My Name Is … Barbara Spagnuolo

Castle Rock employee oversees bluebird program

Jessica Gibbs
jgibbs@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 2/10/20

About me I am a Jersey native but moved to Colorado in 1997. Before moving to Colorado, I graduated with a degree in wildlife biology and conservation from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, …

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My Name Is … Barbara Spagnuolo

Castle Rock employee oversees bluebird program

Posted

About me

I am a Jersey native but moved to Colorado in 1997. Before moving to Colorado, I graduated with a degree in wildlife biology and conservation from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, then spent a summer working in Yellowstone National Park. My husband and I fell in love with the West during that trip and knew we wanted to move here. I have lived in Longmont and Sedalia but have been living in Highlands Ranch for the last 12 years with my husband and our dog, Sunshine, a blue heeler/Australian shepherd mix. I enjoy spending time with them as we birdwatch, hike, kayak, camp and explore all around this beautiful state.

Working for Castle Rock

I have worked for the Town of Castle Rock since 2005 as the natural resource specialist for the Parks and Recreation Department. My job duties are varied but key responsibilities include: help to preserve and enhance our open space and trails; write grant applications and administer successful grants for trail and park construction and open space acquisition; conduct inventories of plants, wildlife and other resources on our open space properties for acquisition and/or management; coordinate volunteer habitat restoration and trail construction projects; develop management plans; oversee the open space sign plan as well as updates to town-wide trail maps; provide environmental education programs; and coordinate the Colorado Bluebird Project in Castle Rock.

The Colorado Bluebird Project

The Colorado Bluebird Project is a statewide program coordinated by Denver Audubon with a mission to improve the populations of native bluebirds throughout the state of Colorado and to inform and educate the public about the benefits of bluebirds. The town has been involved since 2007 after one Boy Scout built and installed 18 nest boxes on two separate open space properties as part of his Eagle Merit Badge, but has since grown to 190 nest boxes located at 32 different sites including schools, parks, open space sites and a few local churches as well as the historic Cedar Hill Cemetery.

As the coordinator of the Bluebird Project in Castle Rock, I manage all the nest boxes; recruit and train volunteers to conduct weekly monitoring of the nest boxes between April and August; and maintain all the monitoring data that is submitted to Cornell Lab of Ornithology's NestWatch program in order to track population trends.

Why participate

Participation in this project provides volunteers with a simple yet rewarding way to have a positive impact on their environment. Artificial nest boxes provide bluebirds with a safe and secure place to raise their young, which helps with their population numbers. Since we began monitoring in 2007, we have counted over 5,200 native bluebirds, swallows and chickadees fledging from the nest boxes around Castle Rock!

My advice

Six years ago, I battled an unknown and still unnamed meningitis-like virus that nearly killed me. One day I was fine, hiking in the mountains with my husband and dog, then suddenly I was in the ICU under the care of a team of doctors trying to make a diagnosis. I had to relearn how to walk and talk again, among other issues related to the virus. But now I have recovered almost 100% and don't take anything for granted anymore. I live for and appreciate every day because you don't know what tomorrow will bring.  

If you have suggestions for My Name Is…, contact Jessica Gibbs at jgibbs@coloradocommunitymedia.com.

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