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.
from our president
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!
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.
I would like to acknowledge the passing of Barry Lopez, the well-known author who lived along McKenzie River for decades. I began reading his work in the 1970s and continued to buy his books as new ones were released. I still have some of those old books on my shelves, having boxed and moved them with me several times. I have given his books as gifts and feel that his words help open a person’s mind to the possibilities of imagination.
After my mother began losing her vision, I read one of his short stories into a tape recorder, so she could enjoy listening to it. Barry Lopez’ Of Wolves and Men and Arctic Dreams are non-fiction, based on field studies and exploration he was involved with. Both books are a result of his search to understand the interface of nature and humanity, and the interdependence of humanness and the earth’s places where we live and that we cherish.
As I write this piece in early April, our future activities for the next two months are completely up in the air. We know that in May we will not have a Bird Walk and that cancellation of the Program Meeting is a strong possibility. Theoretically, at this point, June will be planned as the time gets closer and we know our ability to gather safely for community activities.
I want to express my gratitude for many levels of support Lane County Audubon Society (LCAS) receives from our members and volunteers.
Every November we send our annual donation request to support our education, conservation, and outreach programs. Our members always respond generously to this request, and we are deeply grateful for the continued support of many people. Lane Audubon thanks you, members, for your financial support!
Lane County enjoyed wondrous weather this summer. We had blue skies, moderate temperatures, and small amounts of rain at intervals, keeping the deciduous plants lush and green through August. Now that fall has arrived, we will see the progression of fall colors in the leaves. Fall colors in Oregon are not as famous as those of the northeast, but the stately backdrop of evergreen trees creates a contrast for the yellows and oranges of our deciduous canopy of ash, alder, oak, willow, and big-leaf maple. The understory of vine maple and poison oak adds splashes of reds.