Chip Notes: January-February, 2016
By Greg Burnes, MRVAC President
Happy New Year everyone.
There is no doubt that we live in a state with some of the most beautiful and diverse natural settings in the world. As birders, this gives us the opportunity to experience a wide variety of habitat and the birds they support. However, this variety of habitat and the size of our state presents a real challenge to mounting sustained and successful conservation efforts.
One of the key missions of Audubon is the passionate conservation of the habitat that supports birds. And as you know, Audubon is not alone in its mission to preserve these habitats, even if other organizations have differing missions. So, in the coming year we will be collaborating with some of these organizations in order to ensure our voice is heard and we can successfully impact the conservation “conversation” in Minnesota.
Of course we will continue to work with National Audubon and a revitalized Audubon MN, but we will also be looking for ways to be involved with the work of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) and the Minnesota Izaak Walton League (IWL).
Both MEP and the IWL have robust political action organizations. MRVAC has been a long-term member of MEP and has signed on to a number of their communications and press releases. The IWL works closely with the MEP and has additional experts and lobbyists that are working tirelessly at the capitol and with other groups to push a comprehensive conservation agenda.
National Audubon has just released their annual report for 2015. For those of you who are members of National you should have received a copy and I would highly recommend you review it. At the state level we will be working with Audubon Minnesota and other MN Audubon Chapters to breathe life into the strategic framework on page 10. Specifically, the MN Chapter Leaders would like to focus on building local action plans around these key areas:
- Saving Important Bird Areas
- Shaping a Healthy Climate and Clean Energy
- Creating Bird-Friendly Communities
In the future we will be looking for ways our membership can be more involved in making our voices heard. We will start by posting relevant action alerts to our Facebook page and bringing key issues to our refuge meetings for discussion and action. I hope you take a few minutes to “like” the MRVAC Facebook page and review these alerts and take personal action. Your voice is important!
“The world is not given by our parents, but borrowed from our children.” Wendell Berry
I want to again ask for everyone who can get the Trumpeter digitally (on MRVAC.org) to email me (email@example.com) with your name and mailing address so we can remove you from the hardcopy mailing list and add you to the email notification. This will NOT impact your National Audubon magazine!!
Last month I heard from a number of folks but would like to continue to push to lower our Trumpeter mailing costs by 50% in 2016. The money spent on distributing hard copy Trumpeters (over $3,500 annually) can be put to better use and we will save 50,000 sheets of paper from having to be recycled or going to the landfills.
Thanks to everyone for your support of MRVAC. We are all looking forward to a great 2016 and to the upcoming 50th anniversary of MRVAC.
Call for Trumpeter Award nominations!
Each spring for 13 of the past 15 years, MRVAC has presented the Trumpeter Award to one of its members for outstanding long-term contributions to MRVAC. We are soliciting nominations from you; tell us of who you think should be our next recipient. Learn more here.
Successful end-of-year fundraising events
Between Give to the Max Day and our annual Holiday Auction, MRVAC raised $3,785 to help support environmental education for children. Read more.
MRVAC members needed for Climate Watch, a new citizen science program
MRVAC will be a key part of the collaborative team that develops materials and resources for a new national citizen science program created by Audubon.
We need to volunteers to survey bluebird habitat for a few hours during the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, Jan. 15-18, 2016. Learn more.
Old Cedar Avenue Trailhead updates
The Old Cedar Avenue trailhead and parking lot have reopened, but work will continue through the winter with intermittent closures.
MRVAC & Audubon support lead shot ban in Minnesota
In October 2015, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources proposed a rule to require hunters to use only nontoxic shot on wildlife management areas (WMAs) within the farmland zone beginning in 2018.
Audubon has worked for decades with a wide range of conservationists, including hunters and wildlife advocates, to ensure the health of birds and ecosystems. We have a vested interest in healthy hunting. Audubon supports the proposed DNR rule change because lead is poison and as conservationists, we should all be working to remove lead from the environment.
- Lead is toxic to both birds and people
- Millions of birds are poisoned every year by lead shot
- The establishment of nontoxic shot zones has been shown, by scientific research, to radically reduce the number of bird deaths from lead poisoning
MRVAC Grant Requests
We’ll be reviewing grant requests in early 2016. If you know of an organization that fits the mission of MRVAC, read more here.
Join the Environmental Action Committee
Help MRVAC make a difference for birds and wildlife – and the special places we like to visit. Learn more.
Treats needed for upcoming meetings
We always need treats! If you can bring a few dozen cookies, bars or some easy- to-eat snack to share at one of our meetings, please call Robin, the Social Chair, at 612-723-2633 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.