Martin advocate encourages project

Published 7:46 am Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bob Goetz may be a purple martin’s best friend in Austin.

It was Goetz who originally convinced the city’s Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department to allow new purple martin houses in Horace Austin Park and East Side Lake Park.

Goetz has also assisted private property owners in erecting their own purple martin houses on retractable poles in the city.

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He won the support of Austin Izaak Walton League Chapter No. 10 to help finance the project on public lands. He and fellow Ikes chapter member Terry Dorsey regularly survey the nests to assess how many are making their spring and summer homes in Austin (They winter in Brazil).

Now, Goetz wants the Austin Ikes chapter to “think bigger” when it comes to purple martins.

Goetz began his efforts to encourage the purple martin project in Austin and help grow the bird population.

After a recent visit to a purple martin support group at Hugo, he returned to Austin and shared his findings at Monday night’s meeting of Chapter No. 10.

According to Goetz, the purple martin population in Minnesota has declined by 78 percent since 1976.

This as prompted conservationists and environmentalists to take action. The activists have been successful in convincing cities and towns, private individuals and industries to underwrite construction of purple martin houses on retractable poles and to maintain the nests and survey the hating of eggs for a census.

Geotz suggested the local Ikes organization consider making a new and larger commitment to restoring the purple martin population in Austin.

Members expressed interest in learning how they could participate and asked Goetz to return with a proposal at a future Ikes meeting.

Executive committee member Al Layman said he would like to seek a proposal that could involve 4-H youths in the project.