Chip Notes: March-April, 2015
By Greg Burnes, MRVAC President
Can you hear it? Can you smell it? Yes, it’s the sounds and smells of early spring in Minnesota. I am so excited to inhale the smell of pine needles warming in the sun and hear a more complex symphony of birds. Hope you can get outside and enjoy!
Below is an update on what the MRVAC board is focused on and of course your input is encouraged:
Grant Money: This is the time of year when we consider opportunities to invest our fundraising dollars in support of MRVAC’s mission. We normally receive 5 – 10 requests that support youth outdoor education, research, and efforts to influence lawmakers to keep Minnesota environmental laws/efforts strong. We consider both the short and long term impact these programs and attempt to invest your money wisely.
If you have an organization or project that you think align with our mission and that we should consider investing in (either money or volunteer hours), please drop me a note. We have a simple application process and we will give your idea full consideration. We will provide a list of grants we approve in the Trumpeter and outline our decisions during the May refuge meeting.
Youth Birding Festival: The board discussed this idea and decided that this year we should focus on creating and/or supporting one or more teams of youth (under 15 and 16-18) birders to attend established youth birding festivals in Minnesota. We feel this will be a good way for us to begin building a relationship with young birders. Then, we plan on working with these interested youth to decide and possibly plan our own youth birding festival in 2016. A few of you have expressed an interest in assisting with this project, but we need more volunteers. Please drop me a note if you would like to help.
Bloomington River Valley Trails: Nothing much to report here. At the time this article is going to press, we are waiting to hear about a series of public forums that will provide all of us an update. Members of our board have met with members of the Bloomington, DNR, and Fish & Wildlife teams that will have a strong influence on the project and will continue to be active in tracking progress. If you have thoughts on this process or would like to be more involved send me an email.
Successful Membership Building and Fundraising: We heard from a number of members with some great ideas on how to improve our current fundraising efforts and new activities we should consider. We are currently considering all of these ideas and will report back to you in the next issue of the Trumpeter.
However, one of the key challenges we have is getting more volunteers to help with any expansion of our membership and fundraising efforts. In the next issue of the Trumpeter we will list the volunteer opportunities that exist so you will know specifically what we could use help with.
Better Connections: We heard from many of you that you like the Trumpeter and the web site. Thanks to all the volunteers that keep these running. However, we did hear that we need to keep you better informed as to what the MRVAC Board is working on and provide better outreach materials. We will be posting the MRVAC board meeting minutes to the web site on a timely basis and in each Trumpeter, this column will attempt to convey what we are working on.
We are currently working on a brochure and other materials that we can use to educate, and garner memberships from folks we come in contact with at meetings and festivals. We are also considering ways to better leverage social media sites like Facebook, Meetup, etc. If you have an interest (or you have a talented young person in your household or family looking for a volunteer opportunity) in helping us with a social media communication strategy, we could really use your help.
Thank you all for your continued support, whether it is through dollars or time. We continue to wish you health and happiness in 2015. See you out there!
Join Birdathon 2015: May 1-16
Help raise money for MRVAC’s educational programs for kids, and have fun watching birds this spring! Follow the link to find out how to sign up. Learn more.
Cerulean warblers earn global recognition
Ceruleans are one of the rarest nesting warblers in the United States. They spend the better part of their year (7 months) in the tropical rain forests in deep mountainous canyons in Venezuela, Peru and Boliva, and each year they make the long distant flight to return to these nesting areas in the Driftless Region of the Upper Midwest. The National Audubon Society has recently named an Important Bird Area (IBA) in northeastern Iowa to learn more about the warbler’s nesting habits. Learn more.
Minnesota’s New Important Bird Areas
The Important Bird Area program is designed to identify, monitor and conserve the most essential habitats for birds. Audubon focuses its education, advocacy, conservation and stewardship efforts in these areas.
Three new Important Bird Areas have been added in Minnesota, bringing the grand total to 57. Read more.
Book + App Reviews from Anne Hanley
Change the Glass Now!
New Vikings stadium deadly for migrating birds
The Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis has partnered with award-winning filmmaker and producer Jim Gambone in the making of this short and informative film. The clear glass called for in the stadium design will be deadly for migrating birds. But it’s not too late to change the design and incorporate bird-friendly glass.
Take action! Make a phone call and tell our leaders to “Change the Glass Now!”
- Michele Kelm-Helgen, Chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority: 612-335-3319
- Governor Mark Dayton: 651-201-3400
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 the September or October meeting, please call Jan at 952-858-8604.
Fire codes affect seating in Refuge Visitor Center auditorium
At upcoming MRVAC meetings (the 4th Thursday of the month, during the school year) you may be asked to fill up empty seats or move in towards the center to allow others to sit down in the auditorium. We cannot bring in extra chairs and sit in the back when the room starts to get crowded, due to fire regulations.
Please help us comply with the rules and allow us to continue meeting at the Visitor Center by switching seats if necessary and by not carrying chairs into the auditorium. Thanks.