The Quail Project

A message from Ryne Clos, Blackacre Education Lead

Last spring, we were fortunate enough to win a grant to restore some of the meadow along the Sunrise Trail to an oak savanna habitat. Much of the southern United States was oak or pine savanna as recently as the 1820s, but most of this biome was either destroyed or has reverted back to forest. Our oak savanna features diverse open native grasses, with dozens of wildflowers as well as scattered oak trees.

One thing that is still missing from the oak savanna at Blackacre is one of the biome’s keystone species, the Northern bobwhite quail. Luckily, JCPS has recently renovated their elementary school curriculum and now every first grader across Louisville will spend most of the spring reading and studying about birds. This makes the ideal opportunity for Blackacre to partner with a few local elementary schools to give students an unforgettable, hands-on learning experience that will also bring some Northern bobwhite quail to the Preserve where they will fill the new oak savanna with their famous “bobwhite” call.

 First-grade students at Tully Elementary, Norton Commons Elementary, Hawthorne Elementary, and Meadowlark Montessori School will hatch and raise Northern bobwhite quail in their classrooms. Beginning in late February, each participating classroom will receive six or seven eggs to put in incubators. While the eggs are incubating, Blackacre’s Education Lead, Ryne Clos, will visit each classroom and give the students a lesson on quail, oak savannas, and basic bird care. After 22-24 days, the quail will hatch and the students will be tasked with raising the hatchlings in their classrooms for the next several weeks. In the middle of April, the Northern bobwhite fledglings will be fully feathered and ready to release at Blackacre. We will host a Quail Release Party to celebrate the occasion and set the students’ birds loose so that they may populate our new oak savanna.

This quail project will be fully community-supported through donations. If you are interested in assisting this program, we are happy to receive your donations via the QR code below.