Red Tails May/June 2023
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Spotlight on Angela Davis, Nature Photographer
This issue’s photographer has lived in the Columbia Basin since 1991. Angela has two sons who grew up in the Basin, but now live on the west side, and one granddaughter. After 20+ years as a bookkeeper, she changed careers and now teaches Math and CTE at Desert Oasis High School in Othello. Angela describes herself as a “photography enthusiast,” just wanting to share the beauty around her, and has really only been serious about photography for about two years. She feels fortunate to live in such a beautiful area and takes the “long way home” through the refuge most days. Additionally, she loves to travel, play the piano and spend time with close friends and family. Thank you Angela for sharing your creative photography with us on Facebook and in this issue of Red Tails!
From the Desk of the President
by Gayle Talbot
Central Basin Audubon Chapter’s most active season has arrived! May is filled with ARK classroom presentations and field trips for elementary students and Margaret Schiffner has another speaking engagement promoting CBAS to Kiwanis this time. But there is so much more for CBAS!
The CBAS Facebook page is popping with amazing bird photography, and we are featuring one of those photographers in this issue, Angela Davis. Angela is an avid nature photographer, and we appreciate her
willingness to not only share her beautiful work with us, but also become a new member of CBAS!
Twila Herrin’s article on the Icicle Grant explains the ARK program in detail and how this grant enabled us to get new equipment for the students to use in the field studies this year! Thank you Twila for all of your work researching and procuring this grant and purchasing these new items! The students will surely feel like scientists/birders now!
Our Field Trip Coordinator, Margaret Heming, is back home from Yuma, AZ and has continued Bird Walks for everyone interested, Birders and Nature Lovers welcomed! See her informative article in this issue! Last fall on the first Bird Walk, Margaret asked us to name our favorite bird; mine was the Great Egret.
I’ve learned a bit more about this favorite bird of mine. The Audubon California website says, “There was a time when this bird was almost wiped out by people collecting feathers for hats. It took a major effort by a fledgling conservation group dedicated to the protection of birds to
get the first laws passed against this practice. The action was so successful that the organization, now well over 100 years old, uses the bird in its logo. That organization is the National Audubon Society. And the bird is the Great Egret. We hope you enjoy this issue!
ARK Training Day
by Gayle Talbot
CBAS offered an Audubon Refuge Keepers (ARK) Training Day on March 21, with lunch provided. We had a good turnout; even with a few people missing, we still had eight people in attendance! Margaret Schiffner was the sole trainer, but Jane Stiger brought all the Presentation Table items in several giant tubs ahead of the training. Thank you so much, Jane!
Margaret began with a history of our ARK program, which began with one school 41 years ago and grew over the years; and our largest program was in 2019 with nine schools signed up. Post-Covid, we are rebuilding this program and have four schools this year: Longview elementary in Moses Lake (May 1 - 3), Connell Elementary (May 9 - 11), Lakeview Terrace in Moses Lake (May 15 - 17), and Hiawatha Elementary in Othello (May 23 - 25).
Next, we were each given an updated background information binder. We also got to check out the new binoculars, purchased with the Icicle grant, (thanks to Twila Herrin). The binocular field study at Soda Lake is a favorite of many students.
After lunch, we were given the opportunity to actually see the ARK classroom program’s three Presentation Tables set up with the taxidermied birds, nests, and many other wildlife artifacts; such as wings from a great horned owl, red-winged black bird, and a great blue heron, and skulls from a beaver and a heron. These items on the birds, nests,
and “touch” tables even delighted us as volunteers! This classroom presentation is an integral part of the ARK program for elementary students, before the trips out to the refuge.
Besides the sign-ups to help with the ARK program, a couple of “swag” items were given out: official-looking US Fish and Game Volunteer vests and hats, to identify the Audubon volunteers from the other adults on the field trips. Thank you to everyone in attendance: Twila Herrin, Judy Rogers, Karen Schafer, Jill Ford, Marilyn Molitor, Gayle Talbot, and Gary
Ham. And a Huge THANK YOU to Margaret Schiffner for orgainizing this
event in her lovely home, creating binders for everyone, explaining and answering questions about ARK, and for the luncheon.
After a final on-site training walk-through of the three field studies at
Soda Lake on April 26th, our ARK Volunteers are more than ready and
eager for the May ARK program! Other volunteers include: Louis Logan, Steve and Jane Stiger, Jackie Chase, Margaret Heming and Lisa Hansen. Thank you all!
"Icicle Fund Community Grant" for ARK
by Twila Herrin
2022 was an exceptional year for the Central Basin Audubon Society (CBAS). Funding for both our scholarship and ARK (Audubon Refuge Keepers) educational programs came from different charities and trust funds.
The most surprising was a grant program that Trudy Dolittle brought to our chapter’s attention: Icicle Fund Community Grant. Icicle Fund Community Grant was contacted and they connected us with a grant writer in Quincy. Lottie Parker Consulting wrote the grant with pertinent
information about our chapter, and this work took about six weeks, with lots of questions and searching through records. These questions could not have been answered without our historian/archivist, Margaret Schiffner.
