October brings back memories of walks with my mother through the crunchy autumn leaves in the fall. We would have a great time, talking and walking through the park or neighborhood where I grew up. Times walking with her made me appreciate autumn’s beauty. Our annual fall walks gave us a chance to reconnect and reflect on our shared experiences. I feel very fortunate to have had a parent who gave me a sense of nature’s gifts at an early age.
There is a book I often purchase for first-time parents. It is The Sense of Wonder, by Rachel Carson. The current edition is published by Harper Collins and contains wonderful photographs by Nick Kelsh. Rachel Carson, of course, was a visionary whose message has not lost its meaning over five decades. In The Sense of Wonder she describes adventures with her grandnephew at the coast, in the woods, in a field of grass. She takes him for early morning or late night walks.
“Words are the bricks of our world and they have the power to change it.”
—Enock Maregesi, “East Africa: Writing for Kiswahili Language Revolution,” The Citizen (2016)
So far it’s just words, but for those who favor more protective conservation measures, the new forest management plan looks like a giant step backwards. In August, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved a new Resource Management Plan (RMP) for Western Oregon. Unfortunately, the approved plan will replace the carefully considered, science-based 1994 Northwest Forest Plan on millions of acres. It reduces streamside protective buffers by half or more, a loss of 300,000 acres of streamside reserves and a threat to the clean, cool water needed by salmon and other fish and wildlife. An increase in road construction and off-road vehicle access will further fragment and degrade habitat. Logging levels will increase by 37 percent. In the nearly half a million acres managed for timber, logging will be of the more destructive clear-cut variety.
The proposed plan includes 2.6 million acres of federally managed public forests. The recreational opportunities of this public land; the essential habitat for fish, birds and other wildlife; and the many ecosystem services such as clean water, clean air, climate change mitigation, and landslide and erosion control, should not be traded away for short-term profit. Many people in federal agencies have worked for years to find programs that balance the demand for logging with environmental values. The direction of the new proposal puts that strategy and our forests at risk.
Mornings such as this are not hard to come by at Fern Ridge, even in the slower birding months such as July, August, and early September.
Fern Ridge is the favored spot of many local birders due to its varying habitat, which provides views of common, uncommon, and rare species. Late summer walks show such varied species as Song Sparrow, Willow Flycatcher, American White Pelican, Black Tern, Bonaparte’s Gull, Virginia Rail, Cinnamon Teal, Pectoral Sandpiper, and even the occasional Rough-legged Hawk, Common Grackle, and Ruff!
The 3rd Saturday Bird Walk is very likely to be a drenching affair.
The forecast is for about an inch of rain on Saturday with high winds. I don't want us to have to drive too far, so I am thinking that if there is a window of reasonable weather in the morning that we will go to Delta Ponds off Good Pasture Island road, just north of the car dealers, to see who we see.
I will meet anyone willing to take a chance at the usual South Eugene High School parking lot at 8:00 Saturday morning.
Award-winning photographer Paul Bannick will present a new program featuring video, sound, stories from the field, and several dozen new images from his brand-new book Owl: A Year in the Lives of North American Owls. Paul uses intimate yet dramatic images to follow owls through the course of one year and in their distinct habitats.
We will witness the four seasons as each stage in an owl’s life is chronicled through rare images: courtship, mating, and nesting in spring; fledging and feeding of young in summer; dispersal and gaining independence in fall; and, finally, winter’s migrations and competitions for food. His program will show how owls use the unique resources available to them in each habitat to face those challenges. All 19 species found in Canada and the United States are featured in photos and narrative throughout the book, with a special focus on the Northern Pygmy-Owl, Great Gray Owl, Burrowing Owl, and Snowy Owl.
“Go Wild for Birds” is the theme of the Audubon Adventures classroom materials set for the 2016/2017 school year. This award-winning environmental educational program introduces students to the fundamental principles by which the natural world functions. Interest is stimulated and reinforced through a combination of fascinating printed newsletters and exciting online components.
Next time you shop online at amazon.com, first go to smile.amazon.com, search for and select Lane County Audubon Society as your chosen nonprofit, and then make your purchase. By doing so, 0.5 percent of the amount of your Amazon purchases will automatically be deposited in LCAS’s checking account each quarter at no additional cost to you.
Lane County Audubon Society is an all-volunteer organization, and our members are very proud of the energy and diverse talents that volunteers bring to our cause—we couldn’t do it without them. Volunteering with LCAS is a great way to meet new people, give back to the community, and—best of all—have fun! For more information, contact Maeve Sowles at 541.343.8664 or president (at) laneaudubon.org.