Come to Dinner! An Invitation to Gather

Come to Dinner! An Invitation to Gather

The Annual BHAS Dinner will be held Saturday, March 2, 2019 in the Student Union Building of the South Puget Sound Community College. Members and guests can begin gathering for a social time and perusal of raffle and sale items at 4:30 and then by 5:30 assemble for the dinner and presentations.

As has become a winning tradition, we will again feature several attractive raffle “packages” for bidding to add suspense to the evening. Sale items will focus on “events and experiences,” such as boat, kayak or bicycle trips, guided birding adventures, dinners for you and friends, stays at mountain cabins, and the like. If you have an idea for something to offer, please contact Deb Nickerson at debranick@nullgmail.com. And thank you! This gala night is the major fundraiser for Black Hills, to support our library backpack project and conservation advocacy work. With your help we can make a difference in our communities. There will be an opportunity to contribute directly to these worthy programs at the dinner.

The College’s culinary class caterers, who served us so well last year, will again create dinner choices for most tastes and dietary needs. Please see the invitation here in the Echo and posted online to make your selection and reserve a place at a table. Registration for the dinner closes February 23.

The evening affords the perfect opportunity to hear about our accomplishments and plans for upcoming activities and initiatives. It is also the time we formally acknowledge extraordinary work and achievements of dedicated members with awards named for long-time local activists Dave McNett, for Environmental Educator of the Year, and Jack Davis, for the Conservationist of the Year.

The highlight of the evening will be our featured speaker, Larry Schwitters, who will update us on all-things Vaux’s Swifts. Schwitters has been engaged with swifts, their natural history and conservation issues since at least 2006. He is a retired science teacher from Issaquah and a former mountain climber—which undoubtedly helps when he finds himself at the top of a shaky ladder peering down a chimney in search of swifts clinging to the interior brick walls. Schwitters is now an expert on chimneys up and down the entire Pacific flyway. He is always on the look-out for likely roosts for these small cigar-shaped Apodidae, who stack themselves vertically in such structures in lieu of large old snags that are now rare or nonexistent in most places. Accessible old brick chimneys suitable as surrogate snags are also rare and becoming even more endangered as they crumble or are knocked down for safety reasons or property redevelopment. Without champions like Schwitters and his colleagues, they might have disappeared entirely from the swift’s migratory flyway. But Schwitters’ intrepid chimney searching, mapping, information-sharing and promotion of this most intriguing species is making a difference. He will update us on his new projects and the prospects for swifts throughout their western territory—and beyond. His work was recently recognized at the World Swift Conference where he gained a “Partners in Flight” award of Important Bird Areas of Global Significance for the four known roost sites in Washington State. He has rightfully earned the title “A Hero for Swifts.”

For more information on the work for Swift conservation, visit the website at http://www.vauxhappening.org. Anyone witnessing the incredible swirl of birds descending into a chimney at dusk never forgets the tense excitement of this natural wonder. We look forward to an evening of good news and signs of increasing awareness of this little-known bird.

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