December 2001

The Goldfinch

The newsletter for the Daviess County Audubon Society

Meetings Sept. - June each second Monday at 7 PM

at First Christian Church

7th Street & J. R. Miller Boulevard

Managing a Wildlife Refuge

Rick Huffines, Clarks River Refuge Manager will be our speaker on Monday December 10.  The Clarks River Refuge is located in Benton, KY.  In times when urban sprawl and agribusiness are eating up natural areas, wildlife refuges take on the greatest value to the quality of life that we value highly.  Rick will share with us the challenges of his job as well as the rewards that make it worthwhile.

Meet the speaker at the Moonlite at 6 PM.  This is a no-host dinner where we make a one-on-one acquaintance with our out-of-town speakers and show them a bit of Owensboro's hospitality as they munch on mutton.

Christmas Bird Counts are December's Field Trips

Bring a friend.  Invite a child or grandchild to experience a bird census for the first time.  Our goal is 15 volunteers at each count with at least one person who has never taken part before.

December 16  Knottsville Fire Station  8 AM  Potluck lunch.

December 29  Joe Ford Nature Center  8 AM  Lunch provided.

Dedication Ceremony Honors Bert and Mille Powell

Bert and Millie Powell

The day dawned clear and warm the last Sunday in November.  Lisa Leonard, the Site Manager whom we call the Camp Ranger at Pennyroyal Girl Scout Camp, decided to build a fire in the shelter's fireplace to provide atmosphere as much as anything else before people began arriving for The Opening of the Doors to The Windows on the World at the Powell Bird Viewing Blind.

Turnout was good because a lot of people wanted to share in a time of saying thanks to the Powells and to all the donors of funding, materials, and labor who have brought the bird viewing blind near to completion.  Joy Fitzgerald opened the event with a sing-along of folk songs plus words of appreciation to the Powells for happy memories of outings she remembers sharing with them.  

Sister Larraine Lauter asked the crowd to sit in silent meditation for about two minutes before she expressed thanks to God for the out-of-doors and the wonders of nature.  A Blue jay and a Red-tailed hawk provided the background sounds that are so dear to us.

President Mike Henshaw took everyone back to the beginnings of the effort to build a bird viewing blind in the mid '90's up through the present.  He recognized those who have been leaders in making the bird blind a reality.

Joe Ford gave the dedication address with a journey back to his first meeting with Bert Powell.  Joe recognized Millie for the steadfast support she has given and said what we all know, that without her, Bert could not have helped so many people foster an enjoyment of birds.  Before the address ended, some of the humor of birding was demonstrated as Bert did his imitation of the American Woodcock's peent.

There were ooh's and aah's as Bert and Millie pulled the cords that opened the doors.  Most of the people seeing the building for the first time expressed surprise at its size.  The interior of the trapezoid building will accommodate up to 20 people although smaller groups make a more enjoyable observing environment.

Fox Television, Channel 44, sent a cameraman to film the ceremony for the late night news.  Over fruit punch and raspberry sugar cookies, attendees congratulated each other for their accomplishment and they showered Bert and Millie with expressions of respect and gratitude for their years of service to the community through the Audubon Society.

It is hoped that the bird blind will host hundreds of people each year.  Already, even with the blind not totally completed, about 200 students from grades 2 through 12 have come to watch the birds.  (Work will resume in January)

Osama's Fallout Hits Our Backyard

One of the first realizations by environmentalists after September 11, 2001 was that programs of great importance to caring for our world would be put on hold and perhaps set back for years.  An old adage comes to mind: Its hard to concentrate on draining the swamp when you're up to your armpits in alligators.

The visual image of such a crisis might be appropriate as our government leaders feel compelled to concentrate on terrorism.

And then before those of us who make up the portion of the public that speaks out for the needs of this much abused planet can get back to our writing desks and keyboards, Anthrax terrorism takes center stage.

Dare I make the suggestion that it is time for us again to let our leaders know that we are still out here and that we still care about the Everglades, our National Wildlife Refuges, and the plight of the world's oceans for example?  Robert Redford has expressed his opinion that rather than being unpatriotic to bring up such environmentally important matters at a time like this, it is instead the most patriotic thing a person can do.

In January 2001, the Audubon Society posted 8 high priority issues on its Web Site.  Let's look at those now, after the worst terrorist attack on civilians in history, to see if they still are deemed worth space in our consciousness:

  1. The National Environmental Education act authored in 1990 needs to be reauthored.

  2. Protection of the arctic Wildlife Refuge from oil exploration is till an issue.

  3. The Everglades restoration needs funding approval from Congress every year.

  4. Funding for Neotropical Migratory Bird and Conservation needs to be funded every year.

  5. The Land Conservation Preservation & Infrastructure Act has $12 Billion that needs an amount set for this year.

  6. Our National Wildlife Refuges are in desperate need of the funds for long overdue upkeep.

  7. International Family Planning is the only way to deal with a larger population than the planet can support.

  8. Agricultural Programs that benefit needed wetlands and wildlife habitat need attention.

Added to the international terrorism crisis is the fact that Americans are busy, busy, busy.  There is a way to keep a finger on the pulse of environmental action and, lately, lack thereof.  Go to (there's a link through our web site), click on 'Conservation & Action' then click 'Join our Efforts' and you can email your thoughts and feelings to Washington.  It is quick.  It is easy.  There is nothing that says you can only 'talk' to our representatives once every year or three.

