Chip Notes: July-August, 2015
By Greg Burnes, MRVAC President
I hope everyone is enjoying the long, warm days of summer. Last fall I mentioned that MRVAC was going to focus on three areas in 2014-15. Let’s see how we did:
Support outdoor education for youth: We continued to support the Blue Goose fund that provides busing for inner-city youth to the great educational programs provided by the refuge. We donated binoculars to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in support of their extensive youth educational programs. A number of local teachers have taken advantage of the Audubon Adventure materials in their classrooms. We funded a youth birding team and have assisted with scholarship money for the youth camps at Audubon Center of the Northwoods.
This coming year I would like to see MRVAC continue to support these great programs and look for additional avenues to engage youth in the outdoors. I will be attending the National Audubon meeting in July where there will be sessions on this topic. I will share what I learn in the next issue of the Trumpeter and if any of you have ideas, please drop me a note.
Provide learning experiences for all: We continued to provide extensive opportunities for our members and general public to experience birding with some of the best guides available. Hopefully you’ve taken advantage of these outings and like me, saw, heard, and learned something new. Also, Steve Weston has done a great job lining up exciting speakers for our refuge meetings and we continue to get big crowds for these events.
Influence Habitat Preservation and Research: We donated money to research projects and contributed to the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog purchase of over 40 acres in honor of Warren Nelson. Board members and others have attended hearings and been active in providing input into important habitat decisions being made around the metro. Thanks for all who have participated.
In 2015-16 I would like to see MRVAC be more active exploring, understanding, and making our voices heard on issues that impact the Minnesota River Valley. The habitat we love is gaining more and more attention as the next big “recreational area”, agricultural use is on the rise, and population centers are looking to expand. There are a number of other organizations that have a similar focus and I propose we join forces with some of these groups to ensure we are part of the conversation. Stay tuned.
We should all be proud of the great work we have done this past year and we all look forward to having an even bigger impact in the coming year.
Volunteer Opportunities: First I want to thank Jan Carlson and Jean Mueting for their service. Jan served as the social chair for many years and has done a great job. I am pleased to announce that Robin Kutz has volunteered to take over as the Social Chair. Please say hi and thanks to her at the many MRVAC events she will be helping with. Jean has done a great job over the last years building our outreach to youth leveraging the Audubon Adventure programs. Unfortunately she is unable to continue filling this role. Please drop me a note if you are interested in assisting with this exciting program. It brings high-quality teaching materials and curriculum to elementary school classrooms at no charge to the school.
Board Elections: Below are the results of the board elections held during our May refuge meeting. Thank you for serving!!
- President: Greg Burnes
- President Elect = [open]
- Vice President: Steve Weston
- Treasurer: Bob Williams,
- Secretary: Matthew Schaut
- Members at Large: Becky Lystig, Ken Oulman, Patti Larson, Rick Magee, Dianne Rowse
As always, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any comments, questions, or concerns
Binoculars at the Arboretum
A letter from the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum describes how much they appreciate MRVAC’s donation of 16 pairs of binoculars. Read more and see the binocs in action!
New Guide: Birds of Minnesota State Parks
Years in the making and priced at only $19.95, this new book by Bob Janssen and Carrol Henderson, published by the Minnesota DNR, features bird species found at each of Minnesota’s 75 state parks along with recommended viewing spots and a park map.
If you’d prefer to order by phone, call 651.297.3000. Phone lines are open Monday-Friday, 8 am – 4 pm Central Time..
Salt Lake Birding Weekend Wrap-Up
During the MOU Salt Lake Birding Weekend April 25-26 approximately 100 birders spread out over several western Minnesota counties for the unofficial opening of spring birding. Read more.
Warren Nelson Memorial Bog
The Friends of Sax-Zim reports that 200 donors, including MRVAC, donated a total of $32,000 in memory of Warren Nelson. This allowed the Friends to purchase 40 acres of bog land and preserve it as a sanctuary for peat land birds such as the Black-backed Woodpecker, Boreal Chickadee, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and other rare plants and animals.
Burnsville Native Plant Market Successful
By Caleb Ashling, City of Burnsville Natural Resources
The May 30, 2015 Burnsville Native Plant market went really well. We had great weather and the turnout well exceeded our expectations. We had almost 1,300 people attend and were able to get more than 7,800 native plants out in the south metro community. Because it was so successful, I’m expecting we can make this an annual event.
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.