at an alarming rate as forest has been lost to other land uses and existing forest has aged beyond the stage they favor.

“It is important to remember that some bird species, including American woodcock, require the young trees that grow following a timber harvest, fire, or other source of disturbance,” said Bill Harvey, Game Bird Section Leader for DNR.

The Geis Estate, Ruffed Grouse Society, and Wildlife Management Institute have partnered with DNR to facilitate work on the demonstration area.

“Habitat work for woodcock often involves cutting tree species with little economic value,” said Rick Latshaw, Western Region Habitat Manager for DNR. “The financial support of our partners makes creating young forest in these areas possible.”

In addition, an agreement with nearby Garrett College provides funding for natural resource students to perform habitat management. Students get a hands-on learning experience and their efforts contribute towards habitat goals for the demonstration area.

The habitat demonstration area at Mount Nebo is affiliated with the Young Forest Initiative, a nationwide effort to recover populations of woodcock and other birds reliant on young forest. For more information on American woodcock and the Young Forest Initiative, visit

   October 27, 2011

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at