M

Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, P.O. Box 46, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170;   president@SEVolusiaAudubon.org

youth outreach

Young people are the key to the future of our country. It is their inheritance we are spending and they need to care about how carefully we are stewarding it. They have a great stake in it. Please help us with your financial support.

Audubon Adventures

Audubon Adventures provides classrooms with environmental education prrograms. They cost about $50.00 per class. Will you sponsor a class?

Books to Schools

Books to Schools. We are providing environment oriented books to four schools in the area this year at a cost of $350.00 per school. Will you help?

Volunteers

Volunteers. Your help with any of our activities is needed. The more volunteers we have, the less each of us has to do.


For info on Bird Rescue, Click Here.

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Latest News

Apr 2019 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

Thanks for your long term support

Looking forward to next year with new faces and fresh ideas


All good things must come to an end, and so this is my last Prez Sez.  At the April meeting, I will be turning over the presidency to other chapter members who have a fresh outlook and can get the chapter moving forward.  

I appreciate all the support I have received from the Chapter over the years.  In fact, it was the specific intervention of Dick Domroski some years ago that encouraged me to continue on as President.  Otherwise, the Chapter would have foundered back then.  And a couple of years ago, Bill Cox wanted out of the Treasurer office, which he had held for many years.  But he told me he would not abandon the Chapter over it.  How can you quit with people like that around you?

We are at the cusp of starting relationships with a couple of environmentally sensitive groups, one tied to Edgewater and another to Volusia County.

continue reading>>



VP's Corner

What’s next for the Chapter

Our official Audubon plan for the 2018-19  roster of speakers, field trips and meetings comes to closure with the upcoming Chapter get together. Ongoing activities  and planning for next year continues, however.  We will be welcoming a new slate of officers in the 2019-20 season as well, and with them;  new ideas, style, direction, and priorities.


Late in this program year,  SEVAS became involved in several initiatives.The first was  derived  from the Civic Leadership Forum held in Daytona in March. We are now a part of the “Dream Green Volusia” effort at initiating  and supporting active, local environmental efforts. NSB Mayor Russ Owen had earlier identified  3 local priorities he  felt were appropriate for governmental attention: water quality (IRL especially), natural environments, and plastics management. Following a vote of numerous environmental agencies and interests, the plastics issue was ID’ed as #1. within this Volusia area.

continue reading>>


New Boat Trip for Birders

Lisa Mickey asked for — and been granted — access to the MDC Discovery boat to take winter birders over to Disappearing Island. Novice and more experience birders will be able to explore the islands and shorelines.  The first trip, in January, had forty species of birds sighted.
The boat can take 40 people. There are senior discounts and MDC member discounts.


Winter trips are scheduled for: Thursday, Feb 14, Thursday, March 21, and Wednesday, April 24.  Trips depart at 9:30 a.m., and return at 12:30 p.m.


Check out their website for more details.


Wings Over Florida

Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission

WOF is a program where the FWC issues beautiful certificates to people who show they have seen and identified a certain number of birds in Florida.  Certificates are issued for 25, 50, 100, 200, 300 and 400 Florida-sighted birds.  Many years ago, we worked with the program and were allowed to sign and issue certificates, but that has changed.  Now you can apply online here.  Birds must have been seen on FL, in the wild, and not be exotic species.


Patch Birding: A Way to Better Birding?

Want to try something new to help better your birding skills?  Try Patch Birding.  Pick a place near your home that you can visit regularly, check out the birds there, learn their calls and habits, and add a new dimension to your birding. Check the link here.


Next Meeting

The minutes of the March 2019 March meeting are here. 


Our next meeting will be on Thursday, April 11 2019. Pot luck, election of officers.  Meeting time is 5:30 p.m. at the MDC.  There will be no formal program.  Business meeting will be followed by the election of officers.  PLEASE NOTE: Members should bring PLATES, CUPS AND UTENSILS. 

Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Field Activities

Last month, we went to Peacock's Pocket and Ocala National Forest.   For detail,  see the blog posts for the trip, or the  Facebook page.


Our next field trip is to Washington Oaks Garden State Park  on Fri, Apr 12, 2019.  Depart from the usual place at 7:30 a.m. Carpooling is available.  



We will have a booth at the annual Lagoonacy celebration at the Marine Discovery Center on April 13th.  Contact Ken Park for information and for volunteering.


Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars. 


YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A MEMBER TO ATTEND FIELD TRIPS.

 

Birding and Wildlife Festivals

Announcing the Olympic Peninsula Birdfest, Apr 12-14, in Sequim, WA.


The city of Beaumont, TX, Convention and  Visitor’s bureau  wants to help birders get help in planning a trip to the Beaumont area.  For assistance, contact the sales manager at Rebecca.woodland@beaumonttexas.gov, or 800-392-4401.


Sign up for our alerts and notifications


Mar 2019 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

National Audubon presents Vision for Gulf Restoration

The Gulf of Mexico is an ecological treasure.  It has habitats for people, birds and other animals, recreational opportunities, commercial opportunities, and tourism opportunities. 

It has always been subject to the vagaries of Nature with hurricanes and other natural disasters.  And now, sea level rise is causing many estuaries and deltas and marshlands to become open water.  And the BP disaster in 2010 capped it all by causing untold damage to livelihoods, businesses, tourism, and of course the birds that got caught up in the oil slicks. 

After the disaster, BP and the Justice Department agreed on a settlement of over $20 billion in fines, to be dedicated to restoration of the Gulf and of business hurt by the effects of the spill. 

National Audubon has promulgated a vision for the restoration of the Gulf, especially as it relates to the  birds, including 11 of Audubon’s flagship species as well as six Audubon priority species. These species use the Gulf at some point during their life cycles – for breeding, overwintering or as a migratory stopover.  They also want science-based solutions for coastal resiliency in the face of rising sea levels.  And this includes human habitations as well.

continue reading>>


VP's Corner

What’s next for the Chapter

The ‘18-‘19 SEVAS Chapter meetings, field trips, and speaker programs are winding down. Snow Birds head North, the year ‘rounders secure the hatches and find new adventures for their Birding and environmental summer focus. Thus, March Chapter meeting is in many ways, the “last hurrah” for action planning. This upcoming Chapter session will be busy bringing to closure some of the activities begun or in progress since last we met. Among agenda items are status reports and strategy on the Edgewater April 3rd city election, comments on a developing, local “ Environmental Civic Leaders”  movement , and a Honey Tasting Festival on March 16th, where a manned SEVAS informational site is planned.

continue reading>>



New Boat Trip for Birders

Lisa Mickey asked for — and been granted — access to the MDC Discovery boat to take winter birders over to Disappearing Island. Novice and more experience birders will be able to explore the islands and shorelines.  The first trip, in January, had forty species of birds sighted.
The boat can take 40 people. There are senior discounts and MDC member discounts.


Winter trips are scheduled for: Thursday, Feb 14, Thursday, March 21, and Wednesday, April 24.  Trips depart at 9:30 a.m., and return at 12:30 p.m.


Check out their website for more details.


Marine Discovery Center March Lecture

“Living Off the Water: A Look at Florida’s Native Coastal Peoples” will be the topic of the Marine Discovery Center’s March public lecture.

Emily Jane Murray, a public archaeologist with the Florida Public Archaeology Network in St. Augustine, Fla., will be the guest speaker for the presentation, set for Thursday, March 21, starting at 6:30 p.m. The lecture is hosted by the Marine Discovery Center, located at 520 Barracuda Boulevard in New Smyrna Beach.


Lecture is open to the public. No admission, no need to be a member.


Ed. Note:  Thanks to the MDC staff and volunteers for the annual clean-up of the roosting/nesting mangrove islands behind the former Dolphin View Restaurant.  Check out the story here.


Wings Over Florida

Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission

WOF is a program where the FWC issues beautiful certificates to people who show they have seen and identified a certain number of birds in Florida.  Certificates are issued for 25, 50, 100, 200, 300 and 400 Florida-sighted birds.  Many years ago, we worked with the program and were allowed to sign and issue certificates, but that has changed.  Now you can apply online here.  Birds must have been seen on FL, in the wild, and not be exotic species.


Patch Birding: A Way to Better Birding?

Want to try something new to help better your birding skills?  Try Patch Birding.  Pick a place near your home that you can visit regularly, check out the birds there, learn their calls and habits, and add a new dimension to your birding. Check the link here.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, March 14, 2019, at 7:00 p.m., at the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach.  During this program,  Rebecca Harris, a Registered Professional Archaeologist since 2001, will present a program called: “Use of Avian Imagery and Iconography in Prehistoric Florida”. It will be an illustrated overview of the many bird species found in archaeological contexts in prehistoric Florida. Tell a  friend.  Free cookies.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Field Activities

Last month, we were supposed to have a trip to Orlando Wetlands Park.  However, intel from some of our members indicated little bird activity there since heavy equipment was being run throughout the park to help restore and renourish the ponds.  So we went to MINR instead, and had a great day. we got 71 species, which we believe is a record for one day. For details. see the blog posts for the trip, or the  Facebook page.


Our next field trip is to Peacock's Pocket at MINWR,  on Fri, Mar 15, 2019.  Depart from the usual place at 7:30 a.m. Carpooling is available.  Our second field trip in March will be to Ocala National Forest on Saturday, March 30.  Depart at 7:30 a.m. May see some endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers?


Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars. 


YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A MEMBER TO ATTEND FIELD TRIPS.

 

Birding and Wildlife Festivals

Announcing the Olympic Peninsula Birdfest, Apr 12-14, in Sequim, WA.


The city of Beaumont, TX, Convention and  Visitor’s bureau  wants to help birders get help in planning a trip to the Beaumont area.  For assistance, contact the sales manager at Rebecca.woodland@beaumonttexas.gov, or 800-392-4401.


Sign up for our alerts and notifications


Feb 2019 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

Vigilance and Activism needed to help DeSantis water agenda


Governor Ron deSantis has his work cut out for him. He calls himself a “Teddy Rosevelt Conservative” and is interested in helping the water situation in Florida. This despite the fact that he voted against environment 98% of the time when he was in the House of Representatives.  

His first budget did include 625 millions for Everglades clean-up and other water projects.  This was a “down-payment” on the more than 2.5 billion for better water quality, springs renourishment, and septic tank change-outs.

And he recognizes that the water situation will throttle Florida growth and business.  

But, though he recognizes that sea level rise is a concern and must be addressed, there is no mention of  climate change or reduction of greenhouse gases. 

continue reading>>


VP's Corner

What’s next for the Chapter

Much has happened in our Chapter recently. The capstone event was the application of the Town Meeting model for an open and constructive membership dialogue to discuss “what’s next?” The session was held at the NSB Library on 26 Jan


This  followed a Chapter field event led by Gail Domroski. There were 14 in attendance who shared their ideas about projects, priority, and direction. The main focus was on the local natural environment and how to overcome threats to preserving and enhancing it. Notions of activism abounded. Some examples were: regular attendance at local and county decision making bodies as advocates, lobbyists, and educators; provide recognition and awards to local businesses and entities for environmental or “green landscaping” accomplishments;  more cooperation and collaboration with local/regional environmental groups; - and public stands and/or voter support for environmentally minded political nominees and candidates.


The notes from the session are comprehensive, and are available here.



New Boat Trip for Birders

Lisa Mickey asked for — and been granted — access to the MDC Discovery boat to take winter birders over to Disappearing Island. Novice and more experience birders will be able to explore the islands and shorelines.  The first trip, in January, had forty species of birds sighted.
The boat can take 40 people. There are senior discounts and MDC member discounts.


Winter trips are scheduled for: Thursday, Feb 14, Thursday, March 21, and Wednesday, April 24.  Trips depart at 9:30 a.m., and return at 12:30 p.m.


Check out their website for more details.


Marine Discovery Center February Lecture

“Sawfish of Florida: Past, Present and Future” will be the topic of the Marine Discovery Center’s February public lecture.

Tonya Wiley, president of Havenworth Coastal Conservation in Palmetto, Fla., will be the guest speaker for the presentation, set for Thursday, Feb. 21, starting at 6 p.m. The lecture is hosted by the Marine Discovery Center, located at 520 Barracuda Boulevard in New Smyrna Beach.


Lecture is open to the public. No admission, no need to be a member.


News from the Central Florida Regional Conservation Committee

Meeting Sunday, Jan 27, 2019 by Paula Wehr

On Sunday, January 27, members of the Central Florida RCC met to discuss issues of regional concern and to report on progress toward our two regional conservation goals adopted at Audubon Assembly in October 2018.  Representatives from five of our ten member chapters were able to attend. The notes of the meeting are here.


Wings Over Florida

Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission

WOF is a program where the FWC issues beautiful certificates to people who show they have seen and identified a certain number of birds in Florida.  Certificates are issued for 25, 50, 100, 200, 300 and 400 Florida-sighted birds.  Many years ago, we worked with the program and were allowed to sign and issue certificates, but that has changed.  Now you can apply online here.  Birds must have been seen on FL, in the wild, and not be exotic species.


Next Meeting

Minutes from the Jan 2019 meeting are here.


Our next meeting will be on Thursday, Feb 14, 2019, at 7:00 p.m., at the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach.  During this program Joe  Montpelier, a long-time member of the SEVAS family, will share the best of the best of the many photographs he has taken of birds during a dozen years of venturing with us into the swamps, scrublands, wetlands and beaches of Central Florida.   Tell a  friend.  Free cookies.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Field Activities

Last month, we had a field trip to  Blue Heron wetlands. For details. see the blog posts for the trip, or the  Facebook page.


Our next field trip is to Orlando Wetlands Park on Fri, Feb 22, 2019.  Depart from the usual place at 7:30 a.m. Carpooling is available.


Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars. 


YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A MEMBER TO ATTEND FIELD TRIPS.

 

Birding and Wildlife Festivals


The 21st annual Great Backyard Bird Count will be held Friday, February 16, through Monday, February 19, 2018.


The 7th Laredo Birding Festival is open for registration.  It takes place from 6-9 Feb, 2019. 


Announcing the Olympic Peninsula Birdfest, Apr 12-14, in Sequim, WA.


The city of Beaumont, TX, Convention and  Visitor’s bureau  wants to help birders get help in planning a trip to the Beaumont area.  For assistance, contact the sales manager at Rebecca.woodland@beaumonttexas.gov, or 800-392-4401.


Sign up for our alerts and notifications


Jan 2019 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that time of year again, that people start thinking about New Year’s resolutions.  Some folks want to develop a healthier lifestyle, while some just want to lose weight.  I have found in the past that losing weight has to be accompanied by a change in lifestyle.  Otherwise, it is successful only for a period of time.


The same with being an Audubon member.  You can be a member who only wants to receive the magazines and newsletter, or one who participates in the entire mission:  The preservation of birds, other animals, and their habitats through education, science and activism.  There is also a continuum in the middle.  


You can choose to participate in meetings and field trips, or even become a volunteer and/or executive committee member.  You can also choose to sign up for, and respond to, National Audubon’s and Florida Audubon’s Action Alerts.  They are usually in response to serious threats to our environment or to birds.  


More fully participating in Audubon’s and SEVAS’s mission sets you up for a pattern that lasts for a longer period of time, and a greater commitment to birds and our environment.


So I encourage you to resolve to increase your participation in the Audubon and SEVAS missions by a t least one notch this year.




VP's Corner

There is often little time to cover news and announcements to any depth  at the monthly Chapter meetings. Let me share with you the following:  TOWN MEETING progress - plans are still developing; assisted by Fl. Audubon’s Chapter Conservation Manager, Jacqui Seluk. Dates under consideration are Jan 11, or 26, or Feb. 22. You have these on your calendar as field trips. This is by design. Stay posted for final schedule info. Your participation is desirable for determining SEVAS’s future objectives,  direction and plans.
           

STAFFING is needed in the following areas for program delivery and leadership : The Select Committee for YOUTH AND OUTREACH. - 2 positions need filling to work with  “Wings Over Florida” a certification program for developing youth (adults too) Birding  competency levels through certification. Included is free access to the Thayer Birding Software; -  a MEMBERSHIP CHAIRPERSON is needed to organize and coordinate new membership application processing,  data tracking,  and recruitment activities; - and finally,  a reasonably  “TECH SAVEY INTERN   is needed to work  with Don Picard to learn long term back-up skills for the production of our outstanding newsletter, the“SKIMMER”   Please, let myself or Don know of your interest - you are needed! “ 


New Boat Trip for Birders

Lisa Mickey asked for — and been granted — access to the MDC Discovery boat to take winter birders over to Disappearing Island. The first of these trips was on Saturday, Jan. 5, departing at 9:30 a.m. It was a three-hour dock-to-island-back-to-dock deal where they take you on an eco-tour of the Indian River and then  drop you off  on the islands and let you wander on your own.

The boat can take 40 people. There are senior discounts and MDC member discounts. 


This tour was a great success with 34 participants of all levels of birding.  There were members of the Southeast Volusia and Halifax River Audubon clubs to aid the  more novice birders identify the  40 species of birds they saw. 


They will hopefully  so another such trip once a month for each of the next three months.


Check out their website for more details.


Marine Discovery Center January Lecture

The endangered North Atlantic Right Whale population has declined over the last several years, prompting the question: “Is Extinction In Sight?”

Julie Albert, who has coordinated the Marine Resources Council’s North Atlantic Right Whale Program for 20 years, will be the guest speaker for the January 2019 public lecture at the Marine Discovery Center.

The presentation is set for Thursday, Jan. 17, starting at 6 p.m. The event is hosted by the Marine Discovery Center, located at 520 Barracuda Boulevard in New Smyrna Beach.


Lecture is open to the public. No admission, no need to be a member.


Wings Over Florida

Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission

WOF is a program where the FWC issues beautiful certificates to people who show they have seen and identified a certain number of birds in Florida.  Certificates are issued for 25, 50, 100, 200, 300 and 400 Florida-sighted birds.  Many years ago, we worked with the program and were allowed to sign and issue certificates, but that has changed.  Now you can apply online here.  Birds must have been seen on FL, in the wild, and not be exotic species.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, Jan 10, 2019, at 7:00 p.m., at the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach.  Hyun Jung ("J.") Cho, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Integrated Environmental Science, Bethune-Cookman University will talk on the “Living Shorelines” project that she directs and which is presently in process in the New Smyrna and Edgewater areas.   Tell a  friend.  Free cookies.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Field Activities

Last month, we had a field trip to Merritt Island NWR. For details. see the blog posts for the trip, or the  Facebook page.


Our next field trip is to Blue Heron wetlands  on Fri, Jan 11, 2019.  Depart from the usual place at 7:30 a.m. Carpooling is available.


A second field trip in Jan is to  Riverbreeze Park, Seminole Rest and Shiloh Rd.  Meet at the usual place at 7:30 a.m.


The annual Christmas Bird Count was a great successs. Gail had a large number of volunteers, and we collectively found 138 species.  The "best bird" was a  Kingbird by Don Shalfont, that has yet to be identified.  Thanks to all who participated.


Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars. 


YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A MEMBER TO ATTEND FIELD TRIPS.

 

Birding and Wildlife Festivals


The Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival will be held in Titusville from Jan 23-28, 2019.  Open for registration now.


The Orange Audubon Society will host the North Shore Birding Festival, on the North Shore of Lake Apopka, from Jan 17-21, 2019.


Registration is open for Birds of a Featherfest 2019 in Palm Coast, from Feb. 7-10, 2019. 


The 7th Laredo Birding Festival is open for registration.  It takes place from 6-9 Feb, 2019. 


Announcing the Olympic Peninsula Birdfest, Apr 12-14, in Sequim, WA.


The city of Beaumont, TX, Convention and  Visitor’s bureau  wants to help birders get help in planning a trip to the Beaumont area.  For assistance, contact the sales manager at Rebecca.woodland@beaumonttexas.gov, or 800-392-4401.


Sign up for our alerts and notifications


Dec 2018 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

So we voted; but it still did not come out our way!

IOK, so we voted.  And it still did not come out the way we wanted.  (See last month’s Prez Sez).  Senator-elect Rick Scott, who had no credibility with the environmental community, tried to develop environmental creds by saying he would not allow near-shore oil drilling off Florida.  Remember also that the Florida electorate passed a ballot initiative banning oil drilling in state waters.