The grant was specifically aimed to the ARK educational program for
3rd-4th grade students and would be for $10,000, dispersed over two years. The grant needed to be completed by December of 2021 with chosen recipients to be awarded in March 2022.
Yes! March was slow in coming and YES! we were awarded not $10,000 but $12,000!! The Icicle Fund Community Grant has provided the funds to purchase new binoculars (our old binoculars were stolen), and new
microscopes to replace our outdated ones. The grant will also cover the costs of hiring drivers and buses for schools not able to cover transportation costs.
The ARK program promotes the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge (CNWR) by visiting the schools in the area. We cover Grant County and parts of Adams and Franklin counties.
The program starts by going into the schools sharing a slide presentation and three tables with examples of different local habitats and wildlife. The second part is touring the CNWR. The tour takes about two to three hours. As we drive into the refuge, it can be slow going; this is due to frequent stops for wildlife. The destination is Soda Lake, where we stop and students and volunteers are unloaded. This is where ARK volunteers teach the students to use the binoculars and microscopes plus guide them on a walk to explore the habitat’s plant life.
This program at CNWR began at the request of a teacher in Othello
in 1982. Then the program grew much larger with Jane Grant, a CBAS
member, and she requested our chapter’s help. In 2004, Central Basin Audubon Society joined with Jane Grant and has been committed since.
The ARK program is the heart of our CBAS purpose: to encourage public
appreciation of the values of wildlife and natural habitats through education, conservation and recreation, and to stimulate action for their protection.
Thank You So Much!
Central Basin Audubon Chapter deeply appreciates all the support!
Thank you to the following for renewing their CBAS membership:
Robert Kent; Bishop Spray Service; JackieRobert Kent; Bishop Spray Service; Jackie Chase; Sandhill Crane Festival;Chase; Sandhill Crane Festival; Robert and Marilyn Fakler; Jane Grant;Robert and Marilyn Fakler; Jane Grant; Barbara Guilland; Gayle Talbot.Barbara Guilland; Gayle Talbot.
We also wish to welcome the following as new members:
Justin and Naomi Hanvey; Daniel andJustin and Naomi Hanvey; Daniel and Johanna Talbot; Jess and Terry Kassahn
Sandhill Crane Festival Report
by Margaret Schiffner
On March 25th, CBAS members Jane Stiger, Judy Rogers and Margaret
Schiffner, attended the 25th annual, “Silver Anniversary,” Sandhill Crane
Festival in Othello, WA. The purpose of CBAS attending was to provide
educational information to the visitors, both adults and children. We want to encourage them to start a backyard habitat to help save our nation’s wild birds, as they are losing thousands of acres of natural habitat every year.
Starting a backyard habitat is as simple as using a clean, empty tuna fish can, two pieces of wire and a big paper clip used to hang it from a tree for a bird feeder. These kits were given out from our Audubon booth; the recipient just needed to assemble and fill the can with seed. Kits with these items have been assembled by CBAS members for many years as a way to help encourage people to save the birds.
Many thanks to CBAS member John Moody, for donating many nice items for our Door Prize Basket! With the basket items, one could start a backyard habitat or become a bird watcher. Besides a beautiful birdhouse, there was a lovely pair of Sandhill Crane earrings. The winner of the door prize was Melissa Mitchell of Othello. She was thrilled! Melissa was a vendor, right next to our CBAS booth, with a display of her art work of local birds. The three CBAS ladies had a great day visiting
with the people attending the Festival and other vendors.
by Margaret Heming
•Promote the welfare of birds and their environment.
•Support the protection of important bird habitat.
•To avoid stressing birds or exposing them to danger, exercise restraint and caution during observation, photography, sound recording, or filming.
•Keep well back from nests and nesting colonies, and roosts. Stay on roads, trails, and paths where they exist; otherwise keep habitat disturbance to a minimum.
•Respect the law, and the rights of others.
•Do not enter private property without the owner’s explicit permission.
•Follow all laws, rules, and regulations governing use of roads and public areas, both at home and abroad.
•Practice common courtesy in contacts with other people. Your exemplary behavior will generate goodwill with birders and non-birders alike.
Adapted from the American Birding Association’s Principles of Birding
Columbia Basin Audubon Society BIRD WALKS
by Margaret Heming
•All are welcome on our free walks, from beginner birders to advanced birders! You need not be a member of CBAS.
•No dogs allowed.
•Bring your binoculars, a snack, water, Discover Pass, and any other passes you have.
•Wear comfortable and sturdy walking shoes, Though we may only walk a mile or two, as we will be listening for and observing birds.
•At a future date, we may have binoculars available to borrow during our bird walks.
•Information about meeting time/place will be posted to the Facebook page.
•Default meet time is 8 am.
•No pre-registration necessary. You may text/call Margaret Heming with questions or concerns. 509-475-3143