Audubon began by speaking out for birds being killed for hat decorations.  Isn't it time to tell Osama, "We're still here!"?

The Board of Directors Announces a Tee Shirt Contest

As volunteers from our chapter go out into the community on field trips, educational events, and public relations forays, there has arisen the realization that we need a 'uniform', if you will.  The objective of dressing alike is to have an appearance that is distinctive in a crowd and to promote both recognition of who we are and what we do.

It is hoped that greater public awareness of The Audubon Society around the region will be an enticement for new member.

The Directors would like to ask you members to put your ideas into the design of shirts that would accomplish the goals they have in mind.  Although the shirt style is being called Tee Shirt, there is not really a limitation of style.  Your design may, or may not, have a logo.  You should include your preferred colors with your entry.

The prize is a shirt.  Your ideas should be submitted to any director by January 28.

November Field Trip Report

"The weather is too good for there to be many shorebirds here today.", Eric Williams observed as he stood before 14 people at Higginson-Henry Wildlife Management Area on a splendid sunny autumn morning.  Just 2 days earlier the ponds were covered with waterfowl.Higginson-Henry WMA Field Trip

The 'Up' side of the fall glory was that it made for pleasant hiking, observation of about 30 bird species plus deer and coyote, and a leisurely study of the work being done for the enjoyment of wildlife at the Management Areas.

It made everyone proud to read a posted tribute to the late Lee Nelson, a longtime member of our club, whose Department of Fish and Wildlife career is his proud legacy.


From the Desk of the Prez

Happy Holidays to all!

This month and next, I thought I would spend your time by updating you on several projects with Department of Fish and Wildlife involvement.  In case you do not know, I am the Wildlife Regional Coordinator for the Green River Region, which is one the five regions the wildlife division has across the state.  Here in this region the Department in joint partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has established what we call the Big Barrens Project.

The Big Barrens Project is a focus project dealing with private landowners in Meade, Hardin, Grayson, Hart and parts of Breckinridge and Larue counties.  TNC has cost-shared for a position with the Department where on of the Private Lands Biologists is in charge on this project.  The focus is to develop and enhance remnant prairies in the area.  This the part of Kentucky that had prairies at the time of European settlement.  Also this person will work with landowners in establishing prairies by planting seed and/or using prescribed burning to "release" seed that is in the soil.  Included with this project is the opportunity for landowners to obtain permanent easements for conservation of their properties.  These are permanent deeded easements that will protect the land from future development.  Another part of the project will be working on cedar glades, rock outcroppings and other unique plant communities that are in this region.

Another joint project with the Department and TNC is the Bluegrass Army Depot/Muddy Creek Project in Madison County.  Here, as in the Big Barrens, the emphasis will be on developing native prairies and savannas in the project area.

Next month I will continue this topic by discussing the long-term objectives of joint projects such as these.

Mike Henshaw

November's Field Trip began with study of native grasses under cultivation.

The Cave Man was Truly...

Awesome, the most overused word after the pause-phrase, "You know".  Whether the word is overused or not, it is an apt description of the grandeur, magnitude, and beauty that Chris Anderson showed us from places deep under Kentucky and Tennessee earth.  Few people have seen what Chris has been able to capture on film by perfecting the lighting and by having the stamina and imagination to go for it and bring it out to us who dare not go there.  In fact, very few cavers have seen what Chris projected for our viewing because the lighting they take into caves can only illuminate small shadowy areas.

And the other thing you missed if you skipped the November meeting was Mary Kissel's pumpkin pie cake.  Thanks for the refreshments, Mary.

Shop without Getting Malled

During the past year, our chapter has been treated very kindly by some businesses that would really like to have you visit their shops during the next few weeks.  Reeds, Ribbons and Silks located in The Thatch at 18th and Sweeney has baskets, coffees, cards and more.  The gift shop at Mt. St. Joseph has handmade needlework, birdhouses, and wind chimes.  Memco Opticals in Dawson Springs would love to sell you a new pair of binoculars or a spotting scope.  Gary's Fleur de Lis has beautiful vases, arrangements and fragrances.  Simply Natural in Williamsburg Square has marvelous teas, coffees, and healthy living products.

Gift memberships to Audubon are an easy and thoughtful gift.  You also might wish to sponsor a class with Audubon Adventures.  The cost is $40.  30 kids can learn about birds, snakes, the environment, and invertebrates with four issues of a newspaper written just for kids.  Contact Carolyn Williams to give a gift to future Audubon members.

Can't take the crowds?  Say thanks by shopping placid.

Officers and Directors for 2000-2001  President Mike Henshaw (270) 275-4250 Vice-President & Program Chairman Rob Rold (270) 684-3209 Secretary Madeline Oetinger (270) 683-7681 Treasurer Rose Ann Radzelovage (270) 683-5972 Membership Chair Pat Connell (270) 684-5326 Education Chairs Madeline Oetinger (270) 683-7681 & Carolyn Williams 683-5863 Field Trips Chair Rob Rold (270) 684-3209 Conservation Chair Scott Holder (270) 684-1582 Newsletter Editor Brenda Little (270) 298-4237 Webmaster Eric Williams Publicity Chair Bill Little (270) 298-4237 Hospitality Chair Ova Hookey (270) 683-6364 Directors: Pat Connell, Carolyn Williams, Charles Morris, John Thacker  Lifetime Honorary Directors: Elinor Wilson, Joe Ford, A.L. "Bert" Powell, and Mildred "Millie" Powell.

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