KLCC's Tiffany Eckert interviewed Lane Co Audubon's President Maeve Sowles as they witnessed a natural phenomenon in Eugene while a large flock of Vaux's Swifts gathered at sunset and dove into a chimney at Agate Hall on the UO campus to roost. You can hear the story and see the article and photos at KLCC.org.
Along with many other critical environmental problems, water is becoming one of the most crucial and scarce resources we need for life on earth. September is typically the driest time of the year in Oregon, and water supplies had already been very low throughout the state. Having a supply of water in the dry season is critical for people, the garden, and wildlife. It is important to conserve water to stretch the supplies into this hot-dry time of the year. Our property is at 1,000-foot elevation in the SW hills of Eugene, and we are on a well for water. Our growing season starts a little later than in the Willamette Valley, but stretches into October or until the first frost.
As with many other groups, Lane Audubon has struggled over the past sixteen months to maintain our educational and outreach activities due to the COVID pandemic. We were not able to visit schools and have special events as in past years. The Audubon in the Schools Program was the primary one that was suspended. We do hope that in the Fall if schools are open and if our volunteers feel safe, we can once again bring that program into classrooms.
Our 2021 Program Meeting season from January to May was successful. That will start up again in September. We made the transition to Zoom Programs in September 2020 and that format has gone well. It is not the same as gathering in person for conversation, laughs and cupcakes, but we have had very good virtual attendance with the bonus of YouTube recordings that folks can watch at their convenience. Dennis Arendt has worked hard to arrange schedules and rearrange speakers using the Zoom technology. He also edits the Zoom recordings and posts them on YouTube. He continues to offer Lane Audubon engaging and interesting programs and speakers. Debbie Schlenoff is our Zoom Program techie and her help has been essential! During our May Program, we had a poll asking whether folks would attend an in-person program in the fall, and the tally was split almost in half! While we hope we can gather again at the Garden Club for Programs in September, we will be in wait-and-see mode. Stay tuned because in September we will have new Programs scheduled, whether via Zoom, in person, or a combination of the two!
Available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEsVQnT6gJ4
Saline lakes occur in some of the world’s driest regions yet are home to globally important assemblages of an array of endemic taxa, ranging from microbes to wading birds. This presentation explores how water availability and lithium mining influence the three species of flamingos that breed in the Lithium Triangle — the Andean (Phoenicoparrus andinus), James’ (P. jamesi), and Chilean Flamingos (Phoenicopterus chilensis). Given the essential function of flamingos as top-consumers and their critical role in the local eco-tourism industry, the projected future increases in the demand for lithium batteries pose grave threats to regional biodiversity and human economic well-being.
Celebrate Nature is on my calendar as we enjoy late spring and the arrival of summer. This time of year, I want to hang out in my garden where I keep ears and eyes open for birds, butterflies, and any other life forms that present themselves. I hit “pause” whenever I observe something new, so I’m taking breaks from the gardening at regular intervals. Obviously, the bird life is one of my great joys, but other animals are also unique and amazing in their own ways.
Lane County Audubon Society Board elections will be held at the May 25th program meeting.
The slate of candidates are all incumbents: Ramiro Aragon, Rachael Friese, Jim Maloney, Ron Renchler, Debra Schlenoff, Maeve Sowles, and Rebecca Waterman.
Some birding groups have held “Big Sit” events where participants gather in a birdy area and watch for any birds that fly, swim, or hop by in order to count them. A contest or a bird count tally might be included. Of course eBird users can also log in the tally for the specific location.
For less experienced birders, it’s a great way to join with more experienced birders to learn from them and see how the birds are identified and counted.
While it has similarities to the Christmas Bird Count, in this case the counters are stationary, so they can focus on watching the birds that move through an area. Many "Big Sit" counts are done during either spring or fall migrations.
Lane Audubon would like a volunteer who could serve as an Administrative Assistant for Board and Chapter responsibilities. Requisite skills include use of typical word processing, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint. Since we do not have a physical office, working from home is required.
FMI: please contact Maeve Sowles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541.343.8664.
Audubon Adventures Coordinator
Help us deliver this important educational resource to our local teachers who want to provide environmental education to their students. Skills needed are organization, basic computer and email skills to manage the order and delivery of teaching kits to the classrooms. Follow up with the sponsors and teachers to complete the circle of providing this important teaching tool for our schools. If you have a computer and a little time, this might be the volunteer opportunity you’ve been looking for!
FMI: Maeve Sowles email@example.com or 541.343.8664 if this rewarding position interests you. We’ll be happy to provide you with all the information and training you need to manage the program.
Walk Coordinator Rebecca Waterman continues to lead small walks with some restrictions in place in order to adhere to local safety guidelines. Attendance is capped at 10 birders, but she also enjoys doing it for as few as one. Beginners welcome! If more than 10 email her that they’d like to join a walk, she will schedule another walk. If she is free, she will also lead walks at other times.