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This month, I’d like to pass along some news from the Lane County Audubon Society Board:

Amazon Headwaters: The Board is happy to have supported the City of Eugene’s purchase of the Amazon Headwaters property by writing a $25,000 check from funds that were donated by community members for that purpose. The original push to protect that property started in the late 1990s with a neighborhood grassroots effort. Lane Audubon became the nonprofit vehicle that allowed donated funds to become charitable contributions. Our Board hoped the property would eventually become part of the parks and open space that create a habitat corridor around Eugene for plants, birds, and other wildlife. The most recent successful effort toward this goal occurred when the Noble family brokered a deal with the city to include the Amazon Headwaters parcels. The funds that we had been holding for this purpose were a small piece of the overall money, but it represented a major community support effort lasting almost 15 years.

It is good news that the City of Eugene is willing to purchase property to hold for conservation. This aligns directly with the wishes of the many people who have chosen to live in a community that values parks, open space, wildlife, and wild birds. Thanks to all those people who donated toward this goal many years ago and have worked throughout the last 15 years to achieve conservation protection for the key habitat area of Amazon Headwaters. Environmental education depends on environmental appreciation, and these local sites that offer watershed and riparian habitat are living classrooms for our youth. Living with wild and open spaces in our midst is a habitat treasure that enhances Eugene’s livability into the future.

Welcome New Board Member! Caryn Stoess grew up in Reno, Nevada, and moved to Eugene for graduate school. Despite the quail running around the parking lot behind her house when she was a kid, Caryn didn’t discover birds until 2011, when her husband gave her a bird feeder. At first Caryn was excited just to have birds at the feeders. Eventually she started to pay attention to the two types of birds—Chickadees and not-a-Chickadees. Even though her first attempt to identify a not-a-Chickadee was a failure (at the time a Red-breasted Nuthatch looked a lot like a Mountain Chickadee), she learned that birding could be fun and challenging. In the last several years, Caryn has gone on scores of bird walks, taken several birding workshops, read a large stack of birding books, spent countless hours watching birds, and dubbed herself a bird nerd. In birding, Caryn has found an avocation that is not only a great way to enjoy and observe nature, but also provides the opportunity to meet fun, interesting people who share a common interest and enjoy sharing their knowledge.

In her nonbirding life, Caryn is married to Scott, who supports her birding and occasionally joins her on short birding trips but has yet to be bitten by the birding bug. Caryn is the operations manager for a small organization that creates career development software.