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We are committed to protecting the environment in our community, our state and our country. President’s Letter from Barbara Singer
Nearshore Oil drilling Fades for now
By Barbara Singer, president
What a wonderful year!
This is a bittersweet time of the year for your Officers and Board of Directors. We must bid farewell to our winter friends but also we can think back to what a wonderful year this has been for Manatee County Audubon Society. We have met many new birding friends and members and accomplished so much through the Bird ID class, the photography class, Junior Audubon, Felts Open Houses, nesting Bird Stewardship, our scholarship program and other events. I want to thank some members who have been instrumental in making MCAS what it is today. I want to start with Jeanne Schlesinger who has been both a Board Member and a valuable member of the Felts Land Use Committee. Jeanne has been almost single handedly responsible for obtaining grants needed to make improvements and provide for ongoing maintenance at Felts. We will need a very special member to step in and take over these tasks. Jeanne, thank you, for your time and dedication to Felts.
A proposal to open Florida’s nearshore waters to oil and gas exploration pushed by House Speaker-designate Dean Cannon (R-Winter Park) and Senate President-elect Mike Haridopolos (R-Melbourne) was held at bay this session, largely due to the wisdom of Senate President Jeff Atwater (R-Palm Beach) who signaled his reservations about lifting Florida’s decades-old ban. Two weeks ago, Rep. Cannon officially ended his pursuit of this legislation, but indicated his intent to revisit it in coming sessions when the Senate’s appetite for the measure could be improved. Congratulations to Audubon advocates and all our partners for this hard-won success. Sadly, the recent Deepwater Horizon rig explosion in the Gulf continues to spill 5000 barrels of crude a day into Gulf waters. Pensacola may see oil coming ashore anytime. This tragic incident has brought the issue of drilling near Florida into sharp focus for many elected officials. Audubon is now focused on meeting the challenges this disaster will pose to our coastal wildlife and their habitat. Learn how you can help at the website http:// audubonoffloridanews.org
Funds for the new kiosk at Felts Preserve were donated by Carol Webster in memory of her son David. The kiosk was built by Roger Robson, left, and Ron Cayer.
My next big thank you goes to Carol Webster, Roger Robson and Ron Cayer. Carol in memory of her son, David, donated the funds needed for the new kiosk at the entrance to Felts Audubon Preserve and Roger and Ron made it happen. To quote Roger, “I’m just the designer and rough carpenter behind this job, Ron is the one who made it what it is.” When you have a chance to get out to Felts, pay special attention to the kiosk. I believe we have the finest kiosk in the state and maybe even the country. See page 2 for a photo of Carol and Ron at the kiosk. My final thank you of the year goes to the Officers and Board of Directors who have given of themselves to make this past year what it has been. It is now time to go forward with our plans for the 2010-11 season. We want to begin planning for next season by asking you, our members, to share with us what you want from MCAS. Within the next month we will be sending you a survey asking for your input on what you would like to see from MCAS. Please be willing to participate. Once we have your input we will begin to create a program that you have asked for. In conjunction with that we will be coming to you, our members, to help us make it happen. We will need trip leaders – you don’t need to be an expert birder, you just have to be willing to get the group to a location. We will need members to help with weekend or longer trips. We will be asking for members to help at special events and don’t forget Felts always needs your help. The organization belongs to all and we all need to be willing to pitch in to make it another great year.
Earth Day at Felts draws more than 250 people. Page 2.
Earth Day 2010 at Felts Preserve in Oak Alley, with face paintings, owls, music, good food and good times.
