MRVAC News

Your Help is Needed for Climate Watch, A New Citizen Science Program

By Tracy Albinson | December 30, 2015

Eastern BluebirdBy Audubon Minnesota

Audubon Climate Watch is a new citizen science program that explores how North American Birds are responding to climate change. In 2014, Audubon released the Audubon Birds and Climate Change report highlighting the risks that climate change poses to birds.

Now, you can help by observing birds and learning more about how birds are responding to climate change.

MRVAC members are needed to volunteer for a few hours during the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, Jan. 15-18, 2016. This will kick off the pilot phase of Climate Watch. MRVAC will be a key part of the collaborative team that develops materials and resources, including mapping tools, for Climate Watch and will have the opportunity to represent the Audubon chapter network in helping to create this new national program.

The pilot will focus on areas of predicted change for bluebirds and targeted area maps will be provided so volunteers can survey appropriate habitat within the grid cell. At least 10 volunteers are needed.

If you are interested in volunteering for this project, please contact Greg Burnes, gburnes@comcast.net or Ashley Peters, apeters@audubon.org for more information on how to participate.

Birds of Minnesota State Parks

By Tracy Albinson | December 30, 2015

by Bob Janssen, author & bird expert

Location: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Visitor Center

Thursday, February 25

7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies

7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Bird-of-MN-state-parksBob Janssen will talk about the 11 years of work he did inventorying birds in the Minnesota State Parks and creating the book Birds of Minnesota State Parks. Learn about the 10 best parks for birds in the state and tips for the best birding in local state parks.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail), The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.

Migrate, Hibernate or Deal With It

By Tracy Albinson | December 30, 2015

by Mark “Sparky” Stensaas, The PhotoNaturalist

Location: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Visitor Center

Thursday, January 28

7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies

7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker

SparkyStensaasWinter is a force to be reckoned with in the North. Birds, mammals, amphibians, and even insects not only survive but THRIVE in the winter woods of the boreal forest.

Our visiting winter finches are especially adapted to our harsh winters. Learn how they do it through stunning images and HD video of some rarely-seen critters in this interesting and entertaining presentation.

Sparky will also be signing his new book, Winter Finches & Friends of North America, and have the field guides he publishes for sale as well.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail), The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.

Old Cedar Parking Lot and Trailhead Have Reopened, May Experience Intermittent Closures

By Tracy Albinson | December 30, 2015

Work on the water control structure and associated levee at the head of the Bluff Trail from Old Cedar Avenue has been partially completed. This partial completion has allowed for the safe reopening of the Old Cedar Avenue parking lot as well as the trailheads from the parking lot to Hogback Ridge and Bluff Trails.

The rebuilding of the boardwalk extending onto Long Meadow Lake will begin sometime in December. To accommodate the delivery of materials and construction of the boardwalk, the Old Cedar Avenue parking lot and head of the Bluff Trail will experience intermittent closures during business hours.

Due to private property encroachment on the Bluff Trail approximately 1/2 mile west of Old Cedar Avenue, a short trail detour has been established. Please respect private property and follow the detour.

The trailhead to Hogback Ridge Trail from the Old Cedar Avenue parking lot has also been reopened as planned work has been temporarily suspended due to winter weather conditions.

Full or partial closures of the trails, trailheads and parking lot at Old Cedar Avenue are likely again in the spring and summer of 2016 as project work is completed in the area.

Holiday Auction & Give to the Max Raises Money for Educational Projects

By Tracy Albinson | December 30, 2015

By Bob Williams, MRVAC Treasurer

We had a fun and successful Holiday Auction at the Refuge Visitor Center on November 19. We raised a total of $2,000 which is about the same as last year. Thanks to spirited auctioneering by Mark Lystig and Scott Clark we raised $2000 from both member donations and items from these generous companies:

  • Abdallah Candies
  • All Seasons Wild Bird Store (Minnetonka)
  • Aveda
  • Benda Photography
  • Bloomington Arts Center, (aka Artistry)
  • Chanhassen Dinner Theater
  • Dardis Designs
  • Eagle Optics
  • Great Harvest Bread Company
  • Jensen’s Café (Burnsville)
  • Lunds/Byerly’s
  • Milio’s Sandwich Shops
  • Minneapolis Institute of Art
  • Mixed Blood Theater
  • Natasha Drexler; Wallace Method therapy
  • Nothing Bundt Cakes, Eden Prairie
  • Old Log Theater (Excelsior)
  • Refuge Friends Inc
  • St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
  • Valley Natural Foods Coop (Burnsville)

On Give to the Max Day in November, 26 donors gave $1,785 to MRVAC. This is about $500 more than we raised in last year’s Give to the Max event.

In past years we have used the money raised in November to help support programs at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, local schools and nature centers that are geared toward environmental education for young children. We plan to do the same with the money raised this year.

We thank all of the members who gave their time and/or money for these fundraisers.

Call for Trumpeter Award Nominations

By Tracy Albinson | December 30, 2015

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.

Please send in a nomination by Jan. 31. The selection committee, which is composed of the previous years’ recipients, will review the nominations and forward their choice to the Board. The award will be presented at a subsequent meeting.

There are two ways to get a nomination form:

  • Find the nomination form at www.mrvac.org/award
  • Call Becky Lystig (651-452-1133) to have a copy mailed to you.

Completed applications can be sent to Becky at markbeckylystig@comcast.net or mailed to Becky Lystig, 1741 Sartell Ave, Eagan, MN 55122.

Previous Trumpeter Award recipients

  • 2001 Karol Gresser
  • 2002 Joe White
  • 2003 Pat & Jack Telfer
  • 2004 Edith Grace Quam
  • 2005 Craig Mandel
  • 2006 John Rehbein
  • 2007 Lois Norrgard
  • 2008 Jack Mauritz
  • 2009 George Tkach
  • 2010 Bob Leis
  • 2011 Anne Hanley & George Skinner
  • 2012 Steve Weston
  • 2013 Bob Williams

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