And Governor-elect deSantis and Agriculture-Commissioner-elect Fried both won despite not being in the pockets of Big Sugar.  Hopefully, they will take on Big Sugar in the fight to restore the Everglades.  They will also have to take on the South Florida Water Management District.  Recently, District staff signed an new lease with Big Sugar to continue to hold and work lands that were supposed to be part of the big reservoir to hold polluted discharges from Lake Okeechobee instead of sending them into the rivers East and West causing algal blooms and Red Tide on both coasts.  The meetings were held primarily in secret, with little to no public notice or input. 

DeSantis, a Trump follower, also said he would work with local governments to address rising sea levels, but did not mention climate change.  Bad with the good?

We have to hold these newly-elected people to their statements.  If they stray, Florida Audubon will issue Action Alerts.  We need to follow these alerts and send emails and phone calls to their offices.  It will show them that the Florida electorate is interested, listening, and engaged.


Wings Over Florida

Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission

WOF is a program where the FWC issues beautiful certificates to people who show they have seen and identified a certain number of birds in Florida.  Certificates are issued for 25, 50, 100, 200, 300 and 400 Florida-sighted birds.  Many years ago, we worked with the program and were allowed to sign and issue certificates, but that has changed.  Now you can apply online here.  Birds must have been seen on FL, in the wild, and not be exotic species.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, Dec 13, 2018, at 7:00 p.m., at the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach.  James “Zach” Zacharias,  Senior Curator of Education and Curator of History, Museum of Arts and Sciences,  will talk on "John James Audubon in Florida."  Tell a  friend.  Free cookies.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Field Activities

Last month, we had a field trip to Lake Woodruff NWR. For details. see the blog posts for the trip, or the  Facebook page.


Our next field trip is to Merritt Island NWR  on Fri, Dec 14, 2018.  Depart from the usual place at 7:30 a.m. Carpooling is available.


The annual Christmas Bird Count is on Sat, 29 Dec, 2018.  If you would like to volunteer, but have not been contacted, please call Gail at 386-428-0447.  Thanks.


Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars. 


YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A MEMBER TO ATTEND FIELD TRIPS.

 

Birding and Wildlife Festivals


The Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival will be held in Titusville from Jan 23-28, 2019.  Open for registration now.


The Orange Audubon Society will host the North Shore Birding Festival, on the North Shore of Lake Apopka, from Jan 17-21, 2019.


Registration is open for Birds of a Featherfest 2019 in Palm Coast, from Feb. 7-10, 2019. 


The 7th Laredo Birding Festival is open for registration.  It takes polace from 6-9 Feb, 2019. 


Announcing the Olympic Peninsula Birdfest, Apr 12-14, in Sequim, WA.


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Nov 2018 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

Welcome to a New Season

It is hard to believe that another summer has passed.  I hope you really enjoyed it.  Now it is time for a new season.  Lamont has again come up with an interesting slate of speakers for our meetings, and Gail has the list of field trips for the year.  In case you missed it, The Christmas Bird Count is on Sat, Dec 29, 2018.  She has already transmittted the email asking for volunteers to participate once again.  It is great fun.  I hope you can make it.


Very Important election season

I am going to make this Prez Sez short and sweet.  GET OUT AND VOTE. For those of us interested in conservation, preservation, public lands maintenance and climate science, and particularly in the condition and quality of Florida's waters, this is too important an election to sit it out.  IF YOU DON'T VOTE, YOU GET WHAT YOU DESERVE.



Wings Over Florida

Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission

WOF is a program where the FWC issues beautiful certificates to people who show they have seen and identified a certain number of birds in Florida.  Certificates are issued for 25, 50, 100, 200, 300 and 400 Florida-sighted birds.  Many years ago, we worked with the program and were allowed to sign and issue certificates, but that has changed.  Now you can apply online here.  Birds must have been seen on FL, in the wild, and not be exotic species.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, Nov 8, 2018, at 7:00 p.m., at the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach. Katie Tripp, Ph.D., Director of Science and Conservation for the Save the Manatee Club (https://www.savethemanatee.org/) will focus on what has been learned about manatees, their life cycle and their habits and habitat, and the environmental changes which have imperiled this living symbol of natural Florida.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Field Activities

We had two field trips last month, one to Spruce Creek Park and one to the Indian River Lagoon park.  For details. see the blog posts for each trip, or the  Facebook page.


Our next field trip is to Lake Woodruff NWR on Sat, Nov 10, 2018.  Depart from the usual place at 7 a.m. Carpooling is available.


Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.

 

Birding and Wildlife Festivals


The Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival will be held in Titusville from Jan 23-28, 2019.  Open for registration now.


Registration is open for Birds of a Featherfest 2019 in Palm Coast, from Feb. 7-10, 2019. 


Announcing the Olympic Peninsula Birdfest, Apr 12-14, in Sequim, WA.


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May 2018 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

Thanks for a great year.  Looking forward to next.

It is hard to believe that another year has passed.  It was a great season with superb speakers and lots of fun field trips. Of course, the last meeting resulted in another re-election of all officers.  Thanks to all of them who are willing to serve once again. 

And thanks as well to the folks who volunteered to take on some of the other tasks to support the club.  It really helps to spread the wealth around.  These include coordinating the Tomoka Regional Science Fair and the Winter shorebird survey, “Get to Know Your Island” birding beach walks for the city of NSB, and taking on the membership program.   
Continue reading>>


CENTRAL FL REGIONAL CONSERVATION COMMITTEE

Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, Maitland

Sunday, April 15, 2018


Charles Lee gave a breakdown from the approved budget of $100.8 million for the programs that comprise Florida Forever, including: $77 million for environmentally endangered lands (lake state parks, wildlife management areas and state forests; $5.8 million for Rural and Family lands easements  $10 million for Florida Communities Trust; $2 million for Working Waterfronts; and $6 million for FL Recreation Development Assistance Program and children’s park amenities

In March Gov. Scott signed HB 7043/SB1402, State assumption of Federal Section 404 Dredge and Fill Permitting, giving Florida DEP authority to approve permits under the Federal The Clean Water Act. The Army Corps of Engineers retains permitting over navigable and adjacent waters. The issue will be which waters are considered navigable. AF supports the Corp retaining the broadest possible interpretation of navigable; i.e.: not just open water but contiguous wetlands. Public comment on this issue can be emailed to Navigability_Determination@usace.army.mil. Details and background about navigable waters within the State of Florida are found here.

Under Chapter activities, Halifax River Audubon reported that a proposal for a large marina at the Port Orange Bridge was not approved in 2009 but has been resurrected following approval of the new dredge-and-fill permitting law. The adjacent spoil island was designated a Critical wildlife Area in December 2017 and the water is definitely navigable which bodes well for denial of a permit.   Click here for full minutes.


Marine Discovery Center May Lecture

“The Journey of Bees and Beekeepers – Understanding Our Partnership With This Amazing Insect” will be the topic of the Marine Discovery Center’s May public lecture.


Doug McGinnis, who has served for nine years on the National Honey Board, and has been an officer in the National Honey Packers and Dealers Association, as well as the American Beekeeping Federation, will be the guest speaker.


The presentation is set for Thursday, May 17, starting at 6 p.m. The lecture is hosted by the Marine Discovery Center, located at 520 Barracuda Boulevard in New Smyrna Beach.


A special honey tasting will take place at the center prior to the lecture from 5-6 p.m. Several varieties of locally sourced honey, including black mangrove honey and Brazilian pepper honey, will be available for tasting and purchase at MDC during that time.


At the lecture, McGinnis will discuss the role and duties of beekeepers today as they carry bees around the country to make honey and pollinate food crops, and how this corresponds to the life cycle of honeybees.


Wings Over Florida

Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission

WOF is a program where the FWC issues beautiful certificates to people who show they have seen and identified a certain number of birds in Florida.  Certificates are issued for 25, 50, 100, 200, 300 and 400 Florida-sighted birds.  Many years ago, we worked with the program and were allowed to sign and issue certificates, but that has changed.  Now you can apply online here.  Birds must have been seen on FL, in the wild, and not be exotic species.


Halifax River Audubon Program features Michael Brothers

He will speak at Sica Hall in Holly Hill, May 21st, at 7:00 p.m. on the Mysteries of Bird Migration. 


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, Nov 8, 2018, at 7:00 p.m., at the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach. Program will be announced in the future. I hope to have the full slate of programs by early September.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Field Activities

Join us for a trip to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm on Friday, May 18th.  It is a great opportunity to see nesting herons, egrets, Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbills at arm's length.  Check out my report of a visit several years ago, with slide show of photos, to be inspired. 


Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.

 

Birding and Wildlife Festivals

Join me at the New Smyrna Beach library for a program on How to Bird.  It is part of their annual "How-to Festival".  Check out other skills as well.


Sign up for our alerts and notifications


April 2018 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

HELP WANTED, PLEASE

It’s that time of year again when I ask for help from the members of the club.  People who have been in office for many years, would like a respite.  I know the Treasurer and Secretary would like to be replaced.  And believe me, for the last couple of years since the the filling of critical positions such as VP, Publicity Chair, Program Chair, etc, we have met under John’s leadership, to try to cultivate new, active members for the club, who might become board members in the future.  It has not been as productive as we would have hoped, but we are still actively working on it.  Continue reading>>


Conservation Notes

Decision to exempt Florida offshore waters from oil and gas exploitation reversed


Remember in January, The Department of the Interior announced opening nearly the entire Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf shores to oil and gas exploration and drilling?  Our illustrious governor, looking to shore up his environmental bona fides before announcing his bid for Senator Nelson’s seat, said that he would talk with DOI Secretary Zinke about exempting Florida from the plan.  Zinke, in a tweet, sang the praises of Scott, and said there would be no drilling in offshore Florida waters.  Scott beamed about his ‘victory’.  Maybe too soon.  Continue reading>>


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, Apr 12, 2018, at the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach. There will be NO formal program.  It is a pot luck and election of officers.  NOTE CHANGE OF TIME: 5:30 P.M.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Field Activities

April field trips include Oakland Park Nature Preserve on Saturday, Apr 14th, and Mead Gardens and Leu Gardens on Fri, Apr 20th.  Depart from the uaual place at 7:30 a.m.


Last month, we went to Viera Wetlands and Hontoon Island State Park in DeLand.  Check out the Birding Stories Blog posts for details.


Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.


Audubon Birding App has a new look.

If you have not seen the new face of the Audubon Birding Field Guide, you are missing a treat.  It has all the info on specific birds in one place.  Just scroll down the page.  It also has the bird id function of Cornel University's Merlin Bird id, but not the photo part.  If you don't have the app, it is available for both IOS and Android, and is FREE.

Marine Discovery Center April Lecture

Endangered Sawfish

Tonya Wiley, president of Havenworth Coastal Conservation in Palmetto, Fla., will be the guest speaker for the presentation, set for Thursday, April 19, starting at 6 p.m. The lecture is hosted by the Marine Discovery Center, located at 520 Barracuda Boulevard in New Smyrna Beach.


Topic will be: “Sawfish of Florida: Past, Present and Future”


For more information about the lecture, contact the Marine Discovery Center at 386-428-4828.

 

Birding and Wildlife Festivals

The Volusia Water Alliance presents the "Water Festival 2018-Water's Journey"" on April 28th at 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on West Indiana Ave in downtown DeLand.  For more info


The Marine Discovery Center hosts its annual Lagoonacy day on Saturday, April 21st.


The Marine Science Center hosts it annual Turtle Day on Saturday, April 28th.


Sign up for our alerts and notifications


March 2018 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

Wetlands loss, sea-level rise, and the Trump infrastructure plan

There is a story in the NY Times on February 24th discussing the loss of wetlands in Southern Louisiana, and equally as importantly, the plight of the inhabitants of small towns being surrounded by bayous instead of marshy wetlands.  The focus is on a hamlet called Jean Lafitte, whose 7000 citizens want to stay. They are within sight of the levees protecting New Orleans, but their only recourse is to move.  So far, they refuse.

 Continue reading>>


Conservation Notes

The Mosquito Lagoon/Indian River Lagoon: The Precautionary Principle


The precautionary principle states that “if an action or policy is a suspected risk of causing harm to the public, or to the environment, and there is absence of scientific consensus that the action or policies are harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking action that may or may not be a risk.” [Wiki] This principle should obtain immediately for any development that impacts the watershed of Mosquito Lagoon/Indian River Lagoon, an estuarine environment which was once a stable eco-system where abundant species of vertebrates and invertebrates could thrive in living water.  Continue reading>>


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, Mar 8, 2018, at the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach. Sam Fried, President, Flights of Fancy Adventures, LLC, will present a program on warblers.  Here is his bio.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Field Activities

Another month with two field trips.  On Sat, Mar 10,  we depart the usual place at 7:30 for Viera Wetlands.  On Thurs, Mar 15, we depart at 8:30 for a boat tour on the St John's River with the Blue Heron Boat Tour. Boat departs from Deland dock at 10:00.  Cost s $20.00 per person. Contact Joe at 386-882-8679 if you want to go on the boat tour.  We also depart from the KMart parking lot, on SR 44 in NSB opposite the Half Wall pub at 8:30 a.m.  So folks who live in NSB do not have to drive to Edgewater just to drive back to SR 44


Last month's trips were to Orlando Wetlands Park and Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive.   Check out the Birding Stories Blog for the reports and photos.


Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.


 

Birding and Wildlife Festivals


Sign up for our alerts and notifications


February 2018 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

The Warming Planet vs Big Oil’s Greed

Accuweather.com reports that the earth’s global surface temperatures in 2017 ranked as the second warmest since global estimates became possible in 1880, according to a NASA analysis.


It is second only to global temperatures in 2016, where temperatures were bolstered by El Niņo.  El Niņo can cause warming effects around the globe due to the warmer water in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Thus, 2017 was the warmest year without an El Niņo event.  Continue reading>>


Conservation Notes

Environmental Remediation and Restoration:  A “10,000-ft” View
Time and DDT

There are an increasing number of completed and on-going scientific studies of water quality and the biotic communities in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) ecosystem.  These studies, based on a foundation of sound science and evolving data, have been used to justify, design and analyze the on-going, environmental remediation and restoration activities among municipal, county, state and federal agencies.   Continue reading>>


Central Florida RCC Update

In early January Interim Executive Director Julie Wraithmell held a conference call with chapter leaders to summarize Audubon Florida’s focus for the 2018 legislative session.   Governor Scott recommended funding for conservation, but it is up to the legislature to determine the numbers.  Senator Bradley introduced SB 370 and SB 204, including $100 million to Florida Forever and $75 and $50 million, respectively for springs and the St Johns WMD.  No corresponding bills have been introduced in the House at this writing. 

Continue Reading>>


Tomoka Regional Science and Engineering Fair

For many years, the three Volusia Audubon clubs participated in the Tomoka Regional Science and Engineering Fair with the Volusia County Schools.  We provide Special Awards  judges and cash prizes to students who have the best projects in our area of interest - environmental, conservation, alternative energy, climate change, etc.  This year’s judges were Steve Underwood (HRAS), Eli Schaperow (WVAS), and Don Picard (SEVAS).


For names of winners, continue reading>>


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, Feb 8, 2018, at the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach. Dan Gribbin, Halifax River Audubon Board Member At-Large, photographer and creator of greeting cards, will talk about "Shorebird Breeding Islands: The Young and the Restless." Here is his bio and program synopsis.  


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Field Activities

Another month with two field trips,this time both on a Friday.  On Fri, Feb 9 we depart the usual place at 7:15 for Orlando Wetlands Park.  There will be  NO TRAM available.  Walking only. On Fri, Feb 23, we will depart at 7:30 for the a driving tour of Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. 


Last month's field trip was to Merritt Island NWR.   Check out the Birding Stories Blog for the reports and photos.


Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.


Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count will be held from Feb 16-19.  Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at birdcount.org.


Each checklist submitted during the GBBC helps researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society learn more about how birds are doing, and how to protect them and the environment we share.


Marine Discovery Center February Lecture

Dolphins

Are you curious about how dolphins are doing, or what to do if you find a stranded dolphin?  Teresa Jablonski, senior research assistant at Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, will discuss dolphins and their challenges in a lecture on Thursday, Feb. 15, starting at 6 p.m., at the Marine Dicovery Center.

 

Birding and Wildlife Festivals

Registration is now open for the 2018 Palm Coast Birds of a Feather Fest which starts on Friday, Feb 9, 2018.  Check out their website for details.


The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland is sponsoring a "Wind Beneath our Wings Event" on Sunday, Feb 18, 2018.  Check their website for more info. 


Sign up for our alerts and notifications


May 2018 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

Thanks for a great year.  Looking forward to next.

It is hard to believe that another year has passed.  It was a great season with superb speakers and lots of fun field trips. Of course, the last meeting resulted in another re-election of all officers.  Thanks to all of them who are willing to serve once again. 

And thanks as well to the folks who volunteered to take on some of the other tasks to support the club.  It really helps to spread the wealth around.  These include coordinating the Tomoka Regional Science Fair and the Winter shorebird survey, “Get to Know Your Island” birding beach walks for the city of NSB, and taking on the membership program.   
Continue reading>>


CENTRAL FL REGIONAL CONSERVATION COMMITTEE

Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, Maitland

Sunday, April 15, 2018


Charles Lee gave a breakdown from the approved budget of $100.8 million for the programs that comprise Florida Forever, including: $77 million for environmentally endangered lands (lake state parks, wildlife management areas and state forests; $5.8 million for Rural and Family lands easements  $10 million for Florida Communities Trust; $2 million for Working Waterfronts; and $6 million for FL Recreation Development Assistance Program and children’s park amenities

In March Gov. Scott signed HB 7043/SB1402, State assumption of Federal Section 404 Dredge and Fill Permitting, giving Florida DEP authority to approve permits under the Federal The Clean Water Act. The Army Corps of Engineers retains permitting over navigable and adjacent waters. The issue will be which waters are considered navigable. AF supports the Corp retaining the broadest possible interpretation of navigable; i.e.: not just open water but contiguous wetlands. Public comment on this issue can be emailed to Navigability_Determination@usace.army.mil. Details and background about navigable waters within the State of Florida are found here.

Under Chapter activities, Halifax River Audubon reported that a proposal for a large marina at the Port Orange Bridge was not approved in 2009 but has been resurrected following approval of the new dredge-and-fill permitting law. The adjacent spoil island was designated a Critical wildlife Area in December 2017 and the water is definitely navigable which bodes well for denial of a permit.   Click here for full minutes.


Marine Discovery Center May Lecture

“The Journey of Bees and Beekeepers – Understanding Our Partnership With This Amazing Insect” will be the topic of the Marine Discovery Center’s May public lecture.


Doug McGinnis, who has served for nine years on the National Honey Board, and has been an officer in the National Honey Packers and Dealers Association, as well as the American Beekeeping Federation, will be the guest speaker.


The presentation is set for Thursday, May 17, starting at 6 p.m. The lecture is hosted by the Marine Discovery Center, located at 520 Barracuda Boulevard in New Smyrna Beach.


A special honey tasting will take place at the center prior to the lecture from 5-6 p.m. Several varieties of locally sourced honey, including black mangrove honey and Brazilian pepper honey, will be available for tasting and purchase at MDC during that time.


At the lecture, McGinnis will discuss the role and duties of beekeepers today as they carry bees around the country to make honey and pollinate food crops, and how this corresponds to the life cycle of honeybees.


Wings Over Florida

Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission

WOF is a program where the FWC issues beautiful certificates to people who show they have seen and identified a certain number of birds in Florida.  Certificates are issued for 25, 50, 100, 200, 300 and 400 Florida-sighted birds.  Many years ago, we worked with the program and were allowed to sign and issue certificates, but that has changed.  Now you can apply online here.  Birds must have been seen on FL, in the wild, and not be exotic species.


Halifax River Audubon Program features Michael Brothers

He will speak at Sica Hall in Holly Hill, May 21st, at 7:00 p.m. on the Mysteries of Bird Migration. 


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, Nov 8, 2018, at 7:00 p.m., at the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach. Program will be announced in the future. I hope to have the full slate of programs by early September.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Field Activities

Join us for a trip to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm on Friday, May 18th.  It is a great opportunity to see nesting herons, egrets, Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbills at arm's length.  Check out my report of a visit several years ago, with slide show of photos, to be inspired. 


Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.

 

Birding and Wildlife Festivals

Join me at the New Smyrna Beach library for a program on How to Bird.  It is part of their annual "How-to Festival".  Check out other skills as well.