Earth Day 2010 at Felts draws more than 250 people
By Tom Heitzman
Manatee County Audubon held its annual Earth Day festival at the Felts Audubon Preserve on Saturday April 17. Although rain was predicted, the weather cooperated and we had a beautiful day for the event. Special thanks goes to Lea Ecthels for the planning, organization and implementation of this year’s event. Lea brought in many new exhibitors like the Mote mobile aquarium with their live fish, Home Depot with the bird house building for kids and adults and Zirkelbach Constructions “Grill Master” with their tasty chicken and burgers. Another first this year was a group of folk singers whose music filled the air all afternoon. The only downside to this beautiful music was that we did not have them play long enough. More than 250 people turned out for the event. These and many other exhibitors filled up the spaces in our shady oak alley to make quite a showing for all that attended. Along with the exhibitors we had hikes all day both to the south past the wildflower meadow and to the north into the woods around the ponds where we have a pair of wood ducks nesting. It was the wood ducks that so captivated Otis and Anita Felts so many years ago that they wanted to see some habitat left for them. How thrilled they would be to know that the ducks and many other birds have found a home at the Felts Preserve. In between the hikes we had three very educational talks on backyard feeders, planting for birds and butterflies and the different bats of Florida. Those who had the time to sit a while in the bird blind were not disappointed as the buntings put on quite a show. The Indigo Buntings were out in force along with the female Painted Buntings. And although the male Painted Bunting was a little shy he did make a few appearances. One new addition this year was the kiosk that was financed by Carol Webster and built by Roger Robson and his brother-in-law Ron Cayer. This beautiful structure is a great addition to the Felts Preserve and now serves as an informative entrance for all visitors. Thanks goes to the many members who gave their time before and during this special event, from getting the property cleaned up beforehand, helping park cars the day of the event, welcoming the arrivals, staffing one of our many exhibits, leading one of the hikes to cleaning up after it was over. It could not happen without your help. A wonderful event, and I hope a good time had by all.
Thanks to hosts at Felts Preserve
By Carol Webster
March 6: Ivan Marion hosted 51 visitors on a bright sunny morning with little breeze and temperatures ranging from 45 to 60 degrees, Eight Junior Auduboners were busy with their activities. Twnety-eight bird species were noted. Ivan registered three new members and a $15 donation. April 3: Russ and Carole Luttinen greeted more than 55 visitors on a beautiful sunny morning, a little cool but warmed up nicely with a light breeze. They had a large group of butterfly enthusiasts visit. Birders viewed 30 species. Highlight of the day were the Painted Buntings and the Indigo Buntings. One raccoon and seven pond turtles were noted.
Pictured right are Carol Webster, who donated funds to build the new kiosk at Felts Audubon Preserve in memory of her son David. The kiosk was constructed by Ron Cayer, pictured with Carol, and Roger Robson, pictured on the front cover of the newsletter, along with a photo of the completed kiosk, which has display windows. Lucette Wombacher has been working to create a series of posters of birds and other wildlife for the kiosk windows.
Thanks to Johnson Middle School for helping clean up Felts Preserve
By Nancy Dean
Our favorite Manatee County 8th grade teacher, Anne Cruickshank, brought over 20 students from Johnson Middle School to Felts Audubon Preserve on Friday April 30 to remove invasive exotic plants as a service project. Recently, this school earned International Baccalaureate status, quite an achievement for a largely minority school. Also helping us was Karen Fraley of Around The Bend Nature Tours, who runs the Spring Break Camp sponsored Anne Cruickshank’s students were prepared to work hard . by Manatee Audubon. Some of the children spoke limited English, but all followed our direction and worked hard for two hours, removing three super-large bags of Caesar Weed and four to five large bags of Philodendron, which someone had dumped on the property years ago. The kids were just great, in large part because they were so well prepared by Mrs. Cruickshank. We always enjoy working with her. Sadly, she completes 30 years of service this Spring and will retire.
