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Herb Wisner has volunteered and been on the Board of Lane County Audubon for decades. He maintains his Board position, but two years ago he asked to give up the Program Chair. It took some time to find a new volunteer, and we did the job by committee for the last year. Herb still helps find speakers, and his efforts and methods to find new program material reflect his eclectic interests. I have seen Herb working the crowd at concerts and birthday parties to see if a prospective speaker could fit into the program schedule. His untiring efforts on behalf of Audubon span his lifetime.
Herb’s father and uncle were naturalists and fostered his interest in the study of nature while he was growing up in New York State. Birds were a big passion for Herb. As a young man he worked at the National Audubon Hog Island Nature Camp in Maine. Herb and Ruth came to Eugene in 1966, and Herb was a UO biology lecturer for much of his career. I have been told his classes and field trips were fun and exciting and that he inspired many students to pursue more courses in biology. His classes were packed full of challenging information that made his students realize they needed to work harder. He took students on camping trips in the mountains so they could awaken to the dawn chorus of forest birds. His strong interest in birds sparked their desire to know much more. Dan Gleason said, “After just a few trips with him, I was hooked.”
Herb’s interest in the natural world and appetite for learning are difficult to keep up with. He still attends classes and lectures so that he is continuously learning. He exercises regularly and enjoys working in his garden. His pocket calendar is full each month. Herb organizes the LCAS Home Counters for the Eugene Christmas Bird Count each year. He is also active with the Eugene Natural History Society, for which he was treasurer for many years,
Herb has created a legacy of work inspiring others to learn about and respect the wonders of the natural world. “He possesses a lifelong deep curiosity of the natural world,” says Herb’s son Darryl. “He instilled that trait in his family, his students, and most likely anyone who has ever known him.” I’ve worked with Herb for decades now, and the one thing that always strikes me is his unending good humor and wit. He invariably makes us laugh and guides us to strive to learn more. Herb’s fascination by all aspects of nature is an inspiration. Thank you, Herb, for your long-term and continuing work on behalf of Lane County Audubon!
Herb will be 94 years old this month.