News Items

2019 Annual Statewide Meeting of Audubon Chapters

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Each year chapters in our state hold an Annual Statewide Meeting.  BHHS belongs to the southwest region and is co-host of this year’s annual meeting called Audubon Council of Washington or ACOW.

This year’s convention is hosted by Audubon Southwest Chapters: Vancouver, Willapa Bay, Grays Harbor, Tahoma and Black Hills.

All chapter members are invited to attend this weekend of meetings, speakers, workshops and field trips. It is a wonderful way to learn about issues crucial to us in the northwest and connect with other members across our service area.

We’ll meet September 27-29, 2019 at the Vancouver Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way, Vancouver, WA 98661

Here you can find, REGISTRATION, and access to our ACCOMMODATIONS at a discounted rate. FIELD TRIPS sign-up and AGENDA details are upcoming.  There will be several of us from Black Hills attending so possible car pools can be arranged. More will be shared at our September Speaker series on September 12th. Contact a board member for more information if you are interested in attending.

We’re bringing birds to a Shelton Classroom

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By Kim Adelson – One of the exciting new collaborations begun by BHAS last year is a partnership with Aidé Villalobos, a second-grade teacher at Evergreen Elementary School in Shelton. We have long talked about our desire to “adopt” a school; that is, to do more than give one-shot presentations in classrooms but to instead return to a single school on a regular basis and use birds to foster an appreciation of nature and an interest in science in children. Beginning this winter and continuing into next year, we are doing just that!

Aidé is an energetic, enthusiastic, and creative teacher. She approached us about coming into her classroom to teach her students about birds, show them how to properly use binoculars, and help select bird feeders and food. Her hope was that observing birds would not only be engaging to her students, but would also be an avenue to helping students access national science and math standards, including developing data collection and graphing skills. Aidé successfully wrote several grants which allowed her to purchase binoculars for her students’ use, and, thanks to Bob Morse’s generosity, we were able to provide the class with field guides. She also got funds to set up several bird feeders outside the classroom windows.

Evergreen Elementary is a dual language school, and the students spend half of the day learning in English and half in Spanish. Aidé is partnered with another teacher, Jennifer Dawson, and on the days we come they modify their schedules so that we can work with both sets of students back-to-back. We spend about an hour with each group of children. Shelley Spalding and I have taken them on bird walks, practiced binocular use, talked about the birds likely to show up at their feeders, worked with them on using a book’s index, discussed how you can guess what a bird eats by the shape of its beak, and explained about the dangers birds face while migrating. Next year, we hope also to have the students keep running records of the birds seen from their classroom windows, practice making graphs of the data, and coordinate with the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge to prepare the students for their field trip there.

The children are enthusiastic and excited to learn about birds! They look happy when they realize that we will be working with them, and they ask us many questions. A significant number already seem to know quite a bit about our local birds but are eager to learn more. We truly look forward to going back to Evergreen next year.

Duck Stamp Details

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The newest Duck Stamp went on sale at the end of June.  The art contest was won by Scot Storm with his rendition of a Wood Duck.  This stamp is available to purchase for $25, and, through June 30, 2020, it will give the purchaser admission to all national wildlife refuges that charge admission.  However, that is not the best reason for making this purchase.  It is one of the easiest ways that anyone can support bird habitat conservation, and it is among the most successful conservation tools ever created to protect habitat for birds and other wildlife.  These conservation revenue stamps use 98 percent of the purchase price to help acquire/protect wetland habitat and to purchase conservation easements for the National Wildlife Refuge system.

Waterfowl hunters over the age of 16 are required to buy these stamps; hunters have been the major purchasers since 1934 when the first stamps were sold.  Now hunting is in decline while wildlife watching and photography are increasing.  It is up to us conservationists to step up and put money into a system we enjoy all over the country every day of the year.  Since it first began, sales have brought in over a billion dollars, helping to conserve over six million acres of high quality waterfowl habitat.  Let’s keep this ball rolling!

Duck stamps can be purchased at Nisqually Wildlife Refuge gift shop or office as well as at the following retail stores:  Cabela’s, BassPro Shops, WalMart, and some post offices.

There is also a Junior Duck Stamp competition, and those stamps are available for purchase.  Take a look at this year’s winner by Haley Chandler, age 18.  Revenue from the sale of these stamps supports conservation education in all 50 states.

Get FREE Bird Alerts on Your Phone or Mobile Device

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Thanks to feedback from users like you, several updates have been made to the Audubon Bird Guide App, including free customizable bird alert notifications to find out when your target birds show up nearby. Using this social media toolkit, invite your members to access more than 800 species of North American birds and set up their own bird alerts. Download the Audubon Bird Guide App today via iTunes, Google Play or Amazon.

Board Meeting Review (6/6/2019)

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The Communications Committee gave the Board a synopsis of their current efforts:

1)  the Dennis Plank searchable bird photo gallery will be going live soon

2)  the Speak Out function has been used successfully and can be fine-tuned for future efforts

3)  the eEcho has been implemented and the Committee is continuing to improve it

4)  the data received from eEcho shows BHAS has a responsive readership (778 Echoes went out with 45% of them opened)

5)  our Facebook page has 389 followers; our Meetup has 372 followers.

6) Mark DeLaurier has volunteered to be our new Facebook administrator; he has a PhD in Environmental Communications

Details of the June annual picnic and the August Board retreat were discussed.  The Board will need to find a new meeting place starting in September.

The Industrial Arts classes at Adna High School have completed the construction of 20 bird boxes for us which will be installed on the perimeter of a tree farm owned by the City of Centralia.  Installation will be this summer.

