First half 2015 in review; in August, Celebrate Swifts and our 40th year!

i Aug 5th No Comments by

Authored by Rick LaRose

Greetings Wake Audubon members and friends! As board member John Connors wrote in the previous post, we’re terrifically excited to Celebrate Swifts and the completion of our Chimney Swift Roost Tower with you the weekend of August 21-23. Friday night, join us downtown at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences for a forum with swift experts from across North America. On Saturday, late afternoon through dusk, join us at Prairie Ridge Ecostation — the site of our tower — for family fun and games and the tower dedication. Bring a blanket or chairs, hang out with us as the sun sets, and let’s see how many swifts join in on the celebration! Meet us out and about Sunday at dusk for more swift viewings at urban chimneys you might not know exist, some in possible peril.

Thank you to all of you who have helped to make this tower a reality through your generous donations, many in support of our Buy a Brick for Swifts campaign. With the tower installed, your future donations will help fund technology to study swift activity at the tower and to landscape with native plants around the tower and viewing patio. See your inscribed bricks on display when you join us on August 22.

I also want to express my sincere appreciation for your ongoing support of Wake Audubon — as participants in our advocacy, conservation, and education initiatives; as volunteers; as members; as donors — in fulfillment of our mission.

Together we’ve successfully advocated to protect land in Eastern NC for endangered Henslow’s sparrows. Locally, we’re helping to conserve monarch butterflies by planting milkweed, the American woodcock by maintaining nesting grounds, and native landscape by removing invasive species — these among many other conservation efforts. And together we’re providing education to families as exhibitors at community events throughout the year. We enjoy your fellowship through all these activities, at monthly educational program and chapter meetings, on bird walks and field trips, and at bird counts. Thank you.

While we’ve had a busy year thus far, we have much more in store for this summer, including our August 11 chapter meeting, where members will show and tell about an array of experiences and adventures. Always entertaining! Bring a potluck dish to share and have a slice of cake in celebration of Wake Audubon’s 40th anniversary, with a preview to our August swift celebration!

While on our web site, see our calendar for summer and fall activities. Read recent blog posts. Visit our Flickr photostream. At the top right of any web page, find us on Facebook, and join our Wake Audubon Meetup group.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Rick LaRose

President, Wake Audubon

Chimney Swift roosting tower at Prairie Ridge Ecostation.

Chimney Swift roosting tower at Prairie Ridge Ecostation.

Milkweed planting crew from Wake Audubon. Planting was on May 17, 2015

Milkweed planting crew from Wake Audubon. Planting at Harris Lake was on May 17, 2015

Worksite team photo

Wake Audubon and NC State Volunteers

Outreach at Songbird Celebration at Blue Jay Point County Park.

Outreach at Songbird Celebration at Blue Jay Point County Park.


Donations from Birdfeeder Cleaning Project

i Dec 12th No Comments by

By Gerry Luginbuhl, Board President

Thanks to all of the folks who donated money to have their bird feeders cleaned this November. Judy, at Logan’s Nursery, contacted me a few months ago to suggest a fundraising idea. She offered to collect people’s birdfeeders during the month of November and keep track of the feeders to make sure everyone got the right feeder back after it had been cleaned. We decided on a suggested donation of five dollars per feeder, and worked out a biweekly pick-up schedule. We put a notice about the cleaning on our web site and Logan’s also sent out a notice in their monthly email. We ended up with 40 feeders (and many baffles). Judy collected the donations as they came in and handed me an envelope full of checks on December 2nd. At five dollars/feeder, that would have brought Wake Audubon two hundred dollars, but, due to the generosity of many, we collected three hundred and forty-five dollars! Way to go! Look for us to repeat this fundraiser next year, probably in October rather than November. We will be looking for some volunteers to help me next time; I have learned how to disassemble and reassemble a bunch of different types of birdfeeders and am happy to do this again next year.

If you missed this year’s feeder cleaning, here is how to do it yourself.
Rinse off loose dirt and seed
Soak feeder in mild detergent solution and scrub inside and out with appropriate sized brush
Sanitize by soaking feeder in a mild bleach solution (one part bleach to 9 parts water)
Allow the feeder to dry completely before refilling it with seed.

John Connors and Mark Johns Receive Awards at the Audubon North Carolina Annual Meeting

i Jun 10th No Comments by

Wake Audubon has awesome members; we know that. It is great to see them recognized at the state level for the wonderful work that they do.