Sign up for our alerts and notifications


April 2018 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

HELP WANTED, PLEASE

It’s that time of year again when I ask for help from the members of the club.  People who have been in office for many years, would like a respite.  I know the Treasurer and Secretary would like to be replaced.  And believe me, for the last couple of years since the the filling of critical positions such as VP, Publicity Chair, Program Chair, etc, we have met under John’s leadership, to try to cultivate new, active members for the club, who might become board members in the future.  It has not been as productive as we would have hoped, but we are still actively working on it.  Continue reading>>


Conservation Notes

Decision to exempt Florida offshore waters from oil and gas exploitation reversed


Remember in January, The Department of the Interior announced opening nearly the entire Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf shores to oil and gas exploration and drilling?  Our illustrious governor, looking to shore up his environmental bona fides before announcing his bid for Senator Nelson’s seat, said that he would talk with DOI Secretary Zinke about exempting Florida from the plan.  Zinke, in a tweet, sang the praises of Scott, and said there would be no drilling in offshore Florida waters.  Scott beamed about his ‘victory’.  Maybe too soon.  Continue reading>>


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, Apr 12, 2018, at the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach. There will be NO formal program.  It is a pot luck and election of officers.  NOTE CHANGE OF TIME: 5:30 P.M.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Field Activities

April field trips include Oakland Park Nature Preserve on Saturday, Apr 14th, and Mead Gardens and Leu Gardens on Fri, Apr 20th.  Depart from the uaual place at 7:30 a.m.


Last month, we went to Viera Wetlands and Hontoon Island State Park in DeLand.  Check out the Birding Stories Blog posts for details.


Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.


Audubon Birding App has a new look.

If you have not seen the new face of the Audubon Birding Field Guide, you are missing a treat.  It has all the info on specific birds in one place.  Just scroll down the page.  It also has the bird id function of Cornel University's Merlin Bird id, but not the photo part.  If you don't have the app, it is available for both IOS and Android, and is FREE.

Marine Discovery Center April Lecture

Endangered Sawfish

Tonya Wiley, president of Havenworth Coastal Conservation in Palmetto, Fla., will be the guest speaker for the presentation, set for Thursday, April 19, starting at 6 p.m. The lecture is hosted by the Marine Discovery Center, located at 520 Barracuda Boulevard in New Smyrna Beach.


Topic will be: “Sawfish of Florida: Past, Present and Future”


For more information about the lecture, contact the Marine Discovery Center at 386-428-4828.

 

Birding and Wildlife Festivals

The Volusia Water Alliance presents the "Water Festival 2018-Water's Journey"" on April 28th at 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on West Indiana Ave in downtown DeLand.  For more info


The Marine Discovery Center hosts its annual Lagoonacy day on Saturday, April 21st.


The Marine Science Center hosts it annual Turtle Day on Saturday, April 28th.


Sign up for our alerts and notifications


March 2018 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

Wetlands loss, sea-level rise, and the Trump infrastructure plan

There is a story in the NY Times on February 24th discussing the loss of wetlands in Southern Louisiana, and equally as importantly, the plight of the inhabitants of small towns being surrounded by bayous instead of marshy wetlands.  The focus is on a hamlet called Jean Lafitte, whose 7000 citizens want to stay. They are within sight of the levees protecting New Orleans, but their only recourse is to move.  So far, they refuse.

 Continue reading>>


Conservation Notes

The Mosquito Lagoon/Indian River Lagoon: The Precautionary Principle


The precautionary principle states that “if an action or policy is a suspected risk of causing harm to the public, or to the environment, and there is absence of scientific consensus that the action or policies are harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking action that may or may not be a risk.” [Wiki] This principle should obtain immediately for any development that impacts the watershed of Mosquito Lagoon/Indian River Lagoon, an estuarine environment which was once a stable eco-system where abundant species of vertebrates and invertebrates could thrive in living water.  Continue reading>>


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, Mar 8, 2018, at the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach. Sam Fried, President, Flights of Fancy Adventures, LLC, will present a program on warblers.  Here is his bio.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Field Activities

Another month with two field trips.  On Sat, Mar 10,  we depart the usual place at 7:30 for Viera Wetlands.  On Thurs, Mar 15, we depart at 8:30 for a boat tour on the St John's River with the Blue Heron Boat Tour. Boat departs from Deland dock at 10:00.  Cost s $20.00 per person. Contact Joe at 386-882-8679 if you want to go on the boat tour.  We also depart from the KMart parking lot, on SR 44 in NSB opposite the Half Wall pub at 8:30 a.m.  So folks who live in NSB do not have to drive to Edgewater just to drive back to SR 44


Last month's trips were to Orlando Wetlands Park and Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive.   Check out the Birding Stories Blog for the reports and photos.


Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.


 

Birding and Wildlife Festivals


Sign up for our alerts and notifications


February 2018 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

The Warming Planet vs Big Oil’s Greed

Accuweather.com reports that the earth’s global surface temperatures in 2017 ranked as the second warmest since global estimates became possible in 1880, according to a NASA analysis.


It is second only to global temperatures in 2016, where temperatures were bolstered by El Niņo.  El Niņo can cause warming effects around the globe due to the warmer water in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Thus, 2017 was the warmest year without an El Niņo event.  Continue reading>>


Conservation Notes

Environmental Remediation and Restoration:  A “10,000-ft” View
Time and DDT

There are an increasing number of completed and on-going scientific studies of water quality and the biotic communities in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) ecosystem.  These studies, based on a foundation of sound science and evolving data, have been used to justify, design and analyze the on-going, environmental remediation and restoration activities among municipal, county, state and federal agencies.   Continue reading>>


Central Florida RCC Update

In early January Interim Executive Director Julie Wraithmell held a conference call with chapter leaders to summarize Audubon Florida’s focus for the 2018 legislative session.   Governor Scott recommended funding for conservation, but it is up to the legislature to determine the numbers.  Senator Bradley introduced SB 370 and SB 204, including $100 million to Florida Forever and $75 and $50 million, respectively for springs and the St Johns WMD.  No corresponding bills have been introduced in the House at this writing. 

Continue Reading>>


Tomoka Regional Science and Engineering Fair

For many years, the three Volusia Audubon clubs participated in the Tomoka Regional Science and Engineering Fair with the Volusia County Schools.  We provide Special Awards  judges and cash prizes to students who have the best projects in our area of interest - environmental, conservation, alternative energy, climate change, etc.  This year’s judges were Steve Underwood (HRAS), Eli Schaperow (WVAS), and Don Picard (SEVAS).


For names of winners, continue reading>>


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, Feb 8, 2018, at the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach. Dan Gribbin, Halifax River Audubon Board Member At-Large, photographer and creator of greeting cards, will talk about "Shorebird Breeding Islands: The Young and the Restless." Here is his bio and program synopsis.  


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Field Activities

Another month with two field trips,this time both on a Friday.  On Fri, Feb 9 we depart the usual place at 7:15 for Orlando Wetlands Park.  There will be  NO TRAM available.  Walking only. On Fri, Feb 23, we will depart at 7:30 for the a driving tour of Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. 


Last month's field trip was to Merritt Island NWR.   Check out the Birding Stories Blog for the reports and photos.


Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.


Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count will be held from Feb 16-19.  Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at birdcount.org.


Each checklist submitted during the GBBC helps researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society learn more about how birds are doing, and how to protect them and the environment we share.


Marine Discovery Center February Lecture

Dolphins

Are you curious about how dolphins are doing, or what to do if you find a stranded dolphin?  Teresa Jablonski, senior research assistant at Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, will discuss dolphins and their challenges in a lecture on Thursday, Feb. 15, starting at 6 p.m., at the Marine Dicovery Center.

 

Birding and Wildlife Festivals

Registration is now open for the 2018 Palm Coast Birds of a Feather Fest which starts on Friday, Feb 9, 2018.  Check out their website for details.


The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland is sponsoring a "Wind Beneath our Wings Event" on Sunday, Feb 18, 2018.  Check their website for more info. 


Sign up for our alerts and notifications


May 2018 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

Thanks for a great year.  Looking forward to next.

It is hard to believe that another year has passed.  It was a great season with superb speakers and lots of fun field trips. Of course, the last meeting resulted in another re-election of all officers.  Thanks to all of them who are willing to serve once again. 

And thanks as well to the folks who volunteered to take on some of the other tasks to support the club.  It really helps to spread the wealth around.  These include coordinating the Tomoka Regional Science Fair and the Winter shorebird survey, “Get to Know Your Island” birding beach walks for the city of NSB, and taking on the membership program.   
Continue reading>>


CENTRAL FL REGIONAL CONSERVATION COMMITTEE

Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, Maitland

Sunday, April 15, 2018


Charles Lee gave a breakdown from the approved budget of $100.8 million for the programs that comprise Florida Forever, including: $77 million for environmentally endangered lands (lake state parks, wildlife management areas and state forests; $5.8 million for Rural and Family lands easements  $10 million for Florida Communities Trust; $2 million for Working Waterfronts; and $6 million for FL Recreation Development Assistance Program and children’s park amenities

In March Gov. Scott signed HB 7043/SB1402, State assumption of Federal Section 404 Dredge and Fill Permitting, giving Florida DEP authority to approve permits under the Federal The Clean Water Act. The Army Corps of Engineers retains permitting over navigable and adjacent waters. The issue will be which waters are considered navigable. AF supports the Corp retaining the broadest possible interpretation of navigable; i.e.: not just open water but contiguous wetlands. Public comment on this issue can be emailed to Navigability_Determination@usace.army.mil. Details and background about navigable waters within the State of Florida are found here.

Under Chapter activities, Halifax River Audubon reported that a proposal for a large marina at the Port Orange Bridge was not approved in 2009 but has been resurrected following approval of the new dredge-and-fill permitting law. The adjacent spoil island was designated a Critical wildlife Area in December 2017 and the water is definitely navigable which bodes well for denial of a permit.   Click here for full minutes.


Marine Discovery Center May Lecture

“The Journey of Bees and Beekeepers – Understanding Our Partnership With This Amazing Insect” will be the topic of the Marine Discovery Center’s May public lecture.


Doug McGinnis, who has served for nine years on the National Honey Board, and has been an officer in the National Honey Packers and Dealers Association, as well as the American Beekeeping Federation, will be the guest speaker.


The presentation is set for Thursday, May 17, starting at 6 p.m. The lecture is hosted by the Marine Discovery Center, located at 520 Barracuda Boulevard in New Smyrna Beach.


A special honey tasting will take place at the center prior to the lecture from 5-6 p.m. Several varieties of locally sourced honey, including black mangrove honey and Brazilian pepper honey, will be available for tasting and purchase at MDC during that time.


At the lecture, McGinnis will discuss the role and duties of beekeepers today as they carry bees around the country to make honey and pollinate food crops, and how this corresponds to the life cycle of honeybees.


Wings Over Florida

Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission

WOF is a program where the FWC issues beautiful certificates to people who show they have seen and identified a certain number of birds in Florida.  Certificates are issued for 25, 50, 100, 200, 300 and 400 Florida-sighted birds.  Many years ago, we worked with the program and were allowed to sign and issue certificates, but that has changed.  Now you can apply online here.  Birds must have been seen on FL, in the wild, and not be exotic species.


Halifax River Audubon Program features Michael Brothers

He will speak at Sica Hall in Holly Hill, May 21st, at 7:00 p.m. on the Mysteries of Bird Migration. 


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, Nov 8, 2018, at 7:00 p.m., at the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach. Program will be announced in the future. I hope to have the full slate of programs by early September.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Field Activities

Join us for a trip to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm on Friday, May 18th.  It is a great opportunity to see nesting herons, egrets, Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbills at arm's length.  Check out my report of a visit several years ago, with slide show of photos, to be inspired. 


Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.

 

Birding and Wildlife Festivals

Join me at the New Smyrna Beach library for a program on How to Bird.  It is part of their annual "How-to Festival".  Check out other skills as well.


Sign up for our alerts and notifications


April 2018 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

HELP WANTED, PLEASE

It’s that time of year again when I ask for help from the members of the club.  People who have been in office for many years, would like a respite.  I know the Treasurer and Secretary would like to be replaced.  And believe me, for the last couple of years since the the filling of critical positions such as VP, Publicity Chair, Program Chair, etc, we have met under John’s leadership, to try to cultivate new, active members for the club, who might become board members in the future.  It has not been as productive as we would have hoped, but we are still actively working on it.  Continue reading>>


Conservation Notes

Decision to exempt Florida offshore waters from oil and gas exploitation reversed


Remember in January, The Department of the Interior announced opening nearly the entire Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf shores to oil and gas exploration and drilling?  Our illustrious governor, looking to shore up his environmental bona fides before announcing his bid for Senator Nelson’s seat, said that he would talk with DOI Secretary Zinke about exempting Florida from the plan.  Zinke, in a tweet, sang the praises of Scott, and said there would be no drilling in offshore Florida waters.  Scott beamed about his ‘victory’.  Maybe too soon.  Continue reading>>


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, Apr 12, 2018, at the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach. There will be NO formal program.  It is a pot luck and election of officers.  NOTE CHANGE OF TIME: 5:30 P.M.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Field Activities

April field trips include Oakland Park Nature Preserve on Saturday, Apr 14th, and Mead Gardens and Leu Gardens on Fri, Apr 20th.  Depart from the uaual place at 7:30 a.m.


Last month, we went to Viera Wetlands and Hontoon Island State Park in DeLand.  Check out the Birding Stories Blog posts for details.


Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.


Audubon Birding App has a new look.

If you have not seen the new face of the Audubon Birding Field Guide, you are missing a treat.  It has all the info on specific birds in one place.  Just scroll down the page.  It also has the bird id function of Cornel University's Merlin Bird id, but not the photo part.  If you don't have the app, it is available for both IOS and Android, and is FREE.

Marine Discovery Center April Lecture

Endangered Sawfish

Tonya Wiley, president of Havenworth Coastal Conservation in Palmetto, Fla., will be the guest speaker for the presentation, set for Thursday, April 19, starting at 6 p.m. The lecture is hosted by the Marine Discovery Center, located at 520 Barracuda Boulevard in New Smyrna Beach.


Topic will be: “Sawfish of Florida: Past, Present and Future”


For more information about the lecture, contact the Marine Discovery Center at 386-428-4828.

 

Birding and Wildlife Festivals

The Volusia Water Alliance presents the "Water Festival 2018-Water's Journey"" on April 28th at 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on West Indiana Ave in downtown DeLand.  For more info


The Marine Discovery Center hosts its annual Lagoonacy day on Saturday, April 21st.


The Marine Science Center hosts it annual Turtle Day on Saturday, April 28th.


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March 2018 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

Wetlands loss, sea-level rise, and the Trump infrastructure plan

There is a story in the NY Times on February 24th discussing the loss of wetlands in Southern Louisiana, and equally as importantly, the plight of the inhabitants of small towns being surrounded by bayous instead of marshy wetlands.  The focus is on a hamlet called Jean Lafitte, whose 7000 citizens want to stay. They are within sight of the levees protecting New Orleans, but their only recourse is to move.  So far, they refuse.

 Continue reading>>


Conservation Notes

The Mosquito Lagoon/Indian River Lagoon: The Precautionary Principle


The precautionary principle states that “if an action or policy is a suspected risk of causing harm to the public, or to the environment, and there is absence of scientific consensus that the action or policies are harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking action that may or may not be a risk.” [Wiki] This principle should obtain immediately for any development that impacts the watershed of Mosquito Lagoon/Indian River Lagoon, an estuarine environment which was once a stable eco-system where abundant species of vertebrates and invertebrates could thrive in living water.  Continue reading>>


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, Mar 8, 2018, at the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach. Sam Fried, President, Flights of Fancy Adventures, LLC, will present a program on warblers.  Here is his bio.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Field Activities

Another month with two field trips.  On Sat, Mar 10,  we depart the usual place at 7:30 for Viera Wetlands.  On Thurs, Mar 15, we depart at 8:30 for a boat tour on the St John's River with the Blue Heron Boat Tour. Boat departs from Deland dock at 10:00.  Cost s $20.00 per person. Contact Joe at 386-882-8679 if you want to go on the boat tour.  We also depart from the KMart parking lot, on SR 44 in NSB opposite the Half Wall pub at 8:30 a.m.  So folks who live in NSB do not have to drive to Edgewater just to drive back to SR 44


Last month's trips were to Orlando Wetlands Park and Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive.   Check out the Birding Stories Blog for the reports and photos.


Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.


 

Birding and Wildlife Festivals


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February 2018 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

The Warming Planet vs Big Oil’s Greed

Accuweather.com reports that the earth’s global surface temperatures in 2017 ranked as the second warmest since global estimates became possible in 1880, according to a NASA analysis.


It is second only to global temperatures in 2016, where temperatures were bolstered by El Niņo.  El Niņo can cause warming effects around the globe due to the warmer water in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Thus, 2017 was the warmest year without an El Niņo event.  Continue reading>>


Conservation Notes

Environmental Remediation and Restoration:  A “10,000-ft” View
Time and DDT

There are an increasing number of completed and on-going scientific studies of water quality and the biotic communities in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) ecosystem.  These studies, based on a foundation of sound science and evolving data, have been used to justify, design and analyze the on-going, environmental remediation and restoration activities among municipal, county, state and federal agencies.   Continue reading>>


Central Florida RCC Update

In early January Interim Executive Director Julie Wraithmell held a conference call with chapter leaders to summarize Audubon Florida’s focus for the 2018 legislative session.   Governor Scott recommended funding for conservation, but it is up to the legislature to determine the numbers.  Senator Bradley introduced SB 370 and SB 204, including $100 million to Florida Forever and $75 and $50 million, respectively for springs and the St Johns WMD.  No corresponding bills have been introduced in the House at this writing. 

Continue Reading>>


Tomoka Regional Science and Engineering Fair

For many years, the three Volusia Audubon clubs participated in the Tomoka Regional Science and Engineering Fair with the Volusia County Schools.  We provide Special Awards  judges and cash prizes to students who have the best projects in our area of interest - environmental, conservation, alternative energy, climate change, etc.  This year’s judges were Steve Underwood (HRAS), Eli Schaperow (WVAS), and Don Picard (SEVAS).


For names of winners, continue reading>>


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, Feb 8, 2018, at the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach. Dan Gribbin, Halifax River Audubon Board Member At-Large, photographer and creator of greeting cards, will talk about "Shorebird Breeding Islands: The Young and the Restless." Here is his bio and program synopsis.  


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Field Activities

Another month with two field trips,this time both on a Friday.  On Fri, Feb 9 we depart the usual place at 7:15 for Orlando Wetlands Park.  There will be  NO TRAM available.  Walking only. On Fri, Feb 23, we will depart at 7:30 for the a driving tour of Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. 


Last month's field trip was to Merritt Island NWR.   Check out the Birding Stories Blog for the reports and photos.


Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.


Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count will be held from Feb 16-19.  Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at birdcount.org.


Each checklist submitted during the GBBC helps researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society learn more about how birds are doing, and how to protect them and the environment we share.


Marine Discovery Center February Lecture

Dolphins

Are you curious about how dolphins are doing, or what to do if you find a stranded dolphin?  Teresa Jablonski, senior research assistant at Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, will discuss dolphins and their challenges in a lecture on Thursday, Feb. 15, starting at 6 p.m., at the Marine Dicovery Center.

 

Birding and Wildlife Festivals

Registration is now open for the 2018 Palm Coast Birds of a Feather Fest which starts on Friday, Feb 9, 2018.  Check out their website for details.


The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland is sponsoring a "Wind Beneath our Wings Event" on Sunday, Feb 18, 2018.  Check their website for more info. 


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Dec 2017 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

Oil leaks and spills are no deterrent to permitting more oil facilities.

Here are some of the headlines regarding oil mishaps in the U.S. in recent months:


“Keystone pipeline leaks 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota.”   “About 5,000 barrels of oil, or about 210,000 gallons, gushed out of the Keystone Pipeline on Thursday in South Dakota, blackening a grassy field in the remote northeast part of the state and sending cleanup crews and emergency workers scrambling to the site.”   Continue reading>>


Conservation Notes

Florida Friendly Yards: Lessons from Aldo Leopold

Aldo Leopold (1887 – 1949) was a forester, professor, ecologist and philosopher/essayist of natural history and biotic communities. One of his principal works was A Sand County Almanac (1949) which explored what Leopold termed a “land ethic.”  This book is one of the basic teaching and guiding texts for the multiple generations of conservationists, ecologists and environmentalists that have been influenced by his work and writings.   continue reading>>



facebook icon  Follow us on Facebook

For those of you who use Facebook Richard has just created a new Page for our group to post announcements, events, and field trip pictures and stories.  You can find our Page here.  Click on the "Follow" link near the top of our Page and select "See First" so new posts from our Page will appear near the top of your own "Personal Profile" when you login.  Field Trip and Meeting information will be posted in the Events section so you can check what's coming up and join in. 


