Save the Date! Annual Dinner and Fundraiser is March 3rd, 2018 at South Sound Community College

Your Black Hills Annual Dinner committee is already busy meeting and planning our next delectable dinner and ways to raise funds to support our chapter programs. It’s not too late to join them, share your ideas, and help create a wonderful evening for our members. Please contact Sally Nole at sksnole@nullhotmail.com if you would like to get involved in preparations. Whether you are a new or long-time member, this is a great way to meet others and roll up your sleeves “for the birds.”

This year we will welcome Robert Marzluff as our keynote speaker. As a UW professor and a researcher of wildlife science, he has closely studied how birds are impacted by urbanization and habitat fragmentation. Discover his remarkable and award-winning work with crows and other birds in his books, Gifts of the Crow, with Tony Angell, and Welcome to Subirdia. You can look forward to hearing stories and insights into our complex relationship with these fascinating birds, while contributing to our programs that study and protect them in our local environment. Again, we will hold a sale of wildlife and bird themed items in addition to our raffle. If you have an item to donate, please contact Deb Nickerson at debranick@nullgmail.com. See you there!




Lobby Day to address Climate Change – Monday, January 22

Audubon Washington is sponsoring a Lobby Day to address Climate Change next Monday, January 22, at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Olympia.   Called 100% for Climate Lobby Day, it is co-sponsored by Climate Solutions and several other environmental organizations.  Appointments are being made for you to meet with your state legislators.  Principal issues include:

(1) Carbon pricing (such as SB 6203, proposed by the Governor and under consideration by Senate committee)

(2) 100% Fossil-Free Electricity by 2045 (SB 6253)

(3) Clean Fuels for Transportation (HB 2338)

When: Monday, January 22, 8:30 – 4:00

Where: St. John’s Episcopal Church, 114 20th. SE, Olympia

For further information on the issues: http://wa.audubon.org/sites/g/files/amh546/f/static_pages/attachments/100_one-pager_1.12.2018.pdf

For a draft agenda and to register for the 100% for Climate Lobby Day (cost is only $10): http://wa.audubon.org/events/100-climate-lobby-day-2018?=&utm_source=ea&utm_medium=email

We hope you can come!

e-Echo or Print Echo?

About 1 ½ years ago, an article appeared in the Echo titled Echo Format Change. In that article it was announced that the Echo would be transitioning to an electronic format. There were a few reasons the BHAS chapter considered making that change. Moving to an electronic newsletter was seen as environmentally supportive; “going green” would reduce print costs.  Providing an electronic edition could also increase readership. Many other Audubon chapters have made this change; some had no choice because printing a newsletter became cost prohibitive.

Successive Echo newsletters continued to inform about the upcoming change and members began calling and emailing with their feedback. Some members explained that they do not use electronic media nor have access to it. Others indicated they prefer print. In the Nov/Dec 2016 Echo, President Deb Nickerson explained that the transition to an all electronic Echo was on hold while the chapter worked on a plan to provide both.

In early 2017, the BHAS web page was redesigned. The printed Echo has always been archived on the web site, but the redesign came with a PDF Reader program so the Echo could be read more easily on computers as well as on mobile devices. We have also been featuring previous Echo articles on the web with added color graphics or video content. We believe showcasing these excellent articles potentially broadens public support for BHAS.

We have recently added a newsletter program that now allows us to offer an eEcho option for members. The eEcho provides the exact content of the paper Echo and will be delivered to your email inbox. Many of you may have already signed up for this style of newsletter.  An example of this is Timberland Library’s “Book Sizzle”, a review of new books.  Below is a sample of what the eEcho would like in your email except with color graphics.

Signing up for the eEcho means opting out of the print version (your choice is not irreversible in case you decide you prefer print). To sign up, go to the bottom of the main web page and follow the instructions there.

2018 Year of the Bird: Partnership with National Geographic

January 1, 2018 (from David J. Ringer, National Audubon Society)

Today marks the beginning of an exciting partnership between National Geographic, Audubon, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, BirdLife International, and dozens of other partners to make 2018 the “Year of the Bird.” Let’s use this year to bring tens of thousands of new people to the cause of bird conservation! To honor the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Year of the Bird will be about celebrating the wonder of our feathered friends, examining how our changing environment is driving dramatic losses among bird species, and highlighting what people can do to reverse this trend. National Geographic will be creating new bird content throughout 2018 for their various platforms – magazines, books, maps, TV, digital channels, experience events, lodges, and kids programs. There is a dedicated Year of the Bird website at birdyourworld.org, and during each month of 2018, a themed call-to-action to inspire people to help birds. Audubon is creating specialized Year of the Bird content at audubon.org/yearofthebird to help people learn about the threats birds face today and to inspire them to take action in line with Audubon’s priorities – from creating bird-friendly homes to growing native plants for birds to taking part in community science programs like the GBBC to using their voice to advocate for birds.