The Conservation Committee continues to oppose on the zoning change needed for the construction of a warehouse on Maytown property owned by the Port of Tacoma.

The Education Committee is expanding their Adopt-A-School program in the Shelton and North Thurston School Districts.  The backpack program for Timberline Libraries is on-going but needs an infusion of funds from grants and donations.

BHAS Facebook Update

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By Deb Nickerson – I am thrilled to announce that Mark DeLauier has taken on the position of managing our Facebook page.  He has a Ph.D. in Communications, in particular, Environmental Communications. Most recently, he has written for Carbon Washington, the Yes on I-1631 campaign and the Nature Conservancy. He grew up in Oakville and has lived in eastern Washington while in college and taught at the University of Oklahoma. We welcome him to the chapter. Check out our Facebook page for information about our events and discussions about all things birds.

Puget Sound Seabird Survey (PSSS)

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Survey Sites

Go birding and make a difference!

Are seabirds in the southern Salish Sea increasing or decreasing in numbers? Which species are changing their range? Help us find out. The Puget Sound Seabird Survey (PSSS) is a community and citizen science project managed by Seattle Audubon that empowers volunteer birdwatchers to gather valuable data on wintering seabird populations across the southern Salish Sea.

You can contribute to this vital seabird science by joining the thirteenth season of this exciting project. We are now recruiting enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers to help us monitor the status of our local wintering seabirds. Training on survey methodology will be provided at a location near you in September and early October. Volunteers should ideally be able to identify Puget Sound’s seabird species and be available on the first Saturday of each month, October through April, to conduct a 30-minute survey. But, if determining between Lesser and Greater Scaup is a challenge, we’ll team you up with more knowledgeable surveyors. To help us determine each volunteer’s seabird identification skills, visit www.seabirdsurvey.org to take our quick, fun Seabird ID quiz.

Learn more, including training locations, at www.seabirdsurvey.org and email Toby Ross, Senior Science Manager tobyr@nullseattleaudubon.org if you would like more information or to take part.

Board Meeting Review (5/2/2019)

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  1. The Board gave heartfelt thanks to Craig Merkel, Deb Nickerson, Steve Curry and Paul Moody for their years of service to BHAS as Board members. These folks will be honored at our annual picnic.  Along with our returning officers and board members, two new members will be on the slate for Board of Directors at our May annual meeting:  Rachel Hudson and Charlotte Persons.
  2. The June 13th annual picnic is being organized and will be held at the Rose Garden in Priest Point Park. There will be bird walks at 5 pm followed by a potluck and socializing.
  3. Kathleen Snyder and Rachel Hudson will be co-coordinators of the new Volunteer Coordinator position.
  4. Dalton Spencer has arranged for the shop teacher at Adna High School to have his classes make nesting bird boxes to be installed on City of Centralia tree farm property. BHAS will pay for materials and will form a work party to install them prior to 2020 spring nesting season.  We are hoping to attract chickadees, swallows and wrens.
  5. Bob Wadsworth is our new Avian Science Coordinator and will be overseeing our community science projects like Christmas Bird Count and the Purple Martin nest box colony in Boston Harbor.
  6. Sam Merrill gave the Board an update on the Maytown development issue currently before the Thurston County Commissioners. A multi-million square foot warehousing complex is being considered for this area which is adjacent to West Rocky Prairie.  BHAS signed a settlement agreement in 2005 concerning the gravel mine portion of the property in exchange for the then developer to sell a portion of the property to WDFW.  The Conservation Committee used our SpeakOut! system, for the first time, to generate over 300 signatures on a petition to the Commissioners that this rezoning request not be added to this year’s docket.

BHAS Receives Bequest

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BHAS greatly appreciates the generous bequest of $8129 from the estate of E. Reade Brown. Reade was a member of BHAS while he lived in Olympia and moved to Spokane in retirement. He was a beloved Chief of the Wildlife Management Program in the Washington Department of Game (later Fish and Wildlife) for many years. Perhaps his most important professional legacy was the 1985 technical tome, Management of Wildlife and Fish Habitats in Forests of Western Oregon and Washington. He also wrote a book about his career as a wildlife biologist entitled Fifty Years of Fur, Feathers, and Fins in which he ardently described many wildlife encounters including scrambling up tall stumps to avoid charging angry cow elk protecting their calves, wrestling mountain goats to radio-collar them for research, backpacking through the wilderness of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, and patting a killer whale on the nose.

BHAS Board of Directors and Office Elections, May 9, 2019

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The BHAS Nominating Committee (Bruce Jacobs, Elizabeth Rodrick and Bob Wadsworth) announces the following nominees for the Board of Directors who will serve June 1st, 2019 through May 31st, 2020: President – Open; Vice-Preseident – Elizabeth Rodrick; Treasurer – Bruce Jacobs and Secretary – Kathleen Snyder.

Other nominees for Board Members At-Large are: Ken Brown, Hank Henry, Rachel Hudson, Sam Merrill, Sharon Moore, Charlotte Persons, Bob Wadsworth and Joe Zabransky.  Our bylaws allow up to 16 board members and the current slate is 11. Any further nominations should be submitted before the May meeting to Elizabeth Rodrick, vice-pres@nullblackhills-audubon.org. Please include a short paragraph on why you are interested in serving on the board.

BHAS has a “working board”, which means that we are all active on committees and usually have at least one special project. For those who engage and contribute their skills and experience, the rewards are meaningful and appreciated.

Chapter members will elect officers and at-large board members at the May 9th speaker meeting at 7:00 p.m. at the Temple Beth Hatfiloh, 201 8th Avenue SE, Olympia. Members must be present to vote.