Panhandle Birding and North American Wolf Encounter

December 7–10, 2017

Orange Audubon is sponsoring a trip on Dec 7–10, 2017 to the Florida Panhandle for birding at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and two spots in the Red Hills Region: Tall Timbers Research Station (TTRS) and the privately-owned Greenwood Plantation; and Seacrest Wolf Preserve, home to North American Wolves. The weekend birding guide, Jim Cox, is a biologist and director of the vertebrate ecology program at TTRS. The weekend includes 4 birding/botany field trips, other natural history indulgences, and a private, hands-on tour at Seacrest Wolf Preserve.


There are still spaces available.  For further information, check out their November newsletter, and contact Teresa Williams for details and to reserve field trip spots, a room at Walter Lodge or a camping spot under the big trees: (407) 644-0796 or mwilliams@cfl.rr.com. 


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, Dec 14 at the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach. Dr. Maia McGuire, UF/IFAS Extension Florida Sea Grant Agent, will talk on the problems of microplastics being ingested by sea animals and what we can do about them.  Here is her bio and program synopsis.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Field Activities

This year, we started a series of Saturday field trips.  Formerly, the Audubon groups have not done this since the popular venues are often too crowded, and the one-way roads are too narrow to be comfortable sor serious birding.  However, we did get some suggestions from the last Lagoonacy at the Marine Discovery Center that working people and people who have school-aged children cannot attend Friday field trips.  So we are trying to accomodate these folks in the hopes of increasing our paticipation. We had a Saturday field trip last month, and this month's will also be on Saturday. Come and join us.


Last month's field trips were to Indian River Lagoon Park and Lake Woodruff NWR.  Check out the birding stories blog for the reports and photos.


Our next field trip is to Riverbreeze Park in Oak Hill, on Sat. Dec 9.  Meet at the normal place at 7:30 a.m.


Our second field trip for December will be the Ponce Inlet Christmas Bird Count on Dec 30.  Meet at the Brannon Center in NSB at 7:00 a.m. for assignments.


Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.


Ponce Inlet Christmas Bird Count

The Ponce Inlet Christmas Bird Count will be held on Saturday, Dec 30, 2017.  If you are interested in participating, please email me at sevas.skimmer@gmail.com.  If you are new to the activity, I will place you with veterans so you can learn the routine and not be overwhelmed.


Wrap-up Dinner will be at 5:00 p.m. at Blackbeard's in NSB. 


Birding and Wildlife Festivals

The Lake Apopka Wildlife Festival & Birdapalooza Birding Festival, January 18-21, 2018, is perfect for birders visiting Florida or locals wanting to learn more from well-known, knowledgeable birding guides. Add to your life list at an amazing birding area, the 20,000-acre Lake Apopka North Shore. Twenty trips, led by Greg Miller, Clay Taylor (Swarovski Optik), David Simpson and some of Central Florida’s best local birders, are offered, along with two dinners and keynotes. For details and registration the link above.



The Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival is Jan 24-29.  The website  is live for registration. As the site says: "Discover why Florida's Space Coast is your launch pad to incredible nature-based experiences. World Class Photographers, Field Workshops, Presentations & Classes. Come see why we're the largest Birding & Wildlife Festival in the United States."

Registration is now open for the 2018 Palm Coast Birds of a Feather Fest which starts on Friday, Feb 9, 2018.  Check out their website for details.


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Nov 2017 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

Water for Florida's Future

Over the last two weekends, I attended two Florida-water-based events, Audubon Assembly in St Augustine (Water for Florida’s Future) and the Volusia Water Alliance Fall Symposium in Deland.


They were both exceptionally interesting events and , though they had similarities and focus,  I will talk about the Audubon Assembly here, and the Fall Symposium in an article below.

Continue reading>>


Conservation Notes

Some Notes on Environmental Concerns and Actions

Banning Hydraulic Fracturing  in the State of Florida


Senator Dana Young (R-Tampa) and Representative Kathleen Peters (R-Treasure Island) have introduced legislation this year (Senate Bill 462; House Bill 237) to ban the gas production practice known as hydraulic fracturing (aka “fracking”) in the State of Florida. 


Senator Young’s bill passed the Senate last year.  However, it failed to pass in the Florida House, despite being co-sponsored by about a quarter of the Representatives This year anti-fracking legislation is predicted to have a better chance of passing in the House and continues to have strong support in the Florida Senate.    Continue Reading>>



Marine Discovery Center-Daytona State College Sh.O.R.E

The Marine Discovery Center and Daytona State College will again host Sh.O.R.E. – Sharing Our Research with Everyone -- an annual symposium designed to address current issues and research relating to the Indian River Lagoon (IRL).


The third annual, all-day event will be held Friday, Dec. 1, at the Brannon Civic Center at 105 South Riverside Drive in New Smyrna Beach.


Best-selling author and 2017 “Champions of Change” award recipient Wallace J. Nichols, will be the keynote speaker

Dr. Nichols published in 2014 his book, “Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How being Near, In, On or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better At What You Do.”


The Sh.O.R.E. event is free to the public, but preregistration is required. Seating will be limited.

For more information and to preregister, visit www.DaytonaState.edu/ShORE. Online preregistration deadline will be Nov. 29.



News from Central  Florida Regional  Conservation Committee

Audubon Assembly opened at lunch on Friday, October 20, and concluded following full membership approval of the 2018 conservation action agenda.   Three workshops--Water Policy Bootcamp, Landscaping for Water & Wildlife and Changing Hearts & Minds:  How to Effectively Influence Policymakers—were well-attended and included lively discussions between chapter members, AF staff and State and local decision-makers.   As written in the last RCC update, the new lobbying strategy of educating a legislator about a particular piece of conservation land and arranging a site visit were recommended again and again.

Continue Reading>>


Congratulations to Eric Draper

Eric Draper, Executive Director of Audubon Florida, has been selected to serve as the Director of the Florida State Park system.  He has done a yoeman job at the helm of Audubon Florida, and the Audubon family of Florida has been instrumental in protecting the parks from development of camping and golf courses and adding logging and grazing to their woes. 


Parks have a dual function: protecting specific environmnents, habitats and aquifer recharge areas,  and public recreation. 


We wish Eric well as he steps into this politically-charged and challenging job.



VOLUSIA WATER ALLIANCE
Fall Symposium

So 2/3ds of the water bodies in Florida do not meet standards due to algae, other pollution, turbidity, flow levels, etc.  Most of the State’s water bodies are considered “water resource cautionary.” There were 36 springs in South Florida 20 years ago.  Today there are none. 

Continue Reading>>


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, Nov 9 at the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach.  Sally Cummings, an avid master gardener, will speak on "Attracting Butterflies and Hummingbirds to the garden: Larval nectar plants; common local butterflies and their lifecycles.  Here is her bio.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Field Activities

Last month' field trip was to Buschman Park.  Check out the birding stories blog for the report and photos.


Our next field trip is to Indian River Lagoon Park, which is beach side in New Smyrna Beach (700 Sandpiper Avenue).  Join the group at the IRL park at 8:00am.  NOTE: This is a change from the normal meeting place.


Our second field trip for November will be to Lake Woodruff NWR on Friday, November 17.  Meet at the usual place at 7:00 a.m.


Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals

The Lake Apopka Wildlife Festival & Birdapalooza Birding Festival, January 18-21, 2018, is perfect for birders visiting Florida or locals wanting to learn more from well-known, knowledgeable birding guides. Add to your life list at an amazing birding area, the 20,000-acre Lake Apopka North Shore. Twenty trips, led by Greg Miller, Clay Taylor (Swarovski Optik), David Simpson and some of Central Florida’s best local birders, are offered, along with two dinners and keynotes. For details and registration the link above.



The Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival is Jan 24-29.  The website  is live for registration. As the site says: "Discover why Florida's Space Coast is your launch pad to incredible nature-based experiences. World Class Photographers, Field Workshops, Presentations & Classes. Come see why we're the largest Birding & Wildlife Festival in the United States."


Orange  Audubon sponsors "Panhandle Birding and North American Wolf Encounter."


This season’s away-from-home trip on Dec 7–10, 2017 takes us back to the Florida Panhandle for birding at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and two spots in the Red Hills Region: Tall Timbers Research Station (TTRS) and the privately-owned Greenwood Plantation; and Seacrest Wolf Preserve, home to North American Wolves.

Our weekend birding guide, Jim Cox, is a biologist and director of the vertebrate ecology program at TTRS. The weekend includes 4 birding/botany field trips, other natural history indulgences, and a private, hands-on tour at Seacrest Wolf Preserve.


More info on their meetup page or by emailing mwilliams@cfl.rr.com.


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Oct 2017 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

Welcome to the 2017-2018 season of SEVAS.

Best wishes to all.  I hope all is well after the hurricanes and trust that those who are returning from the North are pleasantly surprised by what they find on their return.


REMINDER:  There is no meeting in October.  We started that last year since most of our attending membership consists of snowbirds who do not return to FL until late Oct.


Our next meeting will be Nov 9th at the Marine Discovery Center.  The schedule of meetings and programs is on the website on the meetings page.  I hope you will enjoy this year’s offering.


Continue reading>>


Conservation Notes

Some Brief Comments and Observations

Studying, creating, and implementing responses to the effects of sea-level rise in the State of Florida are now deeply embedded in the curricula of many colleges, both public and private in this state. A front-page article in the Daytona News-Journal (Oct 08, 2017) detailed this acknowledgment within the academic community of sea-level rise and its effects on our coastal and estuarine environments, both the natural, the built, and the re-engineered. This cross-department acknowledgement goes well-beyond the environmental, marine, and biological sciences and engineering studies and includes such disciplines as history, political science, anthropology, business studies, city planning, and the law. This widespread recognition in the academic community has resulted in a creative mixture of approaches to defining and responding to this effect linked to aworld-wide climate that is changing with-- relative to geological time scales-- unprecedented rapidity. The effects of sea-level rise, long acknowledged, for example, by the U.S. Navy and its facilities planning units, is now an accepted context to academic and applied studies.    Continue Reading>>



Marine Discovery Center October Lecture

The October monthly lecture at the Marine Discovery Center will examine the health of the ecosystem in the recently reclaimed salt marsh that once was the site of New Smyrna Beach High School.


Presenting the salt-marsh update will be Dr. Melinda Donnelly, a researcher and instructor in the department of biology at the University of Central Florida. Donnelly began a community volunteer monitoring program in 2014 to document the changes in biodiversity before and after restoration of the MDC marsh.


The lecture will be held Thursday, Oct. 19, starting at 6 p.m., and will be hosted by the Marine Discovery Center, located at 520 Barracuda Boulevard in New Smyrna Beach.


The October lecture is open to the public at no charge and no reservations are required.


For more information about the lecture, contact the Marine Discovery Center at 386-428-4828.



The Fall Water Symposium Friday, October 27th

The Blue Spring Alliance and our partners from last year’s Water Festival, newly formed as the Volusia Water Alliance, are hosting a symposium to discuss the state of our springs and aquifer and what we can do to protect them. The theme of the symposium is water’s journey.


For more info and to register, visit their website.


Next Meeting

Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Field Activities

Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals

Pelican Island Audubon Birding festival, Oct. 13-15.  

To get their brochure and to register, check out their website.


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May 2017 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

It is Summer and the SEVAS season is over for this year.

It’s summer again, the snowbirds have left, along with most of the migrating birds.  We’ve had our last meeting of the year, and are looking forward to starting up again in November.  We have new ideas from our Membership Task Force and field trip sub-committee.  For more, see the article below.

The Florida legislature has also left town (Tallahassee) again refusing to do the will of the people.  They did not earmark any funds from Amendment 1 for land purchases to protect our rivers and springs.  Instead, they are still bleeding Amendment 1 funds to pay for items that should come from general revenues.They did fund a smaller than required reservoir for the discharge of polluted excess water from Okeechobee instead of the rivers and into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic.  How underwhelming.
Continue reading>>


VP report on Membership Task Force

The task force  submitted it's final report.  Board action has been taken, and the results were reported to the general membership at the April meeting. To see a pdf version of the slide presentation, click here.


Subsequently, Richard Fasse held a meeting of the field trips expansion committee to discuss new approaches for our field trips, including weekend field trips to accomodate people who work durng the week and people with school age children.  Also included was a discussion of a table at the NSB Public Market with the possibility of urban birding trips and demonstrations of techniques such as digiscoping and how to set up binoculars.



News From Audubon Florida

Paula Wehr is Past-President of Halifax River AS and our representative to the Audubon Florida Regional Conservation Committee.  She presents this article on how the RCC works and what it does for chapters. 

Continue Reading>>


Minutes of the April  Meeting

After a delectable pot luck dinner, there were two orders of business.  John Pierce and Richard Fasse gave a presentation on the results of the Membership Task Force Committee.  Don will introduce the specific actions at the next meeting in November.  The second order business was the election of officers for the  next season.  All the current officers were retained.  We look forward to an exciting 2017-18 season, with new initiatives to stimulate an increase in active members.


Next Meeting

There will be no more meetings this season. 


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


April Field Activities Report

Our last field trip of the year was to Spruce Creek Park and Dunlawton Bridge Park on April  10.  We hope to see you next season.


Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals


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April 2017 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

Pushing EPA Responsibilities to the States Not Practical

In last month’s column, I discussed what dismantling the EPA would do to Florida in light of the Scott administration’s anti-environmental bent.  Scott emasculated the DEP, got rid of the Department of Community Affairs, put cronies (not scientists) in charge of the water management districts, and forbade state employees from talking about climate change.

Ostensibly, the Trump administration says it will deregulate from the federal level and push the regulatory powers down to the states. But there are many states with Republican governors and state houses that will go for the polluters that line their pockets, rather than protecting their citizens from harm. Continue reading>>


VP report on Membership Task Force

The task force has submitted it's final report.  Board action has been taken, and the results will be reported to the general membership at the April meeting.


John

Conservation Notes

Local Actions are Important to Our Florida Environment

Section 7 of Article II, General Provisions, of the Constitution of the State  of Florida, provides a clear statement that the actions of the legislature and state agents of Florida are to be defined and guided  by policies that serve to “conserve and protect” the Florida environment.


SECTION 7. Natural resources and scenic beauty.—
(a) It shall be the policy of the state to conserve and protect its natural resources and scenic beauty. Adequate provision shall be made by law for the abatement of air and water pollution and of excessive and unnecessary noise and for the conservation and protection of natural resources.

This guiding principle has long been in the Florida Constitution but many of the actions of our state legislators and state agents have shown that they have either ignored this codified principle or interpreted it in ways that promotes or allow, further degradation of the natural environment of Florida. Continue Reading>>


Minutes of the March  Meeting

The minutes of the March meeting are on line.  Check them out here.

Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 13th of April, 2017. It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 5:30 to 7 p.m. There will be no program that evening.  It is a pot luck dinner with a short business meeting following.   Order of business will be Membership Task Force presentation and election of club officers for next season.

Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


March Field Activities Report

In March, we went to Viera Wetlands  I will try to catch up with  the birding stories blog as soon as possible.



Next Field Trips


Our last field trip of the year was to Spruce Creek Park and Dunlawton Bridge Park on April  10.  We hopeto see you next season.


Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.


Volusia IRL Coalition to hold Island Clean-up

I received the following email from Bob Chew, founder of the Volusia IRL Coalition.  There is a desperate need to clean up an island in our area. 


“I went out to the island opposite Veteran’s Memorial Park in Edgewater (I think it is called Ski Island) and could not believe how much trash is out there.  If we have enough volunteers, we can clean up other islands.  The last time we did a cleanup, we got all the trash so this was a real shock to me.  We are going to have a Clean-up Day on Thursday, April 13th at 1:00.  I will meet volunteers at the Kennedy Park Boat Ramp in Edgewater and take them to the island(s) in my boat.  We will have trash bags, trash cans, some gloves and rakes and should be done by 3:30.”


It is appalling that people who use the islands across from our parks in Edgewater have such disregard for the natural beauty and tranquility of the islands. The attached photo illustrates the seriousnesss of the damage.   If you can help, please contact bob@rwchew.com.



Marine Discovery Center Lagoonacy

Thanks to all who participated in the SEVAS booth at the Lagoonacy on April 1st.  It was by far the most successful of all such outreach activities in recent years from the point of view of additions to our mailing list and potential new members.


Marine Discovery Center Lecture Series

Chad Truxall and Katrina Locke will present a program entitled: “It’s Not Easy Being Green -- Or Is It?” on Thursday, April 20th at 6 p.m. at the MDC.  Open to the public.  Check out their website for more info.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals


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Mar 2017 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

What Happens in Florida if the EPA is Abolished?

U.S. Representative Matt Goetz, R-FL, introduced a bill in Congress to eliminate the EPA in 2018 and push environmental regulation responsibilities to the states.  What is worse is that the new administrtor of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, says people who want to abolish his agency are "justified".  So how will that play out in Florida where the governor emasculated the DEP, replaced scientists with cronies at the helms of the water management districts, fired scientists who continued to push climate change.  Our waters are a mess and Scott's abolition of the Department of Community Affairs ensures that massive developments can be planned and executed with little or no State interference or oversight.  Continue reading>>


VP report on Membership Task Force

The task force has submitted it's final report.  Board action has been taken, and the results will be reported to the general membership at the March meeting.


John

Conservation Notes

Conventionally Constructed Parking Lots vs Green Parking lots

One of the most obvious effects of the development of retail and office space along Hwy 44 east and west of I-95 is the clearing of land and the scraping and moving of the soil to place parking lots on a formerly living space.  As usually built, these lots are large fields of concrete and asphalt painted with lines and lit by towers of high-intensity lighting.  This type of “construction-as-usual” has a deleterious effect on the local environment. Continue Reading>>


Minutes of the February  Meeting

The minutes of the February meeting are on line.  Check them out here.

Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 9th of March, 2017. It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m. Gina Holt, Wild About Birds, Inc. gives us a presentation on Florida Raptors (with a selection of special guests - Katie, Frodo, Tomahawk and/or Mike).  Bring your kids and Grandkids. Here is  her bio. To learn about her work and company, see www.wildaboutbirds.org.

Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


February Field Activities Report

In February, we went to Merritt Island NWR and the Blue Heron Water Treatment Facility and Wetlands.  I will try to blog both of them on the birding stories blog as soon as possible.


The FWC sponsored Annual Winter Shorebird Survey went well with four teams covering our Atlantic beach and the Indian River Lagoon by boat and car.  We did manage to get some targetted species like the Piping Plover and Red Knots.  However, I had seen many more of them during my weekly cardio walks of the beach than we did during the count.  Got pictures! Where did they go?  Thanks to all who participated. 

Next Field Trips


Our next field trip will be to Viera Wetlands on Mar 10. 


Meet at the usual place at 7:30 a.m. Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals

Lagoonacy, April 1,2017, Marine Discovery Center.


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Feb 2017 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

Bad News and Good News

It was an exciting and exhilarating week plus in in the Baja California, which is in Mexico.  Maureen and I went on an expedition there to be up close and personal with the great whales and other sea creatures for two weeks.  There was no TV and we did not have internet.  But that ended on Feb 24 as the everyday reality set in.


Newly inaugurated President Trump mandatied reviews by newly appointed bureaucrats of scientific data collections and papers on climate science. He also ordered  Department of the Interior Twitter account shut down after a negative tweet about him. He  signed executive orders clearing the way for the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines to move forward and to expedite environmental reviews of other infrastructure projects, lamenting the existing ‘incredibly cumbersome, long, horrible permitting process.’


But there is hope.  Continue reading>>


VP report on Membership Task Force

The task force met at Bill and Marsha Cox’s house on January 23.  We focused on several issues:


    Tracking and holding current members

    Community visibility

    Field trips as added value to participants

    SEVAS money needs

    Expanding working committees as we get more active members


The next meeting will be at the Fasse household on Feb 5.  We hope to have a plan of action by the March meeting.