John Connors received the Audubon NC Bird Lore Conservation Education Award

John recently retired from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences where he was a tireless advocate for environmental education (especially birds), for decades. In his role as the Coordinator of the Naturalist Center, John had the opportunity to conduct literally thousands of programs for probably tens of thousands of children and visitor’s over his career. He is perhaps most famous for his interpretation of the annual Ground Hog day ritual where we get to see John in coat and top hat making his predictions.  He has also been very active and engaged with Wake Audubon for years including his current passion of the Chimney Swift tower project.  He has helped Audubon North Carolina get our work in Nicaragua established through his work with Finca Esperanza Verde and the Sister Cities program. He continues to work for birds including helping with our Bird Friendly Communities (BFC) Implementation team. In fact he had only been officially retired a few days when he attended his first BFC meeting and jumped right in.  This award was presented for John’s lifetime of bird education activities and for the years of programs to come.

Mark Johns received the Audubon NC Honorary Warden Award

Mark Johns has spent his career working with wildlife, birds, and habitat management. As North Carolina’s Partners in Flight Coordinator, Mark deftly worked to coordinate the various partners that make up the collaborative, including academic researchers, non-profits, and agency representatives. Mark left that position to go to the Town of Cary and serve as a program specialist at the Stevens Nature Center at Hemlock Bluffs. Mark’s easy-going manner, organizational skills, and sense of humor moved bird conservation forward in North Carolina by leaps and bounds. His work included helping establish the North Carolina Birding Trail, working for on-the-ground partnerships that included agreements with private industrial forest owners, helping with the Forest Land Bird Legacy Program and many other projects. He left those pursuits to go back to what he loved and that is working at a local park, doing habitat management work and working with kids.  Mark exemplifies the commitment to stewardship that makes him an ideal Honorary Warden.

Volunteer with Wake Audubon!

i Jan 9th No Comments by

24-hour Grand Opening of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Nature Research Center

Volunteers are needed to staff the Wake Audubon Society booth for the opening of the Nature Research Center, which is being held on April 20-21. The booth will focus on the chimney swift fundraising/education efforts. This booth will have both educational elements (faux chimney that opens up to show you a swift at a nest) as well as a fun game or two (chimney swift bean bag toss into a chimney, like the corn-hole game everyone is playing these days). We will have prizes, an educational activity packet designed by Annie Runyan for sale, etc. WAS will have a booth on Saturday, April 21 from 8 am-6 pm. The Museum expects 100,000 visitors at the NRC opening.

Prior to the event, WAS needs help on this event committee.

If you would like to help with the event and/or serve on the event committee, please contact Anita Kuehne at [email protected]

The new 80,000 square-foot wing of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences will connect people to research by bringing scientists and their work into the public eye, helping demystify what can be an intimidating field of study, better prepare science educators and students, and inspire a new generation of young scientists.
The mission of the NRC is “Connecting People to Research.”

What the heck is Meetup?

i Oct 27th No Comments by

By Justine Homiak, Wake Audubon Board member

According to meetup.com, “Meetup is the world’s largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 2,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities. [It is] Meetup’s mission to revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize. Meetup believes that people can change their personal world, or the whole world, by organizing themselves into groups that are powerful enough to make a difference.” More information can be found at http://www.meetup.com/about/ The Meetup component of Wake Audubon is approaching its third year in existence. Meetup is an easy way to see what Wake Audubon Society and its members are up to, and to RSVP for upcoming events. Examples of events listed on the site are the monthly meetings, field trips, bird walks, festivals and volunteer opportunities. There are currently 145 people taking advantage of this user-friendly technology through our site.

Meetup membership is free. Likewise, membership in Wake Audubon is not required to take part in the Meetup component of our organization or to attend events, but we encourage membership at just $20 per year. The Meetup site allows you to view events in a calendar-style format. You can view past and future events, upload and or view photos, get to know fellow nature-lovers, RSVP with the click of the mouse, and more!

The good news is that if you are lucky enough to be reading this blog, then you can join Wake Audubon on Meetup.com! The only thing needed to get started is an internet connection, an e-mail address, and about 15 minutes or so to create a user profile. While it is not required that you use your real name or that you include a photo, we encourage this so that we can recognize you at events.

The best way to become familiar with the site is to play around…this is a browse free zone!  Fear not…you will never be charged for anything on this site.  Whether or not you choose to create a profile (enabling you to RSVP, etc.), Wake Audubon’s meetup site is public, so feel free to take a peek at http://www.meetup.com/Wake-Audubon-Meetup/

Membership Survey Deadline Soon!!

i Aug 19th No Comments by

We want to know what you think about everything WAS does!  Please take our online survey.  Its very easy, and you can find it right here.    The survey will be available until Sept 5.

Membership Survey Deadline SOON!

i Jul 10th No Comments by

We want to know what you think about everything WAS does!  Please take our online survey.  Its very easy, and you can find it right here.    The survey will be available until Sept 5.