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Issue Vol.III - No. 2
The Southeast Volusia Audubon Society promotes the protection of birds, other wildlife and their habitat through education and activism.
Identity Crisis –Or, Were we even there?
Well, that’s three in a row in just a couple of weeks. Two articles on the Christmas Bird Count (one in the Daytona NewsJournal and one in the Observer) and the article in the Orlando Sentinel on our honoring the Bidgood’s with a tree planting ceremony. You would think that would be good publicity for our organization. Except for one critical part. The Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, which organized and conducted the events, was not even mentioned by name in the articles. I guess the implication is clear. The reporters don’t know who we are. So if you have an opportunity to interact with reporters, please ask them to include the name of our organization in their article or report. On a positive note, we made $331.90 at the Oak Hill flea market on Saturday the 12th. Thanks to all who donated items and helped at the flea market, and who bought items. Our thanks also to the Oak Hill Flea Market management for their hospitality. We are still trying to hold the city of Edgewater’s feet to the fire in the management of the Scrub Jay habitat behind the YMCA. They have een passively allowing the plot to deteriorate by not conducting the necessary trimming and controlled burns. They have also been actively destroying it by overmowing. As a result, the Scrub Jays that formerly lived there are now apparently gone. It is imperative that the city performs the controlled burn and other maintenance actions to restore the habitat. There is no guarantee that the Scrub Jays would return, but they may. Even so, there is also an ethical issue at risk. The city entered into a contractual obligation to preserve and protect the habitat in return for being able to destroy some other habitat and wetlands to construct the YMCA. Soon, the city will allow the destruction of large tracts of wetlands with the promise of mitigation in the developments West of I-95. If the city will not honor its own mitigation agreement, how can we trust the city to enforce the much more extensive mitigation requirements on these developers? We have attracted the attention of the press as well as the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Game and Fish Commission. Wish us luck. Better yet, send Jack Corder, chief of Leisure Services an email telling him how you feel. His
Meetings are held the 1st Wednesdays Oct. thru March at 7 P.M. Edgewater Library 103 Indian River Blvd. 7: P.M. Smoke-free environment. Refreshments are served. Plenty of parking. Public welcome.
Next meeting is Feb. 6, 2008 Meeting Place Change: Utilities Commission
200 E. Canal St., NSB (see February Speaker p.4) Speaker: Karen Stauderman "Wise use of water in the Florida home landscape."
Programs & Field trips subject to change.
Field trips begin at 8:00 A.M. unless otherwise noted. Meet in the Market Square parking lot Edgewater, Ridgewood Ave. & 442, between Dunkin Donuts & Chik-Fil-A. Bring lunch & drinks. Don't forget bug-spray!
Feb. 9 - Vierra Wetlands
See details p. x Questions? Contact Gail Domroski 428-0447
Audubon members and guests are all welcome.
address is JCorder@cityofedgewater.org . We have recently been approached by a member of the NSB city staff with a request to help them build an environmentally friendly habitat at a park near the downtown area. Ken Gunn is lead on the project. We will keep you informed on how the project ensues. Maybe you can help???? Until next time, happy birding. —Don Picard Editor's Note: Due to circumstances beyond our control, there will be no printed edition of the Skimmer in February. The eSkimmer (this one) will be our only issue. —G.M.
February, 2008 with: dogs harassing migratory birds nesting @ Smyrna Dunes Park and the neglected scrub jay habitat at the Edgewater YMCA. Those SEVAS members who are prepared to assist with educational programs at the scrub jay habitat, I ask for your continued patience as we await final word from the school system and the results of a meeting from the City and the USFW. Richard Domroski and I finished reviewing the latest responses from developer, Canin Associates, regarding “Restoration”, a huge potential development West of I-95. The following is Richard’s summary of his review: He found it interesting that the development is now named “Hammock Creek Green”. The Regional Planning Council staff are doing an outstanding job of reviewing all responses and not accepting anything that is not crystal clear or does not meet set criteria. The staff have covered all of the items of interest to SEVAS e.g.: water, wildlife & natural communities. Also, staff have noted that many responses are insufficient for this project to proceed and, question the need for such a project at all and use the term "premature". As noted in several staff comments, neither New Smyrna Beach nor Edgewater are prepared for a such a massive project in terms of supplying water, sewage and other services with Edgewater being the furthest behind in future planning. As of this review, Richard states he does not see anything that SEVAS needs to comment on but this project has a long way to go and there will be changes. Thank you, Richard, for keeping us updated about this matter that potentially greatly impacts the quality of life of current residents of Edgewater and NSB. If any of you would like to review this document yourself, call Kathy @ 409-3091. —Kathy Booth