John

Conservation Notes

Lamont was not available to provide a Conservation Notes update for this month.  


Minutes of the January  Meeting

The minutes of the January meeting are on line.  Check them out here.

Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 9th of February, 2017. It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m. Chad Truxall, Executive Director of the Marine Discovery Center will talk about Project H2O and the State of the Indian River Lagoon and Associated Surface Waters.  Here is his bio.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


January Field Activities Report

In January, we went to Orlando Wetlands Park. 


The Christmas Bird Count was very successful despite the fact that some of our volunteers were not in town.  Thirty-three people went into the field. The dinner at Blackbeard’s Inn was great.  Folks really enjoyed it.  The tally was 139 species seen, including at least one not seen before.  We look forward to the adjudication of the  Black-capped Vireo.  Thanks to all who participated. 

Next Field Trips


Our next field trip will be to Merritt Island NWR.


On Friday, Feb 24, we go to the Blue Heron Water Reclamation Facility and Wetland Area.


For either trip, meet at the usual place at 7:30 a.m. Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals

Palm Coast Birds of a Feather Fest, Feb 10-12.

Great Backyard Bird Count ,Feb 17-20, 2016.

Lagoonacy, April 1,2017, Marine Discovery Center.


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Jan 2017 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

Sabal Trail Pipeline

The Dakota Access Pipeline has been in the news a lot lately, mostly because of the Native American protests against the potential threat to their drinking water if the pipeline under the Missouri River breaks, releasing Bakken Shale fracked oil. Work on the that pipeline has been on and off depending on the status of the permits with all the litigation.


Not so here with the $3.2-billion, 515-mile Sabal Trail Pipeline, which is planned to deliver 1 billion cubic feet of fracked natural gas a day from the Marcellus Shale to Florida energy companies.

Continue reading>>


Conservation Notes

Update to CWA Status for the Port Orange Rookery

It is anticipated that the Critical Wildlife Area (CWA) designation for the Port Orange Colony (V-7_ will yet become a reality.  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)is reviewing the seasonal off-limits guidance for the nesting area, and will work with the Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND) board members and Audubon representatives to ensure that future dredging activities (if any) are carried out in a manner sensitive to the needs of this rookery island.  It is also possible that dredging could fill in the east side of the island, adding to the potential area for establishing the mangroves required by nesting Brown Pelicans and egrets. This is very good news for this long-established rookery for Brown Pelicans and other species.


Conservation Notes

Since the economy has stabilized from the recession of 2008-2009, the pace of development in Florida has greatly increased.   Locally, several parcels of land bordering Highway 44, from a half-mile west of Mission Road to well-beyond I-95, have recently been cleared for moderate to large-scale business developments.   These bulldozed and raw-scraped lands are indicators that blocky, logoed buildings and parking lots have already, or will soon, displace the local fauna and flora that formerly thrived in these once-open fields, second and third-growth forests, and palmetto scrub. Continue reading>>


Volusia Indian River Lagoon Coalition

We all know about the difficulties facing the Indian River Lagoon.  Algal blooms resulted in the loss of incredible acres of seagrasses and are responsible for newsworthy fish kills.  A local organization hopes to have an ipact on the problem.


Launched on April 2. 2016, the Volusia Indian River Lagoon Coalition is focused on protesting the Mosquito Lagoon section of the Indian River Lagoon.  With a diverse group that includes fishing guides, environmental attorneys, construction managers, a retired law enforcement officer, local business owners and consultants, eco-tour guides and professional writers, the members are committed to spreading the word avout the dangers the lagoon faces if citizens don't act now. 


According to their website, the Volusia Indian River Lagoon Coalition's mission is to protect and restore the Mowquito Lagoon and surrounding waters.


I encourage you to check out their website and see for yourself the scope of the problem, and what you as an individual can do to help the Lagoon.


New Marine Discovery Center Program

The Marine Discovery Center announced it’s new adult education class entitled; ‘Protect Our Lagoon Academy.”  The program will be held over six weeks, starting Feb. 6, and concluding on March 13. Each Monday class session will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will include field trips, guest speakers, and learning opportunities both in the classroom and in the field.  For more info, and to enroll, go to their website http://www.marinediscoverycenter.org/ .


Executive Committee Meeting

As you may have observed, the active membership has declined over the past few years and we have to concentrate on this as a priority.


We had an Executive Committee meeting on Dec 16 to look at this and other issues that form the annual master plan for the club.  National Audubon requires it as part of the annual report and a pre-requisite to getting our baseline funding.

Vice President, John Pierce, formed a new task force to focus on membership growth.  The 1st meeting will take place after Jan 1, and we hope to have some preliminary results for the Jan. meeting.

We will be increasing our visibility during field trips by purchasing and deploying magnetic signs on the vehicle of the trip leader during field trips.

To enhance the value of field trips to our members, we will pursue combining our trips with other clubs.

To see the minutes of the meeting, click here.

To see the annual plan submitted to National Audubon, click here.


Minutes of the December  Meeting

The minutes of the November meeting are on line.  Check them out here.

Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 12th of January, 2017.   It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m. Traci Deen, JD; Director of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, will talk on The Rights of Nature and the 2017 Florida Constitutional Review.  Here is her bio.

Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


December Field Activities Report

In December, we went to Washington Oaks Garden State Park.  To see the summary and photos, go to the birding story blog.


The Christmas Bird Count was very successful despite the fact that some of our volunteers were not in town.  The dinner at Blackbeard’s Inn was great.  Folks really enjoyed it.  Latest tally was 125 species seen, including at least one not seen before.  We look forward to the adjudication of the  Black-capped Vireo.  Thanks to all who participated. 

Next Field Trip

Our next field trip will be to Orlando Wetlands Park on Friday, Fri. Jan 13: The staff will transport us around the wetlands by park buggy. Only fourteen spaces are available,so sign up by contacting  Joe Montpelier (386.882.8679).


Meet at the usual place at 7:15 a.m. Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals

Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, Jan 25-30.

Palm Coast Birds of a Feather Fest, Feb 10-12.

Great Backyard Bird Count ,Feb 17-20, 2016.

Lagoonacy, April 1,2017, Marine Discovery Center.


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Dec 2016 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

Florida, Water and Growth


Over the last 20 years, there have been countless studies about Florida’s water future.  How many have been heeded?  Certainly in the last few years, not many.  Smart Growth has been discontinued as a topic of discussion since the start of the Scott administration.  He reorganized the DEP, putting his cronies at the helm as well as at the helms of the water management districts.  The WMDs now are more responsible for smoothing out the permitting process than protecting our water supplies. He abolished the Development of Regional Impact agency which had a voice in regulating large scale developments .  Urban sprawl is now the norm rather than the exception.  

Continue reading>>


Requiem for Richard Domroski

Richard Domroski, a stalwart member of the club, and a great friend and advisor, passed away in November after a nearly year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. 


Dick was a member of the executive since before I was a  member of the club, which was in 1997.  He held several positions, and for the longest time managed, with his super wife,  Gail, the field trips and Christmas Bird Counts. 


He was also the Membership Chair, worked the 50/50 at the meetings and helped with countless outside activities like manning the SEVAS event tables or booths.


He is single-handedly responsible for the club’s existence.  There were several years when I was about to quit being president and he talked me into “just one more year.”  He always had a smile and was always ready to help out.  He and Gail scoped out the birding locations a few days before the scheduled field trips and made on the spot changes if there were too few birds there to warrant the time.  Sitting in the back seat of their truck during the drive to field trip locations was always a learning experience.


Since his diagnosis in January, he was always positive in his attitude.  Maureen and I saw him the day before he passed so he could brief me on the organization of the Christmas Bird Count.  It was as if he had accomplished his last official task for the club and now he could go.


We will miss him.   I will really miss him. Our sincerest condolences to Gail and their family.


Don


Conservation Notes

Critical Wildlife Areas and the Port Orange Colony

To provide additional protection to Florida’s most vulnerable wildlife populations the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) has established Critical Wildlife Areas (CWA) throughout the state.  CWAs were established under Rule 68A-19.005.  CWAs are areas that “host a significant concentration of wildlife subject to disturbance.”  This designation is important to both birds and to other wildlife (e.g. gopher tortoises, diamondback terrapins, and several species of threatened bats). 
Continue reading>>


Florida's Springs are in trouble.

The Springs Eternal Project with Lesley Gamble, John Moran and Rick Kilby

It is estimated that there are more than 700 springs in Florida, the largest concentration of freshwater springs on Earth. Florida has more first magnitude springs of any state or country in the world.  But some springs have already stopped flowing and some springs have been downgraded from first magnitude to lower magnitudes based on their water flows.


 Florida nature photographer John Moran, authored a photo book in 2004 entitled: “Journal of light : the visual diary of a Florida Nature Photographer”.  It was the culmination of 20 years of photographing Florida’s springs.  This astounding and inspirational book depicts the beauty and serenity of the springs and the many thousands of people enjoying them.


Maureen and I have canoed and kayaked several of Florida’s springs and have not found them in the same condition as we saw in the book. Continue reading>>


Minutes of the November  Meeting

The minutes of the November meeting are on line.  Check them out here.

Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 8th of Dec 2016.   It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m. Jim Rucquoi, a trained Climate Reality Leader, will talk on:  "Climate Realities – The Effects of Sea-Level Rise on the Beaches and Birds of Florida."  Here is his bio. 

Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


November Field Activities Report

In November, we went to Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. 



Next Field Trip

Our next field trip will be to Washington Oaks Gardens State Park on Friday, December 9th.  Meet at the usual place at 7:30 a.m. Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.


Marine Discovery Center Programs

Dr. Katie Tripp of Florida’s Save the Manatee Club will be the guest speaker for the December lecture at the Marine Discovery Center.


The lecture, “Manatee Conservation in Florida & Beyond,” will be held Thursday, Dec. 15, starting at 6 p.m., and will be hosted by the Marine Discovery Center, located at 520 Barracuda Boulevard in New Smyrna Beach.


Free Audubon Bird App Field Guide

National Audubon announced an updated version of the Audubon Bird Guide app is now FREE to bird lovers nationwide!


With 821 species profiles and 3200-plus world-renowned bird photos, Audubon's award-winning app instantly turns any mobile device into the most trusted field guide in North America.


To download the Audubon Bird Guide, go to www.audubon.org/apps. It's available on the Apple Store, Google Play, and Amazon.


Florida Wildflower Foundation releases new book

The Florida Wildflower Foundation released its 139-page Wild About Wildflowers! — A Classroom Activity Guide for Florida’s third- and fourth-grade students.


According to the press release:"Through fun, engaging activities, the guide encourages students to learn about Florida’s native wildflowers and their place in the environment – including the roles they play in the support of pollinators and other wildlife."


If you are a teacher or are otherrwise interedted, the book can be downloaded as a PDF file here.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals

Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, Jan 25-30.

Palm Coast Birds of a Feather Fest, Feb 10-12.

Great Backyard Bird Count ,Feb 17-20, 2016.


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Nov 2016 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

Vote NO on Amendment 1

Hello again.  I trust you had a good summer and are ready for the migration season and the return of meetings and programs with SEVAS.  


We did not have a meeting in October as we customarily do because much of our membership resides up North in the summer and does not return until the end of October.  


But now we are back in full swing.


There is a very important issue on the ballot.  That is Amendment 1.  No, this is not the same Amendment 1 that voters overwhelmingly approved a year or so ago.  Rather, it is a deceitful attempt to convince the Florida public into thinking it would be good for solar energy and consumers, but it is not.   Continue reading>>


Conservation Notes

by David Hartgrove, Vice President Halifax River Audubon

I was under the impression that the road to Everglades restoration was well under way and would include the construction of a large reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. For far too long polluted water from the lake has been dumped into the Caloosahatchee and St Lucie Rivers, where that water then flows into estuaries on both sides of the state. This discharge of this polluted water was principally responsible for the degraded condition of the Indian River south of Melbourne two years ago.  Continue reading>>


Florida's Springs are in trouble.

The Springs Eternal Project with Lesley Gamble, John Moran and Rick Kilby

It is estimated that there are more than 700 springs in Florida, the largest concentration of freshwater springs on Earth. Florida has more first magnitude springs of any state or country in the world.  But some springs have already stopped flowing and some springs have been downgraded from first magnitude to lower magnitudes based on their water flows.


 Florida nature photographer John Moran, authored a photo book in 2004 entitled: “Journal of light : the visual diary of a Florida Nature Photographer”.  It was the culmination of 20 years of photographing Florida’s springs.  This astounding and inspirational book depicts the beauty and serenity of the springs and the many thousands of people enjoying them.


Maureen and I have canoed and kayaked several of Florida’s springs and have not found them in the same condition as we saw in the book. Continue reading>>


Minutes of the April Meeting

The business conducted at the April 2016 meeting was to elect a slate of officers who will lead the club during this year. You can find the list in the May 2016 edition below this one.

Free Audubon Bird App Field Guide

National Audubon announced an updated version of the Audubon Bird Guide app is now FREE to bird lovers nationwide!


With 821 species profiles and 3200-plus world-renowned bird photos, Audubon's award-winning app instantly turns any mobile device into the most trusted field guide in North America.


To download the Audubon Bird Guide, go to www.audubon.org/apps. It's available on the Apple Store, Google Play, and Amazon.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 10th of Nov 2016.   It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m. David Hartgrove, Vice-President and Conservation Chair of Halifax River Audubon, will talk about the birds of the Lower Keys and the Dry Tortugas.  Here is his bio.

Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


April Field Activities Report

In April, we went to Orlando Wetlands Park.  They set up a guided mobile tour for us with their ten-passenger cart. It was a lot of fun and we will definitely do it again next year, but earlier in the year when there are more migrants around.  Check out the Birding Story Blog for story and photos.


Next Field Trip


Our next field trip will be to Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive on Friday, November 18th.  Meet at the usual place at 7:00 a.m. Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.



Marine Discovery Center Programs

The lecture will be held Thursday, Nov. 17, starting at 6:15 p.m., and will be hosted by the Marine Discovery Center, located at 520 Barracuda Boulevard in New Smyrna Beach.


The topic: “Can We Keep Our Heads Above Water? Sea Level Rise Planning Across the Southeast United States.”


Birding and Wildlife Festivals

Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, Jan 25-30.


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May 2016 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

Thanks to the volunteers

Thank you to all the members that have been such stalwarts in maintaining the club over the years.  In particular, I single out Dick and Gail and Ken who moved to Houston to be with family. As we all get older and need a rest, I really appreciate the members who volunteered at the April meeting to help with the tasks necessary to maintaining the club into the future.  In particular:

  • Lamont and Amy Ingalls volunteered to do Programs for the club.
  • Joe Montpelier has volunteered to assist with Field Trips.
  • Richard Fasse has volunteered for Publicity.
  • Jackie Myers has volunteered to share Secretarial duties with Leslie Sachs.

I am looking forward to an exciting new year of informative meetings and fun field trips and perhaps the opportunity to increase our membership.  Join us.


Minutes of the April Meeting

The minutes of the April 2016 meeting are online.  Read them here.

Free Audubon Bird App Field Guide

National Audubon announced an updated version of the Audubon Bird Guide app is now FREE to bird lovers nationwide!


With 821 species profiles and 3200-plus world-renowned bird photos, Audubon's award-winning app instantly turns any mobile device into the most trusted field guide in North America.


To download the Audubon Bird Guide, go to www.audubon.org/apps. It's available on the Apple Store, Google Play, and Amazon.


Next Meeting

We do not have any meetings scheduled for the summer months since much of our membership is up North.  Check this space for announcement of the fall meetings.  The full schedule including programs should be available by late summer.

Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


April Field Activities Report

In April, we went to Orlando Wetlands Park.  They set up a guided mobile tour for us with their ten-passenger cart. It was a lot of fun and we will definitely do it again next year, but earlier in the year when there are more migrants around.  Check out the Birding Story Blog for story and photos.


Next Field Trip

We do not have any field trips scheduled for the summer months.  Both the birds and many of our members are gone.  We will start up again in the Fall. We should have a full schedule of field trips on the website by late summer. Check out the Field Trips page for the full schedule and trip particulars.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals


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April 2016 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

Florida's Waters are in Worse Trouble

Last year relatives of mine decided to buy a small RV on a lot in Ft Myers Beach.  They spent six months there, snowbirds from Wisconsin.  They really enjoyed the fact that they could easily bicycle to the beach for an afternoon swim in clear, blue water.


But something happened this year.  The Gulf Coast water has developed the same type of brown algal bloom we are seeing in the Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon.  What happened is that the huge amounts of rain over the past few months caused authorities to dump large amounts of nutrient-rich water from the Lake Okeechobee area directly through the Caloosahatchee River to the Gulf.  The resulting algal bloom is doing the same there as here.  Smelly water and fish die-offs are the order of the day.

continue reading>>


Conservation Notes

IRL: Fish Kills &Root Causes



fish die-off and dumpsterMuck, aka “fine-grained, organic-rich sediments”, now covers much of the bottom of the 156 miles of the Indian River Lagoon (IRL). This muck, which in some navigational channels is up to 13-feet deep, is the color and consistency of “black mayonnaise” and is saturated with organo-phosphates and nitrogen compounds.  Heavy metals such as lead, zinc, copper, chromium and cadmium are often mixed in with this layer of sediment.  The muck has been built up by decades of runoff and overflow from human activities along the watershed of the IRL.   Core samples from the IRL show a pristine mix of sand and low-levels of organic silts until around the mid-1960s. Then, the muck begins to accumulate. 

continue reading>>

Need for Volunteers

It is that time of the year again where I ask for volunteers to come forward and fill some of the vacancies on the board and take some of the burden from the folks who have been working for you for many years.  We are getting tired.  It is time for you to step up.  We really need your help if you want to keep your club going.  


Take a quick look at the website's Executive Committee page to see the list of vacancies.  In themselves, most don't take more than a few hours a month, but when they are piled on to others, the time adds up.  Please Volunteer.


Update on Swallow-tailed Kite Fundraiser

Ken Gunn started a fund raising activity to support the satellite tracking of a Swallow-tailed Kite by the Avian Research and Conservation Institute. 


"Day" is the bird we adopted.  She was captured and tagged near Daytona Beach and has been followed for four south migrations and three northbound ones. 


We were informed on Nov 23 that ARCInst lost the satellite signal from DAY.  For the prior three days she was in an agricultural area of the State of Matto Grasso in Brazil.  She is presumed dead. We have $800 remaining of the $1200 raised.  We opted to fund a team to see if they can find the cause of the death.  We have been informed that the investigation to find  the tracker or bird remains  was not fruitful. Note: Gina Kent of ARCInst will be our guest speaker at the March meeting.


To see more about the project, go to www.arcinst.org.


Check out their latest blog post on DAY and the other kites still being followed at www.swallow-tailedkites.org.


To read Ken's account of who, what and where Day is, and find out how you can follow her, look here.


Minutes of the March Meeting

The minutes of the March 2016 meeting are online.  Read them here.

Free Audubon Bird App Field Guide

National Audubon announced an updated version of the Audubon Bird Guide app is now FREE to bird lovers nationwide!


With 821 species profiles and 3200-plus world-renowned bird photos, Audubon's award-winning app instantly turns any mobile device into the most trusted field guide in North America.


To download the Audubon Bird Guide, go to www.audubon.org/apps. It's available on the Apple Store, Google Play, and Amazon.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 14th of Apr 2016.   It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.   There will be the annual pot luck dinner.  Please bring a dish to share.  The only item of business is the annual election of officers.

Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


March Field Activities Report

In March, we went to Peacock's Pocket and though we saw most of the usual suspects, we got some really good looks at a Wilson's Snipe that stayed in one place for us to identify and photograph.  Unfortunately, there were a couple of strands of grasses in front that prevented a clear shot. Check out the Birding Story Blog for story and photos.


April  Field Trip

Our April field trip will be to  Orlando Wetlands Park in Christmas.   We depart from the usual place at 7:30 a.m. on Tues, Apr 19th.  This will be a guided tour on a wagon so we can cover more ground.  There is only room for 14 people so sign up by emailing president@SEVolusiaAudubon.org.  If we run out of seats, you can still come and walk the trails as usual. Check out the Field Trips page for a full schedule and trip particulars.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals


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March 2016 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

Fracking Bill News

The Florida Senate bill which would have required the DEP to study and write regulations for fracking and prevent local governments from banning fracking has died.  The Senate Appropriations Committee refused to reconsider it indicating it is too controversial.  It is the second time the House passed such a bill for it to die in the Senate.  So who knows when it will come up again?


