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Oct 2009 Night Heron Newsletters Manatee County Audubon Society

Oct 2009 Night Heron Newsletters Manatee County Audubon Society

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Published by: Manatee County Audubon Society on Aug 19, 2010
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 Dr. Hodgson to speak at October 15 meeting 
 Manatee County Audubon Society
We are committed to protecting the environment in our community, our state and our country.
 President’s letter from Barbara Singer 
Our unsung heroes could use your help
 Audubon AssemblyOctober 23-24 in St. Petersburg 
Attend if you can
Celebrated oceanographer  Sylvia Earle, who tracesher fascination with the seaback to the days she lived inClearwater, will be the key-note speaker at the Audu-bon Assembly on October 23-24 in St. Petersburg at the Hilton Carillon. Dr. Earle’s extensive work underwater has made her acutely awareof the ocean’s potential and of its decline.“I see it in somany places,”  she says. “For example, in Clearwater,Florida, where I grew up,the water isn’t clear any-more.” The Assembly brings to- gether conservation leadersand scientists—as well as policy makers, and busi-ness people from acrossFlorida to discuss strategiesto protect our coasts, birds,and wildlife, and secure our quality of life. The programalso offers expert-led and 
 self-guided eld trips.
You can register for Audu-bon Assembly online at 
 As President I want to thank 
a few of those I call the Unsung Heroes of Manatee Audubon. Theseheroes and others make my job less stressful and your experience more meaningful.
Carol Webste
r is the rst who comes to mind. Carol coordinates the monthly volunteers who hostat Felts Audubon Preserve on Open House days. We have never had to worry about an Open Housegoing without a host. Other heroes are those who volunteer to host at Felts through the summer months, from May through October, in 90 degree heat.
Then on to the matter of nances.
When Lucette Wombacher goes on vacation, we all panic. She
handles all our banking and bill paying, records all transactions and creates budgets for both Felts
Audubon Preserve and our membership. Besides all that, she does the taxes and prepares nancialreports to National Audubon. Her monthly volunteer hours are more than that of a part-time job.
 Next there is my right arm,
Molly McCartney. Not only does she create a monthly newsletter thatwe should all be proud of, she has also designed the Annual Brochure and is now working with meto create an electronic newsletter that you won’t forget. Without Molly’s expertise and dedication,we wouldn’t have the professional image we now enjoy.
These folks and others give unconditionally
of their time to make Manatee County Audubon So-
ciety an exceptional organization. Now as I look around what do I see but a whole group that can
give these folks some help by donating three to four hours a month. Please come to them or to me
and ask “what can I do to help”? If you are not able to do that, at least tell them how much you ap
 preciate what they contribute.
The guest speaker at theOctober 15 meeting of  Manatee Audubon will be Dr. Ann B. Hodgson,
right, a certied wildlife
biologist and profes- sional wetland scientist in wildlife management. She will talk about re- storing local islandsto natural habitat. See page 3 for details.
Felts thriving but needs ‘elbow grease’
page 2
For upcoming events see page 4 
Page 2
Those of you who have been away
most of the summer will notice some changes at Felts
Audubon Preserve. Despite the rampant growth that accompanies the rainy season, the trailsare open and nicely groomed, thanks to our new tractor and the dedication of Fred Allen. Dueto a break-in over the summer, which was discovered before anything was stolen, additionalsecurity measures have been installed in the storage barn, including an alarm system. So far there have been no repeat incidents.
The buttery garden
planted on Earth Day is thriving with minimal maintenance, and it is fullof butteries. The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have also discovered it.
 Preparation work has begun
on a new wildower meadow at the north end. The area will be tilled and planted in January. In the meantime, the St. Augustine grass in that area is being
mowed and sprayed.
 Summer is the quiet time
at the preserve, with fewer bird species and also fewer humanvisitors. However, there were two new sightings in August, an Eastern Kingbird and NorthernRough-winged Swallows. This brings our unofcial species count to 126. We hope to have anew ofcial total in January.
We have some urgent needs
for volunteers for non-physical tasks. We need someone to takeover the gathering and compiling of checklists at the Felts Preserve. You can either pass the
information on to a board member once a month to write up a summary for the newsletter, or 
write the summary and give it to our newsletter editor yourself. Whatever you are comfortablewith. We can mail you the completed checklists if picking them up at the bird blind is a prob-lem. Contact any board member if you can take on this task.
 If you have visited Felts recently
, you probably noticed that the bird feeders are often empty.
We need to address this immediately or we will not get our usual wealth of winter birds at the bird blind. We need a committee to keep the feeders full, a coordinator and some worker bees.
If you can help, please contact a board member.
 By Don Bansen, MCAS Historian
Friday April 24, 1985, saw Bra-denton Mayor Bill Evers reading a proclamation on the Courthouse steps designating the city as a bird  sanctuary. Robert McNesky, presi-dent of Manatee County Audubon Society, joined the mayor along with about a dozen members of the Audubon Club and Lisa Shock-nesse, who was holding a Red-tailed Hawk. A local attorney, Thomas W. Stew-art, assisted us, without charge,in making us a corporation. Thisenabled us to obtain a commer-cial bulk mailing permit and, at a later date, formal recognition from the Internal Revenue Ser-vice as a tax-exempt organization,which allowed us to obtain a much
less costly non-prot bulk mailing 
rate. By-laws were written and ad-opted in February 1985. Developer Pat Neal was a state senator in November 1985 whenhe addressed the MCAS meet-ing at the Manatee River GardenClub. Neal hired MCAS president  McNesky as an environmental consultant when he started the Perico Bay Club. This raised acloud of criticsm of McNesky due