42 kids splash, bird, recycle, build forts, parade during Spring Break Camp
The first day of camp, left, was wet but wonderful. The last day of camp, right, was was parade day with a banner about bugs. Photos by Karen Fraley and Lucette Wombacher. By Karen Fraley
Spring Break Camp at Felts Preserve run by Around the Bend Nature Tours, sponsored by Manatee Audubon and funded by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program Tarpon Tag was a big success. Forty-two campers spent their week learning about wetlands and mud puddles, birding and bugs, and planting a butterfly garden and building forts. Guest speakers came every day with a different animal. Camp director Karen Fraley started the week discussing trash and recycling with each group. A competition was set up to see which group could produce the least amount of trash at lunchtime – recycling bins were provided and were exempt from the trash requirement. The week started out with a three-inch rainfall on Sunday – which created ephemeral ponds in the already saturated ground. The campers came in muck boots on Tuesday and puddle play was the rule of the day. Art on Monday included making Nature Journals, which the campers wrote in during the week to document their adventure. On other days, they decorated wands made out of sticks that they found, did pinch pots with clay, did tie die to create parade banners and made sun catchers with contact paper. The Recycling contest was a draw – every group had zero trash in their buckets on Friday and were very conscientious about their recycling.
By Dee A.Hanny
The Beach-nesting Birds program needs volunteers for the Steward program to help protect nesting areas on Manatee County beaches. We need people to monitor nesting sites especially over the Memorial Day and July 4th holidays. This involves spending two hours or more at the nest site to help educate beach visitors regarding protecting nest sites and to help insure that the nesting birds are not disturbed. Please contact Dee A. Hanny at email@example.com or (941) 745-1553 to volunteer and for additional information.
May 2010 Newsletter
Manatee County Audubon Society, P. O. Box 14550, Bradenton FL 34280-4550
MCAS awards two scholarships
By Bunny Schneider, scholarship chair
Manatee Audubon awarded two $1,000 scholarships to two Manatee County graduating seniors who are pursuing careers in environmentally related fields. Megan Body will be a June graduate of St. Stephen’s Episcopal School where she has distinguished herself with outstanding leadership, community service and academics (3.9 gpa). Megan will attend High Point University in North Carolina where she will have a double major in Biology and Marine Biology. Sheri Borkowshi will be a June graduate of Bayshore High School. In addition to working year round, Sheri is an outstanding soccer and track star and maintains straight A’s in her Advance Placement classes. She will attend University of South Florida, majoring in Marine Science. Of particular interest to Sheri is the migration pattern of whale sharks. Both girls, accompanied by family members, were introduced to MCAS members at our April supper meeting. Megan and Sheri expressed their deepest appreciation to MCAS for our financial help and interest in their education goals. The Scholarship Committee includes Bunny Schneider, chair, Barry Rossheim and Jean Turner.
Girl Scouts invite us to participate in Environmental Fair
By Barbara Singer, president
MCAS was asked to participate in an Environmental Fair presented by two Girl Scouts as the project for their Girl Scout Silver Award. The girls arranged for the fair to be on Saturday April 24 at the Girl Scout camp, Camp Honi Honta, which was the perfect setting for the fair. MCAS members Steve Black and Lucette Wombacher worked with the Junior Girl Scouts covering all phases of bird watching including an actual outing to complete the requirements for their Wildlife Patch. The girls eagerly searched the camp for the birds they learned. While Steve and Lucette were busy with Junior Girl Scouts; Carol Webster, Carole Luttinen and I worked with 100 Daisies and Brownies making squirrels using pine cones. This craft taught the girls about using items from the environment and about animals found in the environment and taught Carol, Carol and me what working with 100 girls was all about.
Junior Auduboners end the year with a picnic at Felts Preserve
By Steve Black, vice president
For our final Junior Audubon event of the year – a May 1 picnic with family members – we had a good turnout of 19. Since we won’t meet again until the fall, we gave each Junior Auduboner a National Audubon Field Guide to Florida Book. Lucette Wombacher printed a list of some of the things we saw and put it in the book for each child. When we asked them to name their favorite thing on the property, all the kids had a dif- One said Painted Bunting, one said Indigo Bunting, one said Palferent answer. The answers were just as metto Walking Stick, one said Eastern Mole, and one said they liked everything and didn’t want a summer break. varied as the lessons we studied.
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