Our previous conservation chairperson, Lee Bidgood, was influential in encouraging the State of Florida to offer financial incentives for individuals and businesses to use solar energy. My husband and I have been considering whether we could afford to switch to solar, so we had a solar company representative come to our home to give us an estimate. Our home is a modest stucco/shingle home with 2500 sq feet under roof. We discovered that there are actually four systems to chose from: 1) a photovoltaic or “PV” solar system that generates electricity that is sent to FPL who credits our bill for what we take from them (~$29,000 after deducting FPL and government rebates); 2) a pool system that only heats the pool water (~$4,000 after deducting rebates); 3) a solar system that only heats water in the water heater (~$4,000 after deducting rebates); and 4) a solar attic fan that only runs the fan (~$1,000 after deducting rebates). It would take a huge PV system (lots of roof space and lots of panels) to generate enough electricity to heat the pool and water heater and provide all the other electricity we need. We do not have enough roof to put all the PV panels it would take. But a pool solar system and a water heater solar system reduces the amount of electricity needed, meaning fewer PV panels. To get the most solar benefit per dollar, the representative recommended installing a pool system plus a water heating system, then adding PV panels to generate electricity for uses other than the pool and water heater. All the solar panels needed for this configuration would cover the entire south and east sides of our roof. The electricity generated by this PV system still would not offset all the electricity we use. To completely offset our electricity use would take more money and roof than available. The pool system has both a water thermostat and an atmosphere thermostat. To prevent the solar system from cooling the water instead of heating it when ambient air temperature is cooler than the water temperature desired for the pool, the system shuts off. From April to October, the pool could be heated to 90 by solar only and the electric heat pump would not be needed. The PV system is attached to the trusses of the roof to prevent them lifting off during a hurricane. All the systems require holes in the roof, with all the risks that could entail. Warranties cover manufacturing defects (and maybe improper installation), but not wind damage. The cost vs savings break even point of the pool system would be ~ 3 yrs. The other 3 systems could take the rest of our lives to recoup the purchase price. Because of this, the potential customer should ask themselves if they plan to live in the house long enough to recoup their costs. If not, would the sale price of the house recoup the investment? Because alternative energy, including solar energy, is a relatively new focus, there is likely to be technological innovation and improvement in the future, with increased availability and a corresponding reduction in cost of the systems. So a reasonable question is, might there be a benefit of waiting a few more years? There has been a lot of talk, but no actual results yet in regards to two local conservation issues SEVAS is involved
NSB Myrtle Park On Tuesday, 22 Jan 08, a meeting between members of the NSB Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), Lindley’s nursery and SEVAS was conducted at the park at the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Canal Street. Attending were: Noeleen Foster and Kevin Fall of the CRA, Debbie Pell of Lindley’s Nursery, and Don Picard, Ken Gunn, Gail Domroski, and Bill and Marsha Cox of SEVAS. The purpose of the meeting was to brainstorm ideas for developing some type of ecological area at the park. The city is rebuilding Canal Street on the West side of U.S. 1 to the intersection of Myrtle Avenue. The CRA members wanted to include the park in the rebuilding scheme. The park is divided into two parts, about three fourths includes a playground unit and one-fourth on the other side of a canal spanned by a stone bridge. We decided that the ecological area should be on the smaller side. We discussed a butterfly-type garden with native plants, trails through the garden and benches or possibly even picnic tables. The SEVAS would sponsor bulletin See Park p.4
From the Field
Common Loon Pied-billed Grebe American White Pelican Brown Pelican Double-crested Cormorant Anhinga Great Blue Heron Green-backed Heron Little Blue Heron Cattle Egret Reddish Egret Great Egret Snowy Egret Tri-colored Heron Wood Stork Glossy Ibis White Ibis Roseate Spoonbill Mottled Duck Northern Pintail Green-winged Teal Blue-winged Teal American Wigeon Northern Shoveler Lesser Scaup Hooded Merganser Red-breasted Merganser Turkey Vulture Black Vulture Red-shouldered Hawk Bald Eagle Northern Harrier Osprey American Kestrel Clapper Rail Sora Common Moorhen American Coot Killdeer Black-bellied Plover Ruddy Turnstone Common Snipe Willet Greater Yellowlegs Lesser Yellowlegs Dunlin Short-billed Dowitcher Sanderling American Avocet Black-necked Stilt Great Black-backed Gull Herring Gull Ring-billed Gull Laughing Gull Bonaparte’s Gull Forester’s Tern Royal Tern Caspian Tern Black Skimmer Rock Dove
Native & Nice
January Field Trip Report Eastern Redbud