to the possibility of a conict of 
interest. The local papers carried numerous articles about this ar-rangement. Audubon member Irene Mur- phy of Holmes Beach received an award for collecting the most  stamps in the state for the Birds of  Prey Center. In the 1985 Christmas Bird Count in Bradenton, 27 observ-ers reported spotting a total of 122 species and 28,109 birds.
Felts does not exist in isolation.
The surrounding land either is or was agricultural; or is or as
- pires to be residential. Native groundcover has disappeared. Replacing it are often aggressiveexotic plants - non-native species that thrive in disturbed conditions which our native plantsaren’t accustomed to - and soon they overrun the place.
They are encroaching throughout our property.
Some were already there, courtesy of people
who dumped unwanted houseplants on our ground before we owned it. And often wind, birds
or other animals drop seeds. You get rid of them either manually (including equipment if nec-essary) or via herbicides. If you don’t get them out and keep at it, they come right back.
We try the old-fashioned way,
every month: pull and dig. It’s not enough. Why? Too fewcome out to help, and it’s usually the same people every time.
We use herbicides
. As little as possible. The most benign of them - but herbicides nonthe-less. It doesn’t make us happy, and various members rightly scold us. They have no place in anatural ecosystem, of course. But if we didn’t use any, we’d soon have something that didn’tresemble native Florida at all.
You hold the key.
Our membership is over 350. Some of our members undoubtedly are physi-cally limited. Many aren’t. We need you. Hope to see you at Felts on our next workday - Sat-urday, October 31, 8 a.m. to 12 noon.
Felts is thriving but needs volunteers
 By Lucette Wombacher, treasurer 
 Look back at our history Preserve Felts with more ‘elbow grease’ 
 By Arlene Flisik, vice president 
 If you don’t go to Audubon As- sembly (see related article on page1), or if you do go and are so im- pressed with one of the speakersthat you want to hear him again-OR if you are just plain inter-ested in our environment enoughto learn more about how our  state’s wetlands keep disappeaing with the blessing of our watchdog agencies--then come to Manatee’s15th annual Environmental Sum-mit, Tuesday 6:30 p.m. October 27 at Palma Sola Botanical Park. It begins with potluck supper (bring a side dish to share).Then, Craig Pittman, investigativereporter, and co-author Matthew 
Waite, will discuss ndings that 
went into their recently published book, “Paving Paradise.” After-ward, attendees have a chance tobrainstorm on how this was al-lowed to happen and what can bedone about it now.We need a presumptive headcount to help us prepare. Please register at 792-8314 by October 23. For  further information, call there, or contact me at 746-1991. MCAS isa co-sponsor. Additionally, the Public Interest Committee of the Environmen-tal and Land Use Law Section of the Florida Bar will conduct aworkshop on “Understanding the Land Use Approval Process and  How to Effectively Participate” on Wednesday November 4, 2 to 5 p.m., Bayfront Community Center, Sarasota.We need some members to attend. I won’t always do this for MCAS.Call Manasota-88 (941-966-0659) for details.
 By Arlene Flisik, vice president 
Page 3
This three-day two-night trip
to Everglades National Park, January 15-17, promises to be a birding extravaganza. Using vans, we will bird down U.S. 41 on Friday January 15, hittingEverglade City, Fakahatchee State Preserve and many other birding sites. We will overnightin Florida City and spend Saturday January 16 stopping at all the great birding spots in theEverglades. Sunday January 17 we will nish in the Everglades and possibly make a stop atMary Krome Park before heading home. Trip leaders will be Barbara Singer, 504-0228, andSteve Black, 376-0110. Trip includes transportation, lodging, two breakfasts, two lunches andentry fees. Total cost $225 double occupancy; single occupancy $295. Deposit of $50 due withregistration. No refunds after December 31. Send your deposit with registration to MCAS, P.O.Box 14550, Bradenton FL 34280-4550.
 Name ______________________________________________________________________ Address_____________________________________________________________________ Phone _____________________ Email___________________________________________ 
We had seven
Junior Audubon
-ers, ages 6 to 11, along withthree parents at our rst meetingon September 5 at Felts AudubonPreserve. All the kids came fromKaren Fraley’s Spring Break Camp. After a lesson in how to
use binoculars, we took a triparound the property looking at
the Buttery Garden, marveling
at the caterpillars and the but
-teries. We next visited the BirdBlind where the kids helped ll
the feeders. The rest of the time
was spent exploring the preserve.All of the kids have a great deal
of curiosity, and they are interest
-ed in every insect and frog they
see. Most of the kids wanted to
stay longer. At right Steve Black oversees the activities of three Ju-
nior Auduboners.
 Junior Auduboners gather for rst session at Felts
 Article by Steve Black and photo by Bob Wombacher 
The Manatee County Audubon Society
will have its rst membership meeting of the year at7:30 p.m. Thursday October 15 at its new location at the First United Methodist Church of Palmetto, 330 11th Avenue West, Palmetto.
Our speaker will be Dr. Ann B. Hodgson
talking about restoring local islands. Dr. Hodg-son is Audubon of Florida’s Gulf Coast Science Coordinator and Sanctuaries Manager. Sheguides the ornithological and colonial waterbird research program for the Florida CoastalIslands Sanctuaries program, which manages over 50 colonies along the Gulf Coast, and thehistoric Palm Beach County sanctuaries jointly with the Audubon Society of the Everglades.She has authored over 20 professional papers and numerous technical reports, and is immedi-ate past vice president of the Florida Ornithological Society.
 Manatee Auduboners to meet October 15 at Palmetto Methodist 
 Register soon for Everglades birding trip
Two important  MeetingsComing up

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