From Our President: Volunteers Are Vital for Teaching Audubon in the Schools

Audubon in the Schools (AITS) is starting up after a year’s hiatus. We are pleased to have Caryn Stoess as the new Program Coordinator! She is learning the details from program founder and braintrust Kris Kirkeby. Longtime volunteers Kathy Wilson and Bonnie Henderson are returning as instructors, providing valuable continuity to the program. All of these dedicated folks are training new volunteer instructors so they can offer classes this spring. Over the past 10 years, nearly 10,000 students have benefited from AITS, learning drawing and observation skills combined with bird biology. The program uses a teaching collection of bird skins, bones, feathers, and nests, which is permitted and legal under the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The Board and our members truly want this program to succeed. With Caryn’s leadership and the team of newly trained volunteers, we look forward to educating more Lane County schoolchildren in this wonderful, unique program.

As we express our appreciation to our new volunteers, we also want to acknowledge some past AITS volunteers. Doris Bakshi, who moved to Florida in early 2014, began volunteering with LCAS in 2011 by helping with the membership renewal reminders. Then she was the AITS class scheduling volunteer for almost 2 years. We recently heard that she passed away late in 2014. We are sorry to hear this news and extend our sympathy to her family.

AITS lost another strong advocate when Barclay Browne died December 7, 2014. Barclay took on the Program Coordinator role in mid-2012, but her illness made work impossible for the past year. She began volunteering with Lane Audubon in 2010—she helped out at the events booth, attended board meetings, and was an AITS Instructor. Barclay was a passionate teacher, cared deeply about environmental education, and loved the AITS program. We will miss her energy and commitment to our organization. Barclay willed a new MacBook Air computer to Lane Audubon. We wish we could thank her in person, but we will remember her many hours of teaching and helping Lane Audubon over the past five years. We plan to use the computer for community outreach presentations and for programs. Thank you, Barclay—we will think of you often as we continue our environmental education and outreach work.