BHAS Seeking Nominations for Two Annual Awards

Dave McNett Environmental Educator Award

Nominating Criteria (Deadline Jan 20, 2018)

Black Hills Audubon is proud to continue recognizing environmental education efforts by area residents. We would like to receive nominations of individuals who have carried on Dave McNett’s tradition of educational excellence. These individuals are making a positive difference in the lives of living beings through their work as educators. The nomination criteria for this award are:

  • Nominees collaborated with others toward the educational goals of informing the public about an aspect of our natural world pertaining to bird habitat or conservation;
  • Their work has been inspirational to those they have worked or taught with;
  • Work need not have been done on a volunteer basis, but did involve volunteers or one’s own volunteer time;
  • Nominees can be professional environmental educators, but need not be;
  • Nominees have worked in the field for at least two years;
  • Work has generally been within the BHAS geographical base (Thurston, Mason, and Lewis counties);
  • Nominees may be members of BHAS, but don’t have to be;

Please email your completed nomination, along with a brief narrative about why you are nominating the person, to McNettEnvEducatorAward-nom@nullblackhills-audubon.org, or mail it to Black Hills Audubon Society, P.O. Box 2524, Olympia, WA 98507.

Jack Davis Conservationist of the Year Award

Nominating Criteria (Deadline Jan 20, 2018)

This award is primarily for citizens or teams who have volunteered their time and skills in the field of conservation. The award is intended for persons who have not previously received it.  When submitting a nomination, please be guided by the following criteria:

  • Work was a volunteer initiative relying heavily on volunteer time;
  • Nominees worked collaboratively with others, including governmental and non-governmental organizations, to help resolve an environmental issue;
  • Nominees used objective sources of information and reliable data, while demonstrating professionalism throughout;
  • Nominees worked consistently on the issue and persevered, proving resourceful under difficult challenges;
  • Results of the work made a significant difference either in real environmental benefits or improved awareness by the public or governmental agencies on an environmental issue.
  • Work has generally been within the BHAS geographical base (Thurston, Mason, and Lewis counties);
  • Nominees may be members of BHAS, but don’t have to be;

Submit the name(s) and a brief description of the effort made by the individual(s) or teams and their progress and successes as they relate to the Jack Davis Conservationist of the Year Award criteria. If you are nominating a team, please list the key individuals who led the team and their contact information. Please email your nominations to ConservationAwardNom@nullblackhills-audubon.org or mail them to the Black Hills Audubon Society, PO Box 2524, Olympia , WA 98507. Questions can be addressed to the Conservation Chair, Sam Merrill, at conservationchair@nullblackhills-audubon.org. (Ribbon Graphic Courtesy Vitor Mazuco, Wikimedia Creative Commons)


The Scott Mills Bird Classes


Birding 101

This course emphasizes improving bird identification skills.  Major topics covered in the class include a discussion of all the factors that can be used to identify birds, a review of birding tools including binoculars and field guides, an introduction to birding terminology, some discussion of basic bird biology, and the basics of taxonomy and bird classification as they relate to identification.  This course has been offered  many times by Black Hills Audubon over the past several years under the title “Beginning Birding”, but is also as (or perhaps, more) educational for people with some birding experience.  The course has been very popular and a number of people have taken it several times.

Five two-hour classes on Saturday mornings from 9am-11am running January 13th to February 10th, 2018 at the Visitor Center at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. Two field trips are included and will be determined at the first class. Cost is $75.00 for this 5-week course. Registration is required and payment made in advance to secure your seat. Contact Ken Brown at kenbrownpls@nullcomcast.net with questions or to register. Limit of 24 participants. This class co-sponsored by Black Hills Audubon Society and Friends of Nisqually.

Advanced Birding

This class will be taught five consecutive Saturdays, February 24th through March 24th. Continue learning bird identification with more time spent on morphs, gulls, biology and behavior. Field trips are included with the course and will be determined at the first class. Professor Scott Mills is a retired Biology professor and professional ornithologist. Cost is $75.00. There is a limit of 24 persons. Registration is required and payment made in advance to secure your seat. Contact Ken Brown at kenbrownpls@nullcomcast.net to register.

About Scott Mills

Dr. Mills is a professional biologist with over fifty-five years of birding experience throughout the United States and in several foreign countries.  He has previously taught a number of beginning and specialty birding classes, most recently for Black Hills and Seattle Audubon societies.  Since moving to Washington from Tucson, Arizona in 1999, he has done a number of bird surveys at sea on NOAA ships and has been a trip leader for Westport Seabirds.