South Central Florida Audubon Academy - "Building a Strong Foundation for Your Chapter"
The event was hosted by Highlands County and Hendry-Glades Audubon Chapters on March 5, 2016. Archbold Biological Station was the site for the field trips and sessions. One only has to attend to realize the benefits of chapters working for chapters. The day started with a field trip into the scrub looking for scrub jays. The jays were cooperative and several were sited. Once back at the education center greetings from Highlands' President Bob Hummel, and introductions by Helen Obenchain were conducted. Each attendee introduced themselves and told what bird was their favorite. Many admitted that they did not have one favorite, even stating that their favorite bird was the one they were currently looking at.
Our very own President of Highlands County Audubon, Dale Gillis, speaking at the rally "Vote for Climate Change."
Highlands County Audubon Society
Helen Obenchain - A special thank you for putting the Academy together.
Margaret England and John Nelson
Next on the agenda was Margaret England and John Nelson. They expressed the importance of engaging the community in conservation education. Margaret shared her Citizen Science projects with the youth of Hendry and Glades County by utilizing the 4H club. In addition she shared The Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Bird Sleuth K-12 packet. Margaret was a former Media Specialist and missed working with students. These programs have allowed her to get back into educating our youth. John Nelson shared his amazing bird videos that he utilizes in his Audubon Field Academy. He stresses that the classes help recruit adults into Audubon and all our conservation efforts. A certified birding course for adults is doable and will help expand chapters.
Mark Deyrup Entomology Senior Research Program Director and Research Biologist led the field trip into the Florida Scrub.
Susan McKemy and Deborah Green
Our first presenters were Susan McKemy and Deborah Green. They discussed the importance of utilizing Best Practices, as well as noting how they work with their own boards. One interesting aspect from their presentation was the Dashboard Metrics where information is collected and entered into a spread sheet. Thinning out non-active board members was a point to consider as well as utilizing electronic media to assist in going green.
Saturday, April 2, 2016 Holmes Avenue Cleanup.
A great big thank you to all who volunteered. Five teams got the job done in record time.
Mark D. and Wife Nancy (unfortunately the did not appear in our photo) ...Board members Helen, David, Dale, Roberta, Fran, Margaret and Bob. Ron and Danielle were invaluable as was of course Vaughn. Highlands County and especially Holmes Avenue is now even more beautiful.
Jonathan Webber, Cole Frederick and Jacqui Sulek - Birding for Fun, Science and to Build Chapters
Jonathan Webber took us through communications building including Facebook, and other social media. He offered his services to all in attendance that might not be up to speed at his level.
Engaging others by using birds was beautifully addressed by Jacqui when she told of her sisters' student who requested binoculars and a bird book for his birthday instead of the usual toys kindergarten children request. Tips were further presented by Cole who took us on his own journey from not knowing one bird from another to where he is now. Both expressed the importance of working with kids, doing citizen science and working with partners.
Charles Lee - Special Places Based Conservation
This topic covers all of Florida and beyond. Connection between people and places help conservation efforts. Saving existing public lands is important but equally so is building a partnership or friendship between land owners (ranchers, farmers, growers) and people. Becoming active is critical to launching a successful campaign. Goal setting and overcoming your fears of involvement was stressed and echoed by Highlands County's own Dr. Paul Gray.
Scrub jay photos by Jim Upchurch
Board Members - Missing from photo Tom Delaney
Bottom Row from left to right: Marilyn Johnson, Roberta Lake, Susan Volpitta, David Forman, Julie Henderson, Fran Rolston, Paula Blair
Top Row from left to right: Dale Gillis, Sue Njus, Jim Upchurch, Steve Blair
Prior to counting your birds you should secure a pledge for species count. This can be as small as 10 cents a species or as much as one wishes to pledge. My family members pledge from one to two dollars a species. The higher the pledge the greater the tax deductible donation to Highlands County Audubon Society. These monies are used to promote conservation and to place Audubon Adventures ( an educational magazine for children) in the county classrooms.
Spend 24 hours one day during the week and count species observed. For example: Red Winged Blackbird,
Mourning Dove, Crow, and Mocking Bird. This count is 4. Once you have a total contact your pledges and tell them your species count. They can then send their donation to: Treasurer, Highlands County Audubon, PO Box 814, Lake Placid Fl 33862. Please write Birdathon on memo line.
Many thanks to all who birded in past years, and to those who pledged and have contributed thus far: If you have not yet contributed please think about doing so this year, as any amount will help! Added together we can meet our goal.
Our new Board Members sworn in Spring of 2017
Birdathon 2018 ..... Friday April 6 to Thursday April 12 2018
This communication was forwarded and most certainly appreciated. Kudos to Lauren and a special thank you to Miss Sharkey for her contribution in educating our youth. Lauren your link is now on our site. Spread the word to your friends that being outside and enjoying nature is fun.
Hope your Holiday season is going well:) Just wanted to reach out and say thanks... a middle school student I'm tutoring is working on a project on birds and migration, and when she was doing research she ended up on your webpage (this page here https://www.highlandsaudubon.org/links.html). She thought you folks might like to know that we were able to find some excellent info for her project so thank you:) And if you're looking to add to that page, Lauren picked out another good birding resource to send your
way: "Young Birder's Backyard Guide" -- https://www.improvenet.com/a/the-young-birder-backyard-guide
This has some great basic birding & ornithology info for kids and beginners, so Lauren thought it would be a good addition to that page she found! Hopefully you can add it... she'd be so proud and I could show her at her next session! Thanks Carol and Happy Holidays!!:)
Miss Sharkey (And Lauren)