Pembroke Pines Eagle Nest Camera Project-- We can make it happen!
There have been two attempts to install a nest camera at the Pembroke Pines Bald Eagle nest. The first involved a proposal for support from the Florida Department of Transportation, and the second would have involved a camera to be placed on the FP&L electric distribution pole in front of the nest. After initial encouragement from the intended sponsors, both approaches were unsuccessful. Without getting into the reasons for these failures, there remains core support among eagle watchers and South Florida Audubon leadership for continued efforts to make a nest camera a reality. Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis has also accepted the assistance of the Bald Eagle Sanctuary Steering Committee in developing changes in City planning documents to pave the way for strengthened protection of active eagle nests and official designation of the Pines Boulevard nest site as a sanctuary. While the City is not in a position to offer financial support, the Mayor expressed enthusiasm for for a nest camera.
Barry Heimlich, a member of the Steering Committee as well as former President of South Florida Audubon, has agreed to coordinate these latest efforts. He plans to take a project management approach focused on getting things done without a lot of committee meetings. Barry will require help and cooperation from the City of Pembroke Pines, South Florida Audubon Society, the schools, and other interested parties. He would like to assemble a small task force of motivated people who are willing and able to help make this happen. He invites anyone interested in joining the task force to contact him as soon as possible.
Barry has shared his ideas with Mayor Ortis and several others who have worked on it thus far, stating:
"Clearly the efforts to accomplish this in cooperation with FPL, FDOT, etc. have run into road blocks, so it’s clear that a new approach is required. Ken Schneider and I got to talking about it while we were birding together and starting thinking about what new approaches might work...
"As has been done on other webcam projects, the camera should be mounted on the tree above the nest swaying in the breeze with the nest and birds. Technically, an approach to consider is using a self-contained solar-powered unit connected wirelessly to the internet using the best affordable technology. Everything would be self-contained on City of Pembroke Pines property. To avoid unnecessary bureaucracy and regulation to the extent allowable, we should be as self-reliant as possible without using of utility poles or hardwired power or communications connections. I suggest that the webcam site be hosted on SF Audubon’s website and promoted through internet search engines. Of course, we will get the required approvals and we’ll need financial support through donations.
"We should offer sponsorships (advertising) to respectable businesses in related clean energy, wireless communications, outfitters, ecotours, sellers of binoculars and camera equipment, security systems, etc. Perhaps companies in these businesses would donate equipment, services and funding in win-win exchange for goodwill advertising. This project should eventually be self-supporting. Funds raised if any could be used for good environmental, education and social causes, such as support for the SF Audubon chapter, city/county education, conservation, and recreation programs, and other appropriate causes. These are preliminary ideas intended to stimulate suggestions, so please share your ideas with me. What’s important is that we’ve decided to clean the slate and find creative and practical approaches that will work. I hope to receive your input as I develop a draft plan of action, which will be circulated for comment and suggestions.
"Establishing an Eaglecam is not rocket science. It’s been done many times before as shown on the following websites. I will be contacting many of these groups to find out what I can about how they succeeded with their projects. Below is a list of a few that you can peek at:
Hampton Roads, Virginia:
Shepherdstown, West Virginia at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services' National Conservation Training Center
"We won’t be able to install any equipment until after the eagles have fledged this year’s crop of young in mid-May and we will only have until the beginning of next October to get it set up. In the meantime we have to do our planning and do what needs to be done. I hope a few of you willing be interested in working with me to accomplish this for the benefit of community and to encourage conservation. Please contact me if you’re interested."
Barry N. Heimlich
Barry may also be reached by posting in this Forum.
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