Need for Volunteers

It is that time of the year again where I ask for volunteers to come forward and fill some of the vacancies on the board and take some of the burden from the folks who have been working for you for many years.  We are getting tired.  It is time for you to step up.  We really need your help if you want to keep your club going.  


Take a quick look at the website's Executive Committee page to see the list of vacancies.  In themselves, most don't take more than a few hours a month, but when they are piled on to others, the time adds up.  Please Volunteer.


Conservation Notes

Florida's Flooding Future

Florida's Flooding FutureOn Feb. 16, 2016 Stetson University hosted a Water/Climate Change Panel regarding the Paris Climate Change Accords (COP21) and recent scientific studies on the sea level rise in Florida. As Clay Henderson, attorney, environmental activist and Executive Director for Stetson’s new Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience, noted during his introductory comments: “This [sea level rise] is not a theoretical issue, this is real.” 


This panel featured well-known environmental writer Dinah Pulver; Sister Pat Seimen, a lawyer and director of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence; Chad Truxall, Executive Director of the Marine Discovery Center; and Dr. Jason Evans of the Environmental Science Department at Stetson University, a public policy expert on climate change issues in Florida.  continue  reading>>


Update on Swallow-tailed Kite Fundraiser

Ken Gunn started a fund raising activity to support the satellite tracking of a Swallow-tailed Kite by the Avian Research and Conservation Institute. 


"Day" is the bird we adopted.  She was captured and tagged near Daytona Beach and has been followed for four south migrations and three northbound ones. 


We were informed on Nov 23 that ARCInst lost the satellite signal from DAY.  For the prior three days she was in an agricultural area of the State of Matto Grasso in Brazil.  She is presumed dead. We have $800 remaining of the $1200 raised.  We opted to fund a team to see if they can find the cause of the death.  We have been informed that the investigation to find  the tracker or bird remains  was not fruitful. Note: Gina Kent of ARCInst will be our guest speaker at the March meeting.


To see more about the project, go to www.arcinst.org.


Check out their latest blog post on DAY and the other kites still being followed at www.swallow-tailedkites.org.


To read Ken's account of who, what and where Day is, and find out how you can follow her, look here.


Rookery Island Clean-up by Marine Discovery Center

Lisa Mickey reported that a team from the MDC went to the rookery/nesting islands behind the Dolphin View restaurant in NSB and cleaned the area of old fishing line as well as remains of birds that died as a result of fishing line.  Read he blog report here.

Tomoka Science Fair

For the umpteenth year in a row, the three Audubon Societies in Volusia County collaborated to provide judges and prizes for students who had projects involving birds, conservation or environment themes.  Here is a report from Eli Schaperow of West Volusia Audubon.

continue reading>>


Minutes of February Meeting

The minutes of the February 2016 meeting are online.  Read them here.

Free Audubon Bird App Field Guide

National Audubon announced an updated version of the Audubon Bird Guide app is now FREE to bird lovers nationwide!


With 821 species profiles and 3200-plus world-renowned bird photos, Audubon's award-winning app instantly turns any mobile device into the most trusted field guide in North America.


To download the Audubon Bird Guide, go to www.audubon.org/apps. It's available on the Apple Store, Google Play, and Amazon.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 10th of Mar 2016.   It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m.   Our guest speaker will be Gina Kent from the Avian Research and Conservation Institute, who will talk about her work with tracking Swallow-tailed Kites. Here is her bio.

Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


February Field Activities Report

February was a busy month for some of  us. We went to Lake Apopka Restoration Area as well as Audubon Park in Deltona. Check out the Birding Story Blog for stories and photos.


March Field Trip

Our next field trip will be to  Peacock's Pocket (MINWR).   We depart from the usual place at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, March 18.  You DO NOT have to be a member to participate.  Check out the Field Trips page for a full schedule and trip particulars.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals

Lagoonacy at the Marine Discovery Center, Apr 2.


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February 2016 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

Maureen and I spent the first week of February on the Big Bend area of Florida, camping at the Ochlokonee River State park, paddling the rivers and creeks and birding and photographing at St Marks NWR and hiking trails at Wakulla Springs State Park.  The ORSP protects a large tract of Longleaf Pine forest as habitat for the Red Cockaded Woodpecker ( we saw two of them, photo of one banded); Wakulla Springs SP protects one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world.  We hiked some of the forest and hammock trails and saw the sinkholes that gather rain water and filter it into the aquifer.


Back home in reality-ville, Governor Scott and his DEP chief appointee want to turn state parks into cattle ranches, logging operations and hunting grounds.  continue reading>>


Conservation Notes

The Intelligence of Nature

Large-scale ponds and marshes have been created to process and reclaim wastewater in Titusville (Blue Heron Water Reclamation Park and Wetlands), Orlando (Orlando Wetlands), and Viera (Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands).  In addition, for several years engineered wetlands and water treatment programs have been clearing and revivifying  the waters of Lake Apopka that were devastated by the runoff from decades of muck farming.  The infrastructure of these treatment and restoration projects includes levees, weirs, pumping and drainage systems, chemical injection units, and water sampling stations.  Continue Reading>>


Update on Swallow-tailed Kite Fundraiser

Ken Gunn started a fund raising activity to support the satellite tracking of a Swallow-tailed Kite by the Avian Research and Conservation Institute.  It costs $100 per month to continue the monitoring once the bird is tagged and the tracker is attached. Thanks to Ken's efforts, we raised the $1200 to sponsor one year's worh of tracking.


"Day" is the bird we adopted.  She was captured and tagged near Daytona Beach and has been followed for four south migrations and three northbound ones. 


We were informed on Nov 23 that ARCInst lost the satellite signal from DAY.  For the prior three days she was in an agricultural area of the State of Matto Grasso in Brazil.  She is presumed dead. We have $800 remaining of the $1200 raised.  We opted to fund a team to see if they can find the cause of the death.   Note: Gina Kent of ARCInst will be our guest speaker at the March meeting.


To see more about the project, go to www.arcinst.org.


Check out their latest blog post on DAY and the other kites still being followed at www.swallow-tailedkites.org.


To read Ken's account of who, what and where Day is, and find out how you can follow her, look here.


Minutes of January Meeting

The minutes of the January 2016 meeting are online.  Read them here.

Great Backyard Bird Count 2016 Announced

The citizen Science project involving watching birds in your backyard or park will be Feb 12-15, 2016.  Relax, count birds and document them online and be part of the data collection that scientists use to help determine the health of bird populations in the U.S and Canada. For more info, go to http://www.birdcount.org.


Free Audubon Bird App Field Guide

National Audubon announced an updated version of the Audubon Bird Guide app is now FREE to bird lovers nationwide!


With 821 species profiles and 3200-plus world-renowned bird photos, Audubon's award-winning app instantly turns any mobile device into the most trusted field guide in North America.


To download the Audubon Bird Guide, go to www.audubon.org/apps. It's available on the Apple Store, Google Play, and Amazon.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 11th of Feb 2016.   It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m.   Our guest speaker will be Don Picard, President of the Southeast Volusia Audubon Society.  He and Maureen participated in an expedition to the Galapagos Islands in November 2014 with the National Geographic/Lindblad Cruise Line.   He will talk about their adventure to these magnificent islands.  Here is his bio.

Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


January Field Activities Report

January was a busy month for some of  us. We went to Merritt Island NWR and Blue Heron Water Treatment Facility.  We also conducted the 116th Christmas Bird Count on Jan 2 and the Piping Plover survey.  Thanks to all who participated.  Check out the Birding Story Blog for stories and photos.


February Field Trips

Our next field trip will be to Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive.  We depart from the usual place at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, February 13.  On Friday, Feb 26 we go to Audubon Park in Deltona.  You DO NOT have to be a member to participate.  Check out the Field Trips page for a full schedule and trip particulars.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals

Orlando Wetlands Park Festival, Feb 20, 2016
Laredo Birding Festival, Feb 3-6, 2016
Birds of a Feather Fest, Palm Coast, FL Feb 5-7 2016

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January 2016 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

Volusia County wants Edgewater, New Smyrna Beach and Oak Hill to help pay for a study to help stop the decline and increase the water quality of Mosquito Lagoon.  Of course, the County has already determined the cause of the problems. They have already assessed the blame on septic tanks and storm-water run-off.


County spokesperson for the project for News-Journal article on Saving the Lagoon on12/21/2015 is the Road and Bridge Director for Volusia County.  Really?  Roads and Bridges Director? She says the plan would spell out what kinds of improvements are needed to stormwater and septic tanks and other infrastructure to reduce pollution going into the lagoon.


Several questions come to mind:   continue reading>>


Conservation Notes

Nature and Culture

“Nature has some intrinsic, inherent value beyond the instrumental.”

-Paul Kingsnorth


Among the general population of voters in Florida there is much more awareness of the ecological cost of water withdrawal and pollution than there was a decade or more ago.  A wide-ranging and fundamental amendment to the Florida constitution to mandate and codify the protection and enhancement of the lands and waters of Florida was passed by the voters in 2014 by a 3 to 1 margin.  There is also much more community scrutiny of activities that call for very large and constant withdrawals from the aquifer. Continue Reading>>


Update on Swallow-tailed Kite Fundraiser

Ken Gunn started a fund raising activity to support the satellite tracking of a Swallow-tailed Kite by the Avian Research and Conservation Institute.  It costs $100 per month to continue the monitoring once the bird is tagged and the tracker is attached. Thanks to Ken's efforts, we raised the $1200 to sponsor one year's worh of tracking.


"Day" is the bird we adopted.  She was captured and tagged near Daytona Beach and has been followed for four south migrations and three northbound ones.  Apprently, she and her mate did not like the South Daytona area and moved to a golf course in Ormond Beach.  I found this out during the Wings on Wind festival at the Marine Science Center on Nov 14.  A fellow named Steve Petruniak introduced himself to me and told me the story.  He has been following Day and her partner and chicks for several years.  He will be making a video documentary about her and the only documented mating pair of Mississippi Kites nesting in Volusia County.  He volunteered to take us on a field trip to the nesting site when the birds return next spring.


<NEW> We were informed on Nov 23 that ARCInst lost the satellite signal from DAY.  For the prior three days she was in an agricultural area of the State of Matto Grasso in Brazil.  We have $800 remaining of the $1200 raised.  Options for spending that include following another bird that does not have a tie to East Volusia or to fund a search party to see if DAY lost her tag or was killed by people, pesticides, weather, etc.  Ken and I think that the most productive course of action is to fund a team to see if we can find the cause of the outage.  So I passed that decision on to Gina Kent.  Note: she will be our guest speaker at the March meeting. </NEW>


To see more about the project, go to www.arcinst.org.


To read Ken's account of who, what and where Day is, and find out how you can follow her, look here.


Perils at Lake Apopa Restoration

We have had many wonderful field trips to Lake Apopka Restoration Area, 20,000  acres of lake and the surrounding areas that have been under intensive management by the SJRWMD for years since the lake shoreline was transformed from muck farming to water bird habitats.  Recently, the SJRWMD opened a wildlife drive on the north shore of Lake Apopa so that people can go by bike, car or on foot to find tranquil relaxation or bird finds like last year’s Groove-billed Ani. 


Now, after all that work and money, it is in peril.  The primary perpetrator is the Senator Alan Hays, the one who derailed Amendment 1 funding saying “we have enough conservation land.” There is also a legislatively-appointed group called the Harris Chain of Lakes Restoration Council whose members include a fishing guide that wants the Lake Apopka North Shore flooded to increase fishing habitat (Lake Apopka already has 30,000 acres of open water). And then there are people who are trying to build ecotourism and have latched onto the idea of air boat rides, marketed to tourists visiting the Orlando area, as a new economic engine. There goes the tranquility.


Deborah Green, President of Orange Audubon, anounces a Birdapalooza on Feb 5-6 at Lake Aopoka where they will conduct bus tours for visitors, the proceeds to support efforts to establish and environmental education center on the North Shore of the lake.


Please read her email here and attend if you can.  It should be a great event for a worthy cause.


Don

Minutes of December  Meeting

The minutes of the December 2015 meeting are online.  Read them here.

Great Backyard Bird Count 2016 Announced

The citizen Science project involving watching birds in your backyard or park will be Feb 12-15, 2016.  Relax, count birds and document them online and be part of the data collection that scientists use to help determine the health of bird populations in the U.S and Canada. For more info, go to http://www.birdcount.org.


Free Audubon Bird App Field Guide

National Audubon announced an updated version of the Audubon Bird Guide app is now FREE to bird lovers nationwide!


With 821 species profiles and 3200-plus world-renowned bird photos, Audubon's award-winning app instantly turns any mobile device into the most trusted field guide in North America.


To download the Audubon Bird Guide, go to www.audubon.org/apps. It's available on the Apple Store, Google Play, and Amazon.


Florida Audubon Annual Report

Florida Audubon's Annual report is avaiable as a PDF file here.  You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader or other PDF reader to view it.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 14th of Jan 2016.   It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m.   Our guest speaker will be David Hartgrove, Conservation Chair of the Halifax River Audubon.  He will talk about the birding and outreach trip he organized to Cuba.  Here is his bio.

Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


December Field Activities Report

We went to Merritt Island NWR on Dec 11. We saw 34 species.  Check out the Birding Story Blog for a story and photos.


January Field Trips

Our next field trip will be to Merritt Island NWR.  We depart from the usual place at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, January 15.  We will also be going to Oak Hill Marsh,Seminole Rest and Shiloh Marsh on Jan  22.  On Jan 30, we will visit the Viera Wetlands in Viera.  You DO NOT have to be a member to participate.  Check out the Field Trips page for a full schedule and trip particulars.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals

Orlando Wetlands Park Festival, Feb 20, 2016
Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, Jan 20-25
Laredo Birding Festival, Feb 3-6, 2016
Birds of a Feather Fest, Palm Coast, FL Feb 5-7 2016

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December 2015 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

It is that time of year again.  Not sure where time goes to but it does travel fast.  I just registered for the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival which runs from Jan 20-25, 2016.  There are some changes in the  pricing structure, including a higher registration fee but lots of free and $10 programs.  But what really caught my eye is on the booklet page 5 with the headline “Space Coast Birding and ‘wildlife Festival “Gives Back” to Conservation.”   Turns our that $5.00 of my registration fee will be donated to the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida.  continue reading>>


Conservation Notes

Fracking Florida

Fracking, the gas production process which uses high-pressure injection of hydraulic-fracturing fluids or low-pressure injection of acidization fluids [typically mixtures of hydrofluoric and hydrochloric acids] is an ecologically unsound practice with a proven record of damage to the groundwater and surface waters, to air quality, and to the health of living systems. The additives used in wellsite construction and operations, drilling procedures and waste disposal comprise a very long list of toxic chemicals, including known carcinogens and endocrine and CNS disruptors.  These harmful substances include heavy metals, BTEX compounds (benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylene), naphthalene and hydrofluoric acid.  [For an extensive list see https://fracfocus.org/chemical-use/what-chemicals-are-used.]

 Continue Reading>>


Update on Swallow-tailed Kite Fundraiser

Ken Gunn started a fund raising activity to support the satellite tracking of a Swallow-tailed Kite by the Avian Research and Conservation Institute.  It costs $100 per month to continue the monitoring once the bird is tagged and the tracker is attached. Thanks to Ken's efforts, we raised the $1200 to sponsor one year's worh of tracking.


"Day" is the bird we have adopted.  She was captured and tagged near Daytona Beach and has been followed for four south migrations and three northbound ones.  Apprently, she and her mate did not like the South Daytona area and moved to a golf course in Ormond Beach.  I found this out during the Wings on Wind festival at the Marine Science Center on Nov 14.  A fellow named Steve Petruniak introduced himself to me and told me the story.  He has been following Day and her partner and chicks for several years.  He will be making a video documentary about her and the only documented mating pair of Mississippi Kites nesting in Volusia County.  He volunteered to take us on a field trip to the nesting site when the birds return next spring.


To see more about the project, go to www.arcinst.org.


To read Ken's account of who, what and where Day is, and find out how you can follow her, look here.


Minutes of November  Meeting

The minutes of the November 2015 meeting are online.  Read them here.

Great Backyard Bird Count 2016 Announced

The citizen Science project involving watching birds in your backyard or park will be Feb 12-15, 2016.  Relax, count birds and document them online and be part of the data collection that scientists use to help determine the health of bird populations in the U.S and Canada. For more info, go to http://www.birdcount.org.


Christmas Bird Count

The Ponce Inlet Christmas Bird Count will be held on Saturday, January 2, 2016.  Please contact Dick or Gail at 428-0447 if you can help.  For more info on the count, check out Audubon's website.

Free Audubon Bird App Field Guide


National Audubon announced an updated version of the Audubon Bird Guide app is now FREE to bird lovers nationwide!


With 821 species profiles and 3200-plus world-renowned bird photos, Audubon's award-winning app instantly turns any mobile device into the most trusted field guide in North America.


To download the Audubon Bird Guide, go to www.audubon.org/apps. It's available on the Apple Store, Google Play, and Amazon.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 10th of Dec 2015.   It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m.   Our guest speaker will be Milton Heiberg, Independent photographer from Brevard County. He  will talk on the importance of saving recharge areas.   Here is his bio.

Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


November Field Activities Report

We went to Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve on Nov 7. We saw 34 species.  Check out the Birding Story Blog for a story and photos.


December Field Trip

Our field trip will be to Merritt Island NWR.  We depart from the usual place at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, December 11. You DO NOT have to be a member to participate.  Check out the Field Trips page for a full schedule and trip particulars.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals

Orlando Wetlands Park Festival, Feb 20, 2016
Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, Jan 20-25
Laredo Birding Festival, Feb 3-6, 2016

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November 2015 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

In September, Maureen and I spent three weeks in the Panhandle of Florida exploring parts of the state in which we had not previously spent much time.  We were amazed by the number of state parks there were and we camped in some, visited others and even canoed and fished in some.  And as I pondered the beauty of the area and of the state parks, I could not help but wonder why the elected officials in Tallahassee keep trying to change them into entities that they are not suited to be and were not intended to be when they were purchased and established.  continue reading>>


Conservation Notes

Sh.O.R.E. -  Marine Science and the Indian River Lagoon

The day-long Sh.O.R.E.  (“Sharing Our Research with Everyone on the Indian River Lagoon”) event on November 6th at the News-Journal Center in Daytona Beach was informative and enlightening.   The 33 presentations and posters from state and federal scientists and program administrators, and students from several Florida colleges, reviewed many categories of scientific research and perspectives on the Indian River Lagoon (IRL). The IRL is the coastal estuary system that runs from Jupiter, FL northward to Ponce Inlet, and includes the Indian and Banana Rivers and Mosquito Lagoon.  This system is considered to be the most biologically diverse estuary in all of North America.  Recreational and fisheries activities in the IRL generate $4 billion year for the Florida economy.  In addition, 50% of the commercial fish harvest on the Florida East Coast comes from the IRL.  

 Continue Reading>>


Update on Swallow-tailed Kite Fundraiser

Ken Gunn started a fund raising activity to support the satellite tracking of a Swallow-tailed Kite by the Avian Research and Conservation Institute.  It costs $100 per month to continue the monitoring once the bird is tagged and the tracker is attached. Thanks to Ken's efforts, we raised the $1200 to sponsor one year's worh of tracking.


"Day" is the bird we have adopted.  She was captured and tagged near Daytona Beach and has been followed for four south migrations and three northbound ones.  To see more about the project, go to www.arcinst.org.


To read Ken's account of who, what and where Day is, and find out how you can follow her, look here.


Report on the 2015 Audubon Assembly

Leslie attended this year's Audubon Assembly held in Orlando in late October.  She learned a lot and filed an extensive report.  Read it here.

Minutes of October  Meeting

The minutes of the October 2015 meeting are online.  Read them here.

How to find Franklin's Gulls in Florida

by David Simpson

David is an experienced birder who leads birding trips for individuals and for events like the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival. According to his bio on his website: "I am a life long resident of central Florida, where I have been birding for over 25 years. I have over 25 years of experience leading tours, both through my previous job as a ranger at the St. Sebastian Buffer Preserve, as well as at festivals including the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival and the Big "O" Birding festival. In addition to birds, I am familiar with all aspects of Florida wildlife and have an extensive knowledge of native plants, snakes, frogs, and many other critters you encounter in Florida."