Although they maybe deciduous right now, Eastern Redbuds (Ceris canadensis) are about to decorate the outdoors for Valentine’s Day. With their profusion of small, sweet peashaped, pink flowPhoto - Gil Miller ers, this native tree will charm its way into your heart. Following the show, the native will leaf out in handsome, broad heart-shaped leaves. Fast growing, reaching 25-35 feet, the eastern native can make an effective specimen tree in full sun or a colorful understory tree because they can also tolerate light shade. When placed on the edge of woodlands, redbuds are hard to miss with their attractive silhouette of rounded but still horizontally tiered branches. When planted in full sun, redbuds would like a moist soil, but not too soggy. It helps to plant them in a lightly shaded area to reduce their watering needs. Yet, established trees can be quite drought tolerant. They tolerate a range of soils from alkaline to acidic. However, to help with blooming they would appreciate a light, acidic fertilizer two to three times a year between March through September. This can also be accomplished by using coffee grounds. Coffee grounds help to build the moisture content and acidity of the soil. A couple of neat facts about this eastern native is that it is as a member of the pea or legume family and the redbud has the ability to fix nitrogen from the air to use as a nutrient. If you really want to impress your loved ones this Valentine holiday, try the new variety, ‘Forest Pansy’. This particular redbud still has the profusion of rosy pink flowers in early spring but continues the show with a colorful flush of purple heart-shaped leaves that fade to burgundy-tone leaves in summer. This variety appreciates some afternoon shade in the summer months. It makes a great ornamental accent in a Florida garden. While many express their love with flowers, adding an Eastern Redbud to your garden will give love for many years to come with their flowers being one of the first signs of spring. —Lauren Pell
Editor's Note: Lauren is the youngest member of the family owned business, Lindley's Nursery on W. Canal St. New Smyrna Beach .with mother Debbie and sister Jenny, One of these three women will be writing in this space each month.
For all of you who didn’t join us on our Merritt Island trip this month, you missed a good day of birding. We saw 84 species (side-bar) on a refreshingly cool & drizzly day. Had good looks at the small tern-like Bonaparte’s Gull feeding near shore at the causeway in Titusville. Behind pumphouse road, we saw Black Skimmers, Royal & Caspian Terns, Yellowleggs, Black-necked Stilt & many other birds. The ditch beside pumphouse road was filled with all the beautiful wading birds. On Black Point Wildlife Drive we saw all the usual ducks and had a great closeupview of Spoonbills. For those (who) that stayed after lunch, we saw a Bald Eagle take a Coot for his lunch. On Biolab road, we had good looks at a Swamp Sparrow, a life bird for some, Northern Flicker and a passing glance at a Common Snipe. Please come & join us for our next trip on February 9th to Viera Wetlands.
Our February 9th trip will be to Viera Wetlands. The wetlands are a series of connected ponds created to treat wastewater from the central Brevard area. This site, just North of Melbourne, has raised dikes that offer good birding from a vehicle. There are observation towers that look out over the ponds and during fall & winter many species use these wetlands and nearby Prairies and Hammocks. We hope to see Bald Eagle, Crested Caracara, Northern Harriers, several species of duck, wading birds, and just maybe a Purple Gallinule. Bring a lunch, snacks, water etc. and don’t forget bug spray. Call Gail @ 428-0447 if you have any questions. —Gail Domroski
We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap. ~Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
February, 2008 for the fish, is one of the plants that they are paying good money for to reintroduce as part of the Everglades cleanup. 2. The stuff on the side, bacopa, is related to dollar weed but here it is a good thing. It is stabilizing the banks and should be kept in place for that purpose. The bits of it that are growing on the surface of the water can be removed, while standing on dry ground with a rake, and should be placed (thrown) on the banks in spots where it is currently sparse. Since it is related to dollar weed it will root and grow there. 3. The Picheral Weed (sp?), the stuff with the purple flowers, should be left in place as should the Colosia (really sp?). The palmetto along the side can be removed as they don't belong there anyway. 4. The only real work involved is to clear the channel, probably about 2 feet wide or so, down the middle and to remove the palmetto leaves. Steve thinks this will need to be done every month or so. Steve's other suggestions were to get rid of the azaleas as they probably won't do well anyway. My thought on that is to wait and see - I have a real problem killing anything that is growing. His other suggestion I thought was brilliant. He looked around and did not see any native orchids growing in the trees but thought that there certainly should be. In the case that there isn't, he suggests starting some there. Then, since we are promoting nature, put up a sign pointing them out. This would go along with our butterfly and bird posters. Another of Steve Beeman's points was that he is quite against grass or flowers of any sort along the creek for safety reasons. He feels that almost any type of foliage might seem a barrier to a small child if they should wander into the water and they may not attempt to get out. Another point concerned the sound barrier. His advice is to forget it and live with the noise. Anything high enough to block any significant amount of sound would be so high that it would block law enforcement line of sight. —Ken Gunn
