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birders with binoculars BIPOC

A recent study, “Birdwatching linked to increased psychological well-being on college campuses: A pilot-scale experimental study,” published in June, adds to the growing body of evidence that being outside is good for you. Nature-based experiences, and birdwatching in particular, were shown to increase well-being and reduce distress.

You can join Lane Audubon at one of our two bird outings each month. Or explore birding and outdoor opportunities alone or with other local groups. New to birding? Check out the “Resources” section of our webpage for beginning birders’ basics: Tips for Beginning Birdwatchers and Birding Basics. Thanks to a partnership between Lane Audubon and the Eugene Public Library, you can check out a birding backpack that contains everything you need to get started. These are available at any Eugene Library branch. Their contents include binoculars for adults and children, field guides, and bird ID guides. FMI: City of Eugene Library of Things – Science and Tchnology category.

Conservation Updates:

Our UO Environmental Studies intern, Rosa Schaffner, did an outstanding job this spring term. She helped with the UO student bird club, our Vaux’s Swift count, and preparing documents for outreach and invasive plant identification for our backyard habitat program. She helped spread the word about the importance of reducing unnecessary light at night and conducted area monitoring of lighting practices. Thank you, Rosa!

Migration season may be over but, unfortunately, the ill effects of over-lit urban spaces are not seasonally confined. Artificial lighting at night has been shown to decrease successful nesting, decrease pollination, and play havoc with wildlife physiological responses. Taking steps to improve your lighting? Sign the Lights Out pledge.

Our backyard certification program, Habitat Haven, is off to a fantastic start. Community members are discussing plans on how to create better habitats for birds, pollinators, and other wildlife, and receiving advice from an enthusiastic corps of volunteers. Join the program and help practice wildlife stewardship where we live. See the Habitat Haven page.

The Biden administration has adopted an important new rule to conserve and protect America’s public lands managed by the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM). This federal rule puts conservation and recreation on equal footing with natural resource extraction. The BLM and US Forest Service were directed to identify threats to mature and old-growth forests, and to develop and implement policies to protect and restore them. Sadly, we do not always see these protections in place in Oregon’s public forests.

This spring, in response to a legal complaint brought by a coalition of environmental groups, a federal district court found that the Bureau of Land Management violated the law with its “Integrated Vegetation Management” program. This program proposed aggressive logging in areas that had been set aside for forest conservation and included mature and old-growth forests important for wildlife habitat and fire resilience. We hope the court’s recognition as well as the federal directive will lead to better proposals in future. We are keeping our eyes on other forest issues including the proposed Amendment to the Northwest Forest Plan. The next round of public comments will be for the draft Environmental Impact Statement, currently estimated to be released this summer.

LCAS joined a large coalition of beaver protectors (the mammal, not the sports team) in calling for the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to close beaver trapping and hunting on federally managed public lands. This request is in keeping with the many well-known benefits “to humans and other wildlife through improved ecosystem services, increased economic benefits, increased climate resilience, and enhanced biodiversity conservation benefits” of having beaver-inhabited floodplains (documented in the Commission’s Beaver Management Work Group report). We will continue our advocacy for wildlife coexistence through legislation and policy.