The Day I Met a Purple Martin 

Inspiring Conservation in Children of All Ages

Working in collaboration with the Kent Land Trust, Lily Brownlee ‘21 and Maddie Paddock ‘21 created "The Day I Met a Purple Martin", a beautiful, informative, and inspirational book for children and bird lovers of all ages. Lily and Maddie researched and co-wrote the book as part of a year-long independent study project for Advanced Environmental Science. Maddie created the amazing illustrations. 

Avid science and ornithology students, Lily and Maddie participated in Marvelwood's Panama trip in January 2020 (photo, right, Maddie and Lily are in the center), where they encountered and documented a wide variety of neo-tropical and migratory birds. 

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The Return of the Purple Martin

In 2006, Marvelwood School and Science Department Chair Laurie Dos started monitoring a colony of Purple Martins near campus. The Purple Martin Conservation Association (PMCA) had been concerned about the decline on martins, and especially inland populations. There were just two known colonies in our area. Marvelwood and the Kent Land Trust partnered to build houses in several places near the original colonies, including our campus and Lake Waramaug.

Over a decade later, a total of nine colonies are now being monitored. After banding just 20 nestlings in 2006, many of which returned to the new colonies to breed, over 300 nestlings were banded in 2019! This summer, banding presented some challenges with coronavirus guidelines and restrictions in place, but Miss Doss and a few dedicated students worked to band a total of 500 nestlings!