board(s) to provide interpretive information on the ecology in the park. The city’s landscape planner would do the design. Lindley’s Nursery would nominate plants with input from the Native Plant Society. Irrigation would be needed during the setup and establishment of the plants using drip irrigation and a gas pump taking water from the canal. The pump could be removed after the plants were established. Drip irrigation would be nearly invisible. The cost would be nominal as long as volunteers did much of the work. We could get the Middle School and High School students to help with planting and maintenance. Then the students could benefit from filed trips, which we could organize and conduct. Debbie also suggested that we should contact Steve Beeman of Beeman’s Nursery because he had done experiments using mats of plants to remove bad stuff from bodies of water. The canal going through the park appeared to need cleaning. We all left the park excited about the results of the meeting. We agreed to the following tasks: • The CRA staff was going to meet with the Atlantic Center for the arts for their input. • The CRA staff would talk with the city’s landscape designer and to the city for funding. • I would take lead with Ken as my backup for organizing the project. • I would contact Dana Thompson about getting the Middle Students involved. • Gail would contact the Native Plant Society. • Ken would contact Steve Beeman. • Debbie would contact the someone at the High School to see if FFA students might be interested. • After the CRA team left, we decided that everyone should email the group by Friday on the status of their taskings. Don’s Input I contacted Dana Thompson, media coordinator for the NSB Middle School. She was quite excited about the project and indicated she would contact the teacher who sponsors the ecology group and other science teachers to see if there would be any interest. Ken Gunn input Debbie Pell recommended that we visit with Steve Beeman of Beeman's Nursery. Among other things, Steve does creek and pond salvage at golf courses and Debbie considers him an expert. I met Steve at the park and his recommendations were very simple, although my spelling will make it seem more complex. 1. The ugly stuff growing under the surface of the water should essentially be left alone, although a channel should be cleared through it to facilitate drainage when it rains. This stuff - cannot be killed / eliminated anyway, provides cover and food
Will urban sprawl spread so far that most people lose all touch with nature? Will the day come when the only bird a typical American child ever sees is a canary in a pet shop window? When the only wild animal he knows is a rat - glimpsed on a night drive through some city slum? When the only tree he touches is the cleverly fabricated plastic evergreen that shades his gifts on Christmas morning? ~Frank N. Ikard, North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, Houston, March 1968
Our February speaker will be Karen Stauderman the newly appointed Volusia County Urban Horticulture Extension Agent. Karen will speak to us on the wise usage of water in the Florida home landscape. Karen was awarded two Bachelor of Science degrees from Oregon State University, one in Horticulture and one in Plant Pathology. Since moving to Florida, she has worked as a Biological Scientist for the University of Florida, Plant Pathology Department, for 11 ½ years, stationed at Sanford and at the Apopka Research Station. She has since spent five years as a science teacher in the Eustis High School. Karen is originally from the Northwest but has lived in Florida for the past twenty years and is a true convert. While with the University of Florida, Karen and her husband established a U-Pick strawberry farm and U-Cut Christmas tree farm in Sorrento. The former also features jams, salsas and strawberry desserts during the season. Ms Stauderman is the first of two environmental programs made available to Southeast Volusia Audubon as part of the New Smyrna Beach Utilities Commission Customer Outreach Program. The presentations will be given in the DeBarry Room on the third floor of the Utilities Commission Building, 200 Canal Street in New Smyrna Beach. Parking will be available in the parking lot behind the building and entry will be through the back door and up the elevator. We are grateful to Ms Ellen Mahle for helping to make this happen and for arranging the use of the Utilities Commission facility. NOTE THE CHANGE OF VENUE.
Our popular bags are back!
Two years ago, we introduced these bags as an environmentally sensible way of toting goods home from the store. We sold out two orders and figured that was that, we had reached everyone we were going to reach. Wrong. A chapter member, Marita Buchy , called and encouraged us to order some more. We did. Our chapter's logo looks great in black on these off-white bags. Eco-Spun™ is fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. It's bright, soft and very durable. Leave them in your car so they'll be handy whenever you go shopping. We use ours for a weekly shopping trip to the supermarket. We'll have them at every meeting. We think they're a good deal at $10 ea.
Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard by What is above him when he shows no mercy to what is under him? ~Pierre Troubetzkoy
Officers & Chairs
It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. ~Ansel Adams
President: Don Picard VP: Vacant Secretary: Jean McNeil
386-423-2508 386-428-0447 386-423-4124 email@example.com 386-423-2334 firstname.lastname@example.org 386-428-0447 386-409--3091 386-957-1886
Our Email Address email@example.com If you'd like to have The Skimmer emailed monthly, contact us at the above address. Type Subscribe in the subject line. Our Website http://sevolusiaaudubon.org/
Treasurer: Richard Domroski Newsletter: Gil Miller Programs: Ken Gunn Field Trips: Gail Domroski Conservation: Kathy Booth
Membership: Richard Domroski 386-428-0447 Publicity: Bill Cox firstname.lastname@example.org
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Ways & Means, Education/Outreach, Hospitality: VACANT!