News Archive

From Our Treasurer: Birding in a Trying Time

First, I think I can speak for the entire LCAS membership in expressing our condolences to everyone impacted by the recent wildfires. Our condolences also go out to all those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Needless to say, 2020 has been a tough year for everyone.

LCAS wants to make things a little easier during these trying times by continuing to offer events that we hope redirect your mind and soul to the comforts of nature. We began offering live, virtual program meetings in September and will continue to do so throughout the fall and winter until conditions around the pandemic improve. (See Live on Zoom November Program meeting.)

Save the Date: December 11, 2020 Zoom Program

John Marzluff will present a Zoom meeting entitled “Of Ravens, Wolves and People.” LCAS and the Eugene Natural History Society are cosponsoring this program. 

Attached are links to items published recently in Science about intelligence in crows and other birds. The more we get to know about the intelligence of crows and ravens, in particular, the more fascinating these dark birds become. The research might interest you. The research reported on in the items isn’t by Marzluff.

•  science.sciencemag.org/content/369/6511/1626

Remembering Janet Jernberg, Lane Audubon Volunteer

Janet Jernberg passed away at home September 29th. She was number 97 in our membership database, meaning she joined Lane Audubon when it was first formed, in the mid-1970s.

Janet hosted The Quail mailing crew nine times a year in her home, where the group would gather to put mailing labels on the newsletters.

Since the mid-1980s, the mailing group has worked diligently, dependably, and without fanfare. That’s more than 35 years! They have truly enjoyed gathering together for this job. Over the years, different people participated, and each one was a valued member. While applying labels, they also celebrated birthdays, holidays, and bird sightings, and shared cakes, cookies, and snacks!

Janet included her great-niece, Star, and great-nephew, Dominik, in these gatherings, since she did after-school care for him. More recently they have lived with her to help out as her health declined, and they help with The Quail mailings each month.

Audubon Adventures Makes Nature Fun for Kids!

The National Audubon Society’s colorful and engaging educational program for elementary-age youngsters offers both printed and online materials. They are available in a variety of formats and subjects suitable for classroom groups, libraries, afterschool clubs, science and nature camps, and homeschoolers, as well as families with students in grades 3-5. If you are interested in having the printed materials for your home-schooling or classroom children, Lane Audubon can purchase the kits for school classrooms and homeschool groups.

From Our President: Trees and Other Natural Settings Offer a Healing Balm for Sanity

When I was a young girl, we had a big Modesto Ash tree in our front yard. I loved to climb that tree and sit up in its canopy as high as possible. I would watch the world go by—cars, bikes, walkers, cats, birds, insects, all while feeling safe and invisible to the rest of the world. If I had a bad day at school, or wanted to get away from my big brothers, I would climb that tree and disappear. My mother liked to recount that one day after school, I came home, put down my things, and ran out to climb the tree. She did not know why, but she knew what the action signified. I needed time alone. While I was in the tree, a boy from school came over and rang the doorbell. Mom answered the door and said she did not know where I was, but he could call me later. She did not reveal my secret location. I watched as he walked away. I don’t remember what had upset me that day, but I do remember that my mother had my back, and that the tree was also my protector.

First Fall Swift Event Enjoyed By Many

Friday, September 4th was the first of two “Welcome Back the Swifts” events Lane County Audubon Society sponsored in September. Approximately 85 gathered, families and groups of friends, along with some dogs, to watch the biannual spectacle of the Vaux’s Swifts entering the chimney at Agate Hall. A Cooper’s Hawk swooped up to the chimney around 7:55, quickly grabbed a swift, and flew away. It took about 15 minutes for the 7,420 Vaux’s Swifts to enter the chimney.

From Our President: I Miss My Audubon Friends! But Nature Offers Solace

Our last Program Meeting was in late February and our last face-to-face Board Meeting was in early March. Since then, we have suspended our normal scheduled activities. I often think about our many volunteers and members who attend these Lane Audubon functions, people I only see at that time. Now months have passed and I feel the loss of normal contacts, hugs, smiles, and bird sightings that we would normally share when we see each other. I hope each of you is doing what you can to stay safe and healthy!

Herb Wisner's Memoir is Available

Long-time LCAS board member Herb Wisner, now 98, has completed his memoir, My Life...and Then Some: A Memoir? Herb’s bird-filled autobiography is available on Amazon!

The following teaser is shortened slightly from what appears on the Amazon website:

 

For 98 years, Herb Wisner has lived a remarkable life. Raised in an extraordinary childhood home near the New Jersey shore, his journeys took him to colleges in Alabama and New York, to overseas exploits while in the Army Airforce during WWII, and to a teaching career that stretched from rural Unadilla, New York, to Eugene, Oregon.

 

Accompanied by hundreds of photos, Herb’s stories span nearly a century. They include vivid portraits of family and friends whose paths have crossed his. He remembers them all in his unique voice infused with gentle humor.

From Our President: 2020 Has Been a Year Like No Other!

Due to the pandemic, we have learned enlightening essential practices to secure our families and ourselves from an infection affecting the human population of the earth. Precautions to ensure protection from disease have become daily rituals, changing our lives dramatically. This situation has also raised awareness of our basic needs for safe food supplies, safe water, and safe spaces for shelter. And it has also shown us the fragility of having safe and productive ways to make a living.

All of these are the same essentials we strive to protect for the birds and wildlife who share the earth with us. Usually humans feel they are above or apart from these necessities, since many of us are buffered from the precarious edge of survival. Unfortunately, this is not true for all people.

Recently we have seen the violent side of human nature on stark display. This is an aspect of our humanity that I cannot fathom. Humans are all related – we share the DNA, the human history, the earth. Each of us has the same biological and daily needs, and together we could recreate a safe earth for all. Why are compassion and empathy such elusive principles?

We need to find the resolve to be better at supplying essential needs for ourselves and each other. We need to stop and learn from our huge ongoing mistakes. Drop the prehistoric sub-brain ego responses, and use our hearts to feel the flow of compassion toward all living things. We can do better together in focusing on our mutual needs. 

Can we learn from this stressful time and actually make our lives and communities healthier, more holistic and more productive for everyone? It is time for humans to lift themselves to fulfill their potential for caring, empathy, and compassion. Please, let us use our big brains to imagine this into our new reality and make choices that bring us forward to a better future together. This goal needs to become more than a dream and more than rhetoric. Humans have great capacity for adaptation.

Let’s make it work for the common good of all people and the earth. My deepest wish is that we reach a time of peace and wellness for us all.

From Our President: Search Outside for the Calm in Nature

As I write this piece in early April, our future activities for the next two months are completely up in the air. We know that in May we will not have a Bird Walk and that cancellation of the Program Meeting is a strong possibility. Theoretically, at this point, June will be planned as the time gets closer and we know our ability to gather safely for community activities.

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