He is offering organizations an informative article periodically on an area of interest to birders.  Here is this month's offering.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 12th of Nov 2015.   It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m.   Our guest speaker will be Meret Wilson, bird bander from Daytona Beach who will speak on her activities at Tomoka State Park. Here is her bio.

Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


October Field Activities Report

We went to Buschman Park, Dunlawton Bridge and Spruce Creek Park in Port Orange.  We saw 44 species.  Check out the Birding Story Blog for a story and photos.


November Field Trip

Our field trip will be to Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve in NSB.  We depart from the usual place at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 7. You DO NOT have to be a member to participate.  Check out the Field Trips page for a full schedule and trip particulars.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals

Orlando Wetlands Park Festival, Feb 20, 2016

Marine Science Center "Wings on the Wind", Nov 14, 2015
Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, Jan 20-25
Laredo Birding Festival, Feb 3-6, 2016

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October 2015 eSkimmer News

Prez Sez

On behalf of the executive committee, welcome  to another active season of the Southeast Volusia Audubon Society.  We have a very interesting set of programs for your edification and enjoyment as well as some exciting field trips.  Check out the Meetings page and the Field Trips page for particulars. Come and join us as we learn more about our environment. As always, if you have any suggestions, please let me know.  It is your club.


Let’s review some of the things that have happened since we last met, courtesy of the Florida Conservation Coalition:


continue reading>>

Conservation Notes

Amendment One:  The Road to the Courts

A majority of the members of the legislative houses of Florida did as predicted by many Florida voters, environmental activists and political commentators:  they callously and disingenuously ignored the will of voters who passed the Water and Land Conservation Amendment last November by an historic 3 to 1 margin.  And as also foreseen, ignoring Amendment One funding and allocation mandates has ensured that the legislature is now the defendant in a major lawsuit brought by Earthjustice (the legal organization founded by the Sierra Club), the Florida Wildlife Federation, St. Johns Riverkeepers, and the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida.  This lawsuit was filed in Leon County Circuit Court in June of this year.  Continue Reading>>


Marine Discovery Center To Offer Sustainability Forum

The Marine Discovery Center, along with Volusia Country Environmental Management and host Atlantic Center for the Arts, will present  “The Green Path: Becoming a Sustainable Community” on Thursday, October 8.


The sustainability forum is open to the public and will be held from 5:30-8:30 p.m., in the Joan James Harris Theater at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, located at 1414 Art Center Avenue in New Smyrna Beach.


“The purpose of the forum is to create greater public awareness about sustainability options and how these options can be implemented at home and in the community,” said Chad Truxall, executive director of the Marine Discovery Center.


For more info, see www.marinediscoverycenter.org

Oak Hill Comp Plan Amendment Compromise

The saga of the  comp plan amendment in Oak Hill to allow a full-scale manufacturing plant on the East side of US 1 adjacent to the Canaveral National Seashore property at Bill”s Hill is over.


Clay Henderson was able to win concessions from the city that will require a 200-foot-wide buffer around any planned construction on the site,and it adjusts the maximum height of building allowed on the property from 100 feet to 75 feet.


Check out Dinah Voyles-Pulver's article in the Daytona Beach News Journal .


More recently, Blue Origin signed an agreement with KSC to lease launch pad 26.  And, Senator Nelson does not believe their will be a launch facility built in the Shiloh area.

Update on Wilson Plover Nesting on Bethune Beach

As you may recall, we put out a call for volunteers to help steward the  Wilson's Plover nesting we espected on Bethune Beach last spring.  Though there were few SEVAS members participating, we had lots of help from the Turtle Patrol and Jennifer Winters from VC Environmental Management. 


We marked and tallied 6 nests and a total of 18 chicks.  Obviously we do not know how many survived to fledge because they started scattering after a period of time.  But it is likely they had a successful nesting season.


I hope more of you can help next Spring.

For reports on our visits and photos, check out our birding story blog at: http://blog.sevolusiaaudubon.org/?p=1527, and  http://blog.sevolusiaaudubon.org/?p=1540


Pelican Nesting islands behind Dolphin View hazarded by proposed development.

A proposal to purchase and develop the city of NSB property on the North Causeway where city offices and the Marine Discovery Center were, and from which the MDC runs its eco tour pontoon boat cruises, was made by the owner of the adjacent marina.  His proposed development would include, among other things like hotel, restaurant and store,  a long boardwalk, open to the public as well as  lots of boat slips going parallel to shore in both easterly and westerly directions, and included spurs that went straight to the roosting/nesting mangrove islands behind the Dolphin View Restaurant.   Continue Reading>>

Update on Swallow-tailed Kite Fundraiser

Ken Gunn started a fund raising activity to support the satellite tracking of a Swallow-tailed Kite by the Avian Research and Conservation Institute.  It costs $100 per month to continue the monitoring once the bird is tagged and the tracker is attached. 


Thanks to Ken's efforts, we raised the $1200 to sponsor a one year's worh of tracking.


To see more about the project, go to www.arcinst.org.


Black-crowned Night Heron rescue

On one of her kayak eco-tours recently, Lisa Mickey of the Marine Discovery Center was taking two guests around the back of the rookery islands and was telling them about all the different species that nest there and how we were at the end of the nesting season with only a few stragglers still on nests on the islands.


Read her story about rescuing a Black-Crowned Night Heron chick
by clicking here.

Minutes of April  Meeting

The primary business of the April meeting was the election of officers.  As usual, all of the same people as last year were re-elected.

Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 8th of Oct 2015.   It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m.   Our guest speaker will be Sam Fried of Flights of Fancy Adventures LLC.  He will talk on "Owls, Sights and Sounds."  Here is his bio.

Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Summer Field Activities Report

During the summer months, even the birds stay indoors. So we don't have any field trips scheduled.   For reports and photos of past trips, check out our birding story blog.  I am looking forward to posting more about future trips.


October Field Trip

Our field trip will be to Buschman Park and Dunlawton Causeway in Port Orange.  We depart from the usual place at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 10. You do not have to be a member to participate.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals

Orlando Wetlands Park Festival, Feb 20, 2016

Marine Discovery Center Open House, Oct 10, 2015

Marine Science Center "Wings on the Wind", Nov 14, 2015
Laredo Birding Festival, Feb 3-6, 2016

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June 2015 eSkimmer News

MARINE DISCOVERY CENTER PUBLIC LECTURE SERIES


What: NEW SMYRNA BEACH LAGOON WATER QUALITY


Rob Sierzega of Daytona State College will present an update on the Adopt-An-Estuary water quality monitoring program. Using data collected by MDC water testing volunteers, Mr. Sierzega created GIS maps to show 'hot spots' in the area and look at environmental changes over time.


His presentation will highlight the ongoing efforts of volunteers to monitor the health of our local estuary.


Where: Marine Discovery Center 520 Barracuda Blvd, New Smyrna Beach, Fl. 32169.


When: Thursday, June 18, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Cost: No charge, no reservations required.


Contact: MDC Welcome Desk 386-428-4828

May 2015 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

Oak Hill Comp Plan Amendment

The saga of the  comp plan amendment in Oak Hill to allow a full-scale manufacturing plant on the East side of US 1 adjacent to the Canaveral National Seashore property at Bill”s Hill continues. It was ostensibly done to accomodate an aerospace facility that would manufacture rocket components. 


After the city commission  decided to go ahead with the plan amendment at the first reading, a coalition of groups including the Florida Audubon, SEVAS, the National Parks Conservation Association and the 1000 Friends of Florida petitioned the Volusia Growth Management Agency (VGMC) to review the plan with the expectation that they should deny it.


They did not deny it but placed some restrictions on it and indicated it would be acceptable if it included these restrictions.


At the City Commission meeting on May 18,  they decided to pass one part of the comp plan change but table the second part.  They also decided that the VGMC was wrong it its analysis and voted to ignore it. Check out Dinah Voyles-Pulver's article in the Daytona Beach News Journal .

It has not been determined how we will continue to challenge the commission’s decision, but watch this space.


Don

Wilson Plover Nesting on Bethune Beach

In February, Ken started to ask for help in getting stewards on the Bethune Beach section of New Smyrna Beach to monitor the nests of Wilson’s Plovers he expected to see there this year.  They started nesting there last year, and some of the residents were pretty callous about where they walked and where they let their dogs illegally run off leash. 


I put out a call for volunteers and got one response.  The FWC sponsored a training session in March and the birds started nesting in greater numbers than we could imagine.  The NSB Turtle Trackers was asked to help identify the locations of nests if they found any.  They reported seeing some plovers and  Jennifer from Volusia Environmental staked out nests as they were reported.  On May 5, I went out to see what was going on and found a new nest.  I emailed Jennifer and she came out again. Another nest was found which Jennifer staked out and the following day, a sea turtle set up shop in the same area. 


The next day I found another nest and a couple of days later another.  As of today, there are six active nests within a half mile stretch of beach.  In addition,  I also saw three more pairs of WIPL’s farther south, almost to Bethune Beach Park, not associated with nests but obviously looking in the direction of the dunes.  But they would not go there while I was watching.  Must have seemed sinister with my binoculars and camera. I believe there are more nests to be discovered. 


Most importantly though, three nests have hatched out with three chicks each.  The chicks are born precocious so they are walking about within hours of hatching.  They are walking towards the water’s edge with their parents by the following day.  But it will be some time before they are able to fly.


It would really be helpful if we could have more volunteers to discover new nests and also interact with the public about the new event. I have to say that all the folks I have interacted with in the last few weeks were happy to see this happen.  No bad experiences like Ken last year.


For reports on our visits and photos, check out our birding story blog at: http://blog.sevolusiaaudubon.org/?p=1527, http://blog.sevolusiaaudubon.org/?p=1540.  Watch for future updates.


Don


Senator Rubio sponsors bad bill

Florida Senator Marco Rubio is the sponsor of a bill on behalf of the shipping industry, that would remove ballast water discharges from the Clean Water Act and pre-empt all state regulation of ballast water.  It would also eliminate NOAA's jurisdiction under the National MarineSanctuaries Act.


I signed us on to a letter by the Florida Clean Water Network informing the senator that this is the last thing we need right now when invasive species are moving freely around the globe and causing major damage to our waters, such as the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Allowing ships from anywhere on the globe to dump their ballasts and the included invasives would contaminate our waters with more and more problems. 


I also find it interesting that bills being sponsored at the national level are including language that prohibits states from enacting legislation to protect  their citizens and resources from damage being done by the federal legislation. What ever happened to States' Rights!!!


To see the text of the letter, click here.

Minutes of April Meeting

The primary business of the April meeting was the election of officers.  As usual, all of the same people as last year were re-elected.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 8th of Oct 2015.  It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m.  

Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  The 2015-2016 schedule will be posted shortly. You Do NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


April  Field Activities Report

In April, we went to Washington Oaks Gardens State Park and Canaveral National Seashore.  For reports and photos, check out our birding story blog.



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April 2015 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

Gov. Scott says he is not a scientist, So why prohibit state employees from uttering the words  "climate change" and "global  warming"?

So last year, a reporter asked Governor Scott whether man-made climate change "is significantly affecting the weather, the climate." Scott tried to change the subject and replied, "Well, I'm not a scientist."   But he is obviously qualified to forbid the use of the terms “climate change” and “global warming” in speeches and documents by public officials.  


Despite the denials of the policy by the Scott administration, many state employes are speaking out about the prohibition or at least its tacit requirement that the terms not be used.  Continue reading>>


 Legislators acting "illegally" in Amendment 1 lawmaking?

As noted in the recent reports from Audubon’s long-term study of the effects of climate change and habitat loss on bird populations in North America, Florida is considered a major Climate Stronghold that provides “essential habitats for migratory and resident birds”  Preserving and protecting Florida’s lands and waters is critical to maintain this “stronghold” for the sake of human beings and well as that of  the “finned, furred or feathered nations”.  There has long been a tradition in this State of popular support for those laws that create, manage, protect or remediate natural habitat that might otherwise be overdeveloped to the detriment of all living systems.
ccontinue reading>>


Water and Land Legacy Needs You to Call Representatives on Amendment 1

Further to Lamont’s excellent article on the legislators subverting the will of the voters on Amendment 1, Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Organization, the driver behind the petition process, the voting process, and now the legislative process, is asking organizations such as SEVAS to alert their members to ramp up the volume to our elected legislators about our views on the intent of Amendment 1.


Please contact the representatives and tell them how you feel.  If you signed or encouraged others to sign petitions to get Amendment 1 on the ballot, if you voted for Amendment 1, you have a vested interest in telling the legislators that the path they are taking is not in acccordance with your desires as a voter.


According to the Florida’s Water and Land Legacy:


”The most effective way to get the word out is to share our action page:  http://yes1fl.org/action0315
 

It contains a sample script and the legislators' contact information. Because of how we've set up our action page, we also receive real-time feedback from volunteers as they make calls and send emails. That feedback loop is critcally important:  it allows us to quickly to answer questions and arm your supporters with any additional information they need to stay engaged with the key legislators.”


I urge everyone who voted for the amendment 1 to go to the website and contact the legislators.  Use the website's scripts.  Tell the "elected representatives"  how you feel.


Don


Audubon Florida Urgent Request:

Call your senator today


On March 30 I received an urgent request from Florida Audubon to urge my readers to call their senators as soon as possible since they senators will vote on the Amendment 1 bills on Apr 1. During floor debate, two Senators will offer amendments that will dramatically improve appropriations for Florida Forever.  We need the others to vote for these amendments.


FL Audubon suggests a script for calling your senators. It is:


“I am one of 4.2 million voters who voted yes for Amendment 1. I believed when voting for the amendment that it would increase funding for Florida Forever, land conservation, springs, and the Everglades. Please support amendments on the Senate floor to use Amendment 1 funds for land conservation."


There are two other articles above this one in which Lamont encourages you to call your reps and the FL Water and Land Legacy folks do as well.


Please do it.  This is the watershed moment.  It will determine whether or not the will of the voters is respected or trashed.


Don


National Audubon:  For the Birds, Your Yards Matter

Did you know that America’s lawns take up 8 times more space than all of New Jersey? What grows on those 45 million acres including your back yard could make or break many bird species. It’s all about native plants and the yummy (to birds) bugs that inhabit them. Audubon features editor Rene Ebersole offers step-by-step guidance on how to transform your yard into a bird habitat haven.
Continue reading>>


National Wildlife Federation: Monarch Butterflies In Trouble. You Can Help

Monarch butterflies are in trouble. Over the last few decades, populations of these iconic orange and black butterflies have declined by over 90 percent.


The National Wildlife Federation is teaming up with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other partners to reverse this alarming trend and ensure that this beautiful butterfly has a future.

Here is how you can help.  Continue reading>>



Be a Climate Change Messenger for Coastal Birds and Habitat

Florida Audubon is asking you to be a climate messenger.  Their message includes a short article and some youtube videos and powerpoint programs.  The article follows:


"Millions of people value Florida's coastal beaches and saltmarshes as special places in which to live and play. Our coastlines also provide irreplaceable habitat for nesting sea turtles and millions of birds to nest, rest, and feed throughout each year. National Audubon Society's climate scientists recently modeled current North American bird distributions with climate change projections and found that 318 bird species are at risk of extinction due to drastic shifts in their breeding or winter distributions."

continue reading >>


Florida Forage Fish Management

Last year SEVAS joined a birder sign-on letter in support of the Florida Forage Fish Campaign, sponsored by the PEW Trust. It involved sending a letter to the FWC asking them to properly manage forage fish since they are the bottom of the food chain and the top of the chain depends on the bottom.


The FWC has agreed to include a discussion of forage fish management and monitoring during their public meeting June 23-25 in Sarasota. This meeting could be a huge turning point for the campaign. In preparation for that meeting, PEW Trust is working to get 10,000 people to sign the FL forage fish pledge attached by June 1.


The pledge ( more like a petition than a pledge) can be found here.  If you could print a copy and get some of your friends to sign it and bring it to the Appril meeting or send it directly according to the instructions, it would be a great help.

Don


Call for Volunteers

It is that time of the year again.  The April meeting is the one where we elect the slate of officers to manage the club for the following year.  We thank all the officers who have been filling leadership roles for many years, and especially thank Lamont and Leslie for volunteering to fill the Conservation Chair and Secretary positions for this year. 


It is time to get more volunteers to manage the club, or at least help.  We need some new blood to keep the club vibrant and ready to accept new challenges. 


If you look at the executive committee page on our website, you will see the positions that exist.  Some have been vacant for several years.  Many of us have been club officers for over ten years and  some of us have been filling  more than one position for a long time. 


Please consider helping us with just a few hours a month. 


Monarch Butterflies and Swallow-tailed Kites

1.) I attended a talk by Louise Zemaites and learned that they actually band butterflies,  More correctly, they label them but it is the same effect.  They paste a numbered label on the wing as you can see in the attached photos.  In Louise’s case it’s on Monarch Butterflies.  continue reading>>


Bird Iberia with SEVAS by Ken Gunn

Mark your calendars and plan to visit Iberia with SEVAS starting from Lisbon on April 15, 2016.


I am organizing a trip for 14 people to Bird Portugal next April with an optional extension - Catalonia for Couth and Culture.  The Bird Portugal portion is being planned for thirteen days and the Catalonia extension for about another week.


The Portugal trip will start and end in Lisbon and will be operated by Birds and Nature Tours, an excellent Portuguese based birding company.  I have been on a one-day trip with this company and was impressed with their organization and expertise.  Duration is being planned for 13 days in country and will include South Portugal hotspots as well as one location across the Spanish border.

continue reading>>

Minutes of March Meeting

The minutes of the March 12th meeting are on line here.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 9th of Apr 2015.  It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m.   The meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. with a pot luck dinner followed by the meeting to elect officers to manage the club for the nest year.  Please volunteer to help the club in the following year.


Afterwards, Don will show the movie provided by the National Geographic Endeavour videographer of his and Maureen's expedition to the Galapagos Islands last November.

Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You Do NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Next Field Trips

Our next field trips will be to Biolab Road/Peacock's Pocket Road on Friday, Mar 27, Princess Place Preserve on Friday, Apr 10th and Canaveral National Seashore on Saturday, Apr 18th.  Meet at 7 a.m. in the Florida Shores Plaza parking lot in Edgewater, (at the corner of Ridgewood Ave and Indian River Blvd) on the south side of the new Dunkin Donuts bldg. Bring insect repellent and rain gear as well as lunch, snacks and drinks. You do NOT have to be a member to attend.


Check out the field trips page for full details and a complete list of scheduled trips for the year with links to the destinations if available.  You do NOT have to be a member to attend our outings. 


March  Field Activities Report

In March, we went to Orlando Wetlands Park.  Check out the story and results on our birding story blog.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals

    

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March 2015 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

Off Highway Vehicle Use in Tiger Bay State Forest

Last month I mentioned that, despite having litigated the issue in 2013, it had returned to life, this time by Rep Dwayne Taylor of Daytona Beach filing HB-419 to not only allow OHV use in the forest but also to set aside up to 10% of the area for the exclusive use of the OHV community.  


The News-Journal, on Mar 1 invited our elected leaders to share their priorities with the readership. In his comments, Rep. Taylor indicated an understanding of the intent of the voters in passing Amendment 1 and stated he would “work to secure the capital necessary to protect our World’s Most Famous Beach and surrounding natural resources." To me, filing HB-419 would seem to contradict that statement. 

Continue reading>>


 Amendment 1: The fight continues

by Lamont Ingalls

Since the passage of Amendment 1 this past November there been much discussion at the local and state levels about allocating Amendment 1 funds to projects involving water and sewer infrastructure.  These funds from the state documentary stamp tax could total about $750 million dollars this year and are already seen as a course of funding for activities and programs, including operating budgets of state agencies, that are not within the defined purposes of Amendment.The Amendment states:   ccontinue reading>>


Be a Climate Change Messenger for Coastal Birds and Habitat

Florida Audubon is asking you to be a climate messenger.  Their message includes a short article and some youtube videos and powerpoint programs.  The article follows:


"Millions of people value Florida's coastal beaches and saltmarshes as special places in which to live and play. Our coastlines also provide irreplaceable habitat for nesting sea turtles and millions of birds to nest, rest, and feed throughout each year. National Audubon Society's climate scientists recently modeled current North American bird distributions with climate change projections and found that 318 bird species are at risk of extinction due to drastic shifts in their breeding or winter distributions."

continue reading >>


Call for Volunteers

It is that time of the year again.  The April meeting is the one where we elect the slate of officers to manage the club for the following year.  We thank all the officers who have been filling leadership roles for many years, and especially thank Lamont and Leslie for volunteering to fill the Conservation Chair and Secretary positions for this year. 


It is time to get more volunteers to manage the club, or at least help.  We need some new blood to keep the club vibrant and ready to accept new challenges. 


If you look at the executive committee page on our website, you will see the positions that exist.  Some have been vacant for several years.  Many of us have been club officers for over ten years and  some of us have been filling  more than one position for a long time. 


Please consider helping us with just a few hours a month. 


Monarch Butterflies and Swallow-tailed Kites

1.) I attended a talk by Louise Zemaites and learned that they actually band butterflies,  More correctly, they label them but it is the same effect.  They paste a numbered label on the wing as you can see in the attached photos.  In Louise’s case it’s on Monarch Butterflies.  continue reading>>


Bird Iberia with SEVAS by Ken Gunn

Mark your calendars and plan to visit Iberia with SEVAS starting from Lisbon on April 15, 2016.


I am organizing a trip for 14 people to Bird Portugal next April with an optional extension - Catalonia for Couth and Culture.  The Bird Portugal portion is being planned for thirteen days and the Catalonia extension for about another week.


The Portugal trip will start and end in Lisbon and will be operated by Birds and Nature Tours, an excellent Portuguese based birding company.  I have been on a one-day trip with this company and was impressed with their organization and expertise.  Duration is being planned for 13 days in country and will include South Portugal hotspots as well as one location across the Spanish border.

continue reading>>

Minutes of February Meeting

The minutes of the February 12th meeting are on line here.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 12th of March 2015.  It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m.   Our speaker is Heather Culp, Associate Director of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute. Heather’s presentation is entitled "Florida’s Springs and the Sustainability of the Floridan Aquifer."  She will discuss the ecology of our Florida springs, flow reductions and nitrogen pollution.  She will close with ideas for restoration of our springs and protection of the aquifer.  Here is her bio.

Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You Do NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Next Field Trips

Our next field trips will be to Orlando Wetlands Park (Sat. Mar 14) and Biolab Road/Peacock's Pocket Road (Fri, Mar 27).  Meet at 7 a.m. in the Florida Shores Plaza parking lot in Edgewater, (at the corner of Ridgewood Ave and Indian River Blvd) on the south side of the new Dunkin Donuts bldg. Bring insect repellent and rain gear as well as lunch, snacks and drinks. You do NOT have to be a member to attend.


Check out the field trips page for full details and a complete list of scheduled trips for the year with links to the destinations if available.  You do NOT have to be a member to attend our outings. 


February  Field Activities Report

In February, we went to Seminole Rest on Oak Hill and Merritt Island NWR.  The Great-horned Owl nest now has chicks in it.  Great view. I think the ducks went South for the winter.  Check out the story and results on our birding story blog.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals

     Big “O” Birding Festival , March 11-16, 2015   LaBelle, FL

15th Annual Orlando Wetlands Festival – February 21, 2015

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February 2015 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

Off Highway Vehicle Use in Tiger Bay State Forest

We litigated this in 2013 when some citizens pressed a proposal to city governments and the County Council to provide proclamations in support of Off-Highway Vehicles in Tiger Bay State Forest.  The local cities did endorse the proposal, but the County Council wisely took the advice of their staff and the state Forest Service to deny such a proclamation. 


The Forest is comprised of 60% wetlands and over 800 acres of sensitive scrub habitat.  The Forest Service spoke before the cCounty Council and stated that: "Based on our assessment of resources on TBSF, input from the TBSF Liaison Group, the TBSF 10-year Resource Management Plan, and first-hand experience and knowledge of OHV programs, the FFS does not support OHV trails as a compatible use at this location."

Continue reading>>


The Rights of Nature and Amendment 1

by Lamont Ingalls

In his December 2014 “Prez Sez” column Don Picard commented on the long-term efforts of the Ecuadorian government to protect the natural heritage of the Galapagos Islands.  These efforts began in 1937 when the Ecuadorians set aside 97% of the islands as a national park.  Actions to protect and preserve the Galapagos followed on from the 1930s and have recently included implementation of conservation and access controls required to respond the UNCESO declaration in 2007 that this natural reserve was a “Reserve in Danger.”  In his first-hand report, Don noted that the government of Ecuador has done first-rate work in protecting the eco-systems of the Galapagos, and that this work could serve as a model of the application of the “political will” necessary to an active protection of our precious and unique eco-systems.   ccontinue reading>>


Monarch Butterflies and Swallow-tailed Kites

1.) I attended a talk by Louise Zemaites and learned that they actually band butterflies,  More correctly, they label them but it is the same effect.  They paste a numbered label on the wing as you can see in the attached photos.  In Louise’s case it’s on Monarch Butterflies.  continue reading>>


Great Backyard Bird Count

Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time. In 2014, Great Backyard Bird Count participants in 135 countries counted nearly 4,300 species of birds on more than 144,000 checklists!


We invite you to participate! Simply tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, February 13-16, 2015.You can count from any location, anywhere in the world.  To enter the data online, follow the instructions in http://gbbc.birdcount.org/get-started/.

continue reading>>


Tomoka Science Fair

As has been our pleasure for the last twelve years or so, SEVAS has joined with the Halifax River and West Volusia Audubon clubs to support the Tomoka Science Fair sponsored by the Volusia County Public Schools.  We each provide a judge and $100 in prizes for best and second best projects in areas of interest to our missions.  Each first prize winner (Sr and Jr) receives a $100 check and the second place winner receives a $50 check.


This year’s fair was held on January 30th at Atlantic High.  Judges included Fred Mosher from Halifax River, Eli Schaperow from West Volusia and me.  continue reading>>


Bird Iberia with SEVAS by Ken Gunn

Mark your calendars and plan to visit Iberia with SEVAS starting from Lisbon on April 15, 2016.


I am organizing a trip for 14 people to Bird Portugal next April with an optional extension - Catalonia for Couth and Culture.  The Bird Portugal portion is being planned for thirteen days and the Catalonia extension for about another week.


The Portugal trip will start and end in Lisbon and will be operated by Birds and Nature Tours, an excellent Portuguese based birding company.  I have been on a one-day trip with this company and was impressed with their organization and expertise.  Duration is being planned for 13 days in country and will include South Portugal hotspots as well as one location across the Spanish border.

continue reading>>


Used Cell Phones Can Help Save Mountain Gorillas

The following is an article that was published in the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International newsletter some time ago.  I have also learned that the Dian Fossey field workers in Rwanda and The Democratic Republic of the Congo sometimes use donated smart phones or tablets to keep field notes on the gorillas.  All in all, this is a very good cause and a painless way to help some wonderful people.


Text of the article follows: continue reading>>


Ken Gunn       


Need help to protect Wilson's Plover nests near Bethune Beach Park.

During the past two years Wilson's Plovers have nested on the beach near Bethune Beach Park in NSB.  On several occasions, Ken Gunn has had to admonish beachgoers  about their disturbing the plovers or their chicks.

When Black Skimmers were nesting on the beach near Ponce Inlet Park, the Halifax River AS  had folks take turns near the nest explaining about the nesting to visitors. 


The state FWC will be starting a beach stewards program hopefully in time for the next nesting season.  Training should begin in March 2015.  If you are interested in helping protect the nesting birds, their eggs and chicks, please let me know and I will pass your names to the appropriate folks at the County and FWC.  Email me at president@SEVolusiaAudubon.org.


Minutes of January Meeting

The minutes of the January 8th meeting are on line here.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 12th of January 2015.  It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m.   Dr. Frederick R. Mosher, Associate Professor at Embry-Riddle University and a member of the Halifax chapter of the Audubon Society will talk on Tracking Birds with Weather Radar.  This talk will present information on interpretation of radar echoes, how to distinguish between bird flocks and precipitation, and how to access this weather radar information on your computer or smart phone.Here is his bio.

Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You Do NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Christmas Bird Count

A really big thanks to everyone who helped with the Ponce Inlet CBC this year. The 32 participants covered 515 miles by car, boat and walking and logged 97 hours. We ended with 138 species and 31465 individuals. Three reports after the dinner tally added: Red-headed Woodpecker, Marsh Wren, Sora Rail, Black Scoter, Great Horned Owl, Piping Plover, American Wigeon, Purple Sandpiper, Painted Bunting, Muscovy Duck & Northern Flicker. Due to great photographs the 3 rare birds: Common Merganser, Rusty Blackbird and the 5 Magnificent Frigate Birds were readily accepted. For those that missed it the Magnificent Frigate Birds were circling over the Captains Quarters in New Smyrna Beach late in the day.


Hope you enjoyed the day.


Dick & Gail

Next Field Trips

Our next field trip will be to  Riverbreeze Park and Seminole Rest on Friday, Feb 27. Meet at 7 a.m. in the Florida Shores Plaza parking lot in Edgewater, (at the corner of Ridgewood Ave and Indian River Blvd) on the south side of the new Dunkin Donuts bldg. Bring insect repellent and rain gear as well as lunch, snacks and drinks. You do NOT have to be a member to attend.


Check out the field trips page for full details and a complete list of scheduled trips for the year with links to the destinations if available.  You do NOT have to be a member to attend our outings. 


January  Field Activities Report

In January, we went to Merritt Island NWR.  We also visited the Lake Apopka  Restoration Area where we saw the Groove-billed Ani and the White-faced Ibis, life birds for many of us. Check out the story and results on our birding story blog.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals

      Laredo Birding Festival, Feb 5-8, 2015

Orlando Wetlands Park Festival, Feb 21, 2015

Big “O” Birding Festival , March 11-16, 2015   LaBelle, FL

Palm Coast Featherfest, Feb 6-9


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January 2015 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

Conservation Priorities for 2015

Happy New Year to all.  Your executive hopes you had a great holiday season and wishes you the best in health and happiness in 2015.

Now is the traditional time for us to make New Year’s resolutions.  I keep saying that I make resolutions so that I will have something to give up for Lent.  Oftentimes, resolutions go by the wayside because they do not become priorities.  And that is the difference between individuals and organizations.  Organizations set priorities.  Take for example the Florida Audubon.  

At the Audubon Assembly in 2014, the assembled throng voted and approved a set of Conservation Priorities for 2015 for Florida Audubon.  Some of these have a direct effect on us in Volusia County. Continue reading>>


The History, Intent and Challenge of Amendment 1

by Lamont Ingalls


This past November Amendment 1, the Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative, passed handily, with 75% of the voters casting a “yes” vote for this addition to the Florida Constitution.  The voting percentage was well past the 60% supermajority required to amend the state Constitution.  Additionally, the 4.2+ million votes for Amendment 1 were more than those received by any one candidate or other initiative on the ballot.  This was a bi-partisan issue; votes favoring this amendment outnumbered those for either major gubernatorial candidate by around 1.4 million.   continue reading>>


Used Cell Phones Can Help Save Mountain Gorillas

The following is an article that was published in the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International newsletter some time ago.  I have also learned that the Dian Fossey field workers in Rwanda and The Democratic Republic of the Congo sometimes use donated smart phones or tablets to keep field notes on the gorillas.  All in all, this is a very good cause and a painless way to help some wonderful people.


I will not be at the December meeting but if you bring your old phones and tablets to the meeting, Don will collect them and I will send them to the Fossey office.  I will also have contact information for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International in case anyone wishes to be put on their newsletter list.


Text of the article follows: continue reading>>


Ken Gunn       


Need help to protect Wilson's Plover nests near Bethune Beach Park.


During the past two years Wilson's Plovers have nested on the beach near Bethune Beach Park in NSB.  On several occasions, Ken Gunn has had to admonish beachgoers  about their disturbing the plovers or their chicks.


When Black Skimmers were nesting on the beach near Ponce Inlet Park, the Halifax River AS  had folks take turns near the nest explaining about the nesting to visitors. 


The state FWC will be starting a beach stewards program hopefully in time for the next nesting season.  Training should begin in March 2015.  If you are interested in helping protect the nesting birds, their eggs and chicks, please let me know and I will pass your names to the appropriate folks at the County and FWC.  Email me at president@SEVolusiaAudubon.org.


Minutes of December  Meeting

The minutes of the December 11th meeting are on line here.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 8th of January 2015.  It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m.   Dr George Burgess from the University of Florida is Director of the Florida Program for Shark Research and Director of the International Shark Attack File.  He will speak on the sharks in nearby waters and give his thoughts on shark bite causes and frequency.  Here is his bio.

Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You Do NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.


Christmas Bird Count

We wil conduct the CBC on Saturday Jan 3.  We meet at the Brannon Center in New Smyrna Beach ( the former NSB library) at 7 a.m.  If you would like to help, please meet us there.


Next Field Trips

Our next field trip will be to  Merritt Island NWR on Saturday, Jan 17, 2015.  Meet at 7 a.m. in the Florida Shores Plaza parking lot in Edgewater, (at the corner of Ridgewood Ave and Indian River Blvd) on the south side of the new Dunkin Donuts bldg. Bring insect repellent and rain gear as well as lunch, snacks and drinks. You do NOT have to be a member to attend.


Check out the field trips page for full details and a complete list of scheduled trips for the year with links to the destinations if available.  You do NOT have to be a member to attend our outings. 


December  Field Activities Report

In December, we went to Viera Wetlands.  Check out the stories and results on our birding story blog.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals

      Everglades Birding Festival, Jan 15-19, 2015

Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, Jan 22-27, 2015

Laredo Birding Festival, Feb 5-8, 2015

Orlando Wetlands Park Festival, Feb 21, 2015


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December 2014 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

The Everglades is a test.  Will we pass?

"The Everglades is a test.  If we pass it, we may get to keep the earth.”  This quote has been attributed many times to Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, and early activist espousing the need to protect the Everglades and reverse the detrimental effects of agriculture, development and water diversion.  It apparently was actually said many times in the 1980’s by Joe Podgor, a president of the Friends of the Everglades.  In either case, the jury is still out as to whether we pass or fail.

Continue reading>>


Opposed to extension to Williamson Blvd.

by Lamont Ingalls


There is presently a lawsuit brought by Derek LaMontagne et.al. that opposes a proposed 2.5-mile extension of Williamson Boulevard south of Port Orange.  Opposition t0 this extension is principally due to the effects of road construction on this pristine wetland and recharge area within the Spruce Creek drainage.  On November 18th there was an administrative hearing at the Foxman Justice Center in Daytona Beach at which public comments were solicited.  At the request of my counterpart at the Halifax chapter (David Hartgrove) I gave the following public commentary.  I was proud to note that three of the four persons who commented on the suit were from Audubon chapters, including West Volusia and Halifax. continue reading>>


Used Cell Phones Can Help Save Mountain Gorillas

The following is an article that was published in the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International newsletter some time ago.  I have also learned that the Dian Fossey field workers in Rwanda and The Democratic Republic of the Congo sometimes use donated smart phones or tablets to keep field notes on the gorillas.  All in all, this is a very good cause and a painless way to help some wonderful people.


I will not be at the December meeting but if you bring your old phones and tablets to the meeting, Don will collect them and I will send them to the Fossey office.  I will also have contact information for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International in case anyone wishes to be put on their newsletter list.


Text of the article follows: continue reading>>


Ken Gunn       


Need help to protect Wilson's Plover nests near Bethune Beach Park.


During the past two years Wilson's Plovers have nested on the beach near Bethune Beach Park in NSB.  On several occasions, Ken Gunn has had to admonish beachgoers  about their disturbing the plovers or their chicks.


When Black Skimmers were nesting on the beach near Ponce Inlet Park, the Halifax River AS  had folks take turns near the nest explaining about the nesting to visitors. 


The state FWC will be starting a beach stewards program hopefully in time for the next nesting season.  Training should begin in March 2015.  If you are interested in helping protect the nesting birds, their eggs and chicks, please let me know and I will pass your names to the appropriate folks at the County and FWC.  Email me at president@SEVolusiaAudubon.org.


Minutes of November  Meeting

The minutes of the November 13th meeting are on line here.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 11th of December, 2014.  It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m.  Our speakers will be Drs Cindy Bennington and Karen Cole from Stetson University.  They are co-directors of the Volusia Sandhill Ecosystem, a teaching landscape created in 2010 adjacent to the Stetson Gillespie Museum to focus on the original sandhill ecosystem which existed in earlier times.  They will talk about the science being conducted there including the surveys of the biodiversity and their future plans for the area.  Here is their bio.

Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You Do NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.

Next Field Trips

Our next field trips will be to  Viera Wetlands on Saturday, Dec 13, 2014.  Meet at 7 a.m.


Meet in the Florida Shores Plaza parking lot in Edgewater, (at the corner of Ridgewood Ave and Indian River Blvd) on the south side of the new Dunkin Donuts bldg. Bring insect repellent and rain gear as well as lunch, snacks and drinks. You do not have to be a member to attend.


Check out the field trips page for full details and a complete list of scheduled trips for the year with links to the destinations if available.  You do NOT have to be a member to attend our outings. 


November  Field Activities Report

In November, we went to   Merritt Island.  Check out the stories and results on our birding story blog.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals

      Everglades Birding Festival, Jan 15-19, 2015

Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, Jan 22-27, 2015

Laredo Birding Festival, Feb 5-8, 2015

Orlando Wetlands Park Festival, Feb 21, 2015


Special Events

Michael Brothers, Director of the Marine Science Center, will present a program on the pelagic birding tour that he led last May.  It will be at the Marine Discovery Center in NSB on Thursday, Dec 18, 2014 from 6-8 p.m.  No charge, no reservations required. 


Seminole Audubon will have a special program commemorating the passenger pigeon AT 2 P.M., on Sunday, Dec 14, at the First Presbyterian Church, 320 S. Park Ave, Sanford, FL.



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November 2014 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

Audubon Study on Birds and Climate Change

Your executive committee hopes you had a great summer wherever you spent it.  I also welcome our new Conservation Chair, Lamont Ingalls and our new Secretary, Leslie Sachs, and thank them for volunteering to help continue the club for another year.

Lots has happened since we last met and I admit that I had no involvement in it since I spent most of the Spring and Summer in the Northland. But the County Council discussed the fate of our springs and rivers and passed a reasonable ordinance on fertilizers on lawns.  We certainly applaud them for that.

Continue reading>>


Conservation Update: Birds and Climate Change

by Lamont Ingalls


"Become a climate messenger on behalf of Florida’s birds and wildlife. Get involved in your local and regional climate change planning efforts and provide input with local governments, regional planning agencies, and state agencies whenever opportunities present. Thank you in advance for relaying the message that Florida’s natural environment must have a future that goes hand-in-hand with the future of our built environment."

Eric Draper
Executive Director
Audubon Florida
continue reading>>


SJRWMD Update:  Understanding the Mystery of Florida's Springs by Ed Garland

Florida boasts more than 700 springs, the largest convergence of springs on Earth. For centuries, writers and explorers have waxed poetic about the state’s springs, Marjory Stoneman Douglas calling them “bowls of liquid light” and William Bartram characterizing them as “the blue ether of another world.”


Within the St. Johns River Water Management District, 96 springs have been identified and documented. The crystal-clear water from the springs, which maintain a year-round temperature of 72 degrees, is the source for many of north and central Florida’s rivers and streams. They provide the habitat for fish and wildlife, including manatees, alligators, limpkins, herons and turtles.


Springs are also indicators of the health of Florida’s aquifers, the primary sources of the state’s subterranean potable (drinking) water. In recent decades, the ecological structure and function of some springs have changed. The most apparent signs are high nitrate concentrations, decreased native aquatic plants, blooms of attached algae and reduced fish populations.
 continue reading>>


Used Cell Phones Can Help Save Mountain Gorillas

The following is an article that was published in the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International newsletter some time ago.  I have also learned that the Dian Fossey field workers in Rwanda and The Democratic Republic of the Congo sometimes use donated smart phones or tablets to keep field notes on the gorillas.  All in all, this is a very good cause and a painless way to help some wonderful people.


I will not be at the October meeting but if you bring your old phones and tablets to the November meeting, I will collect them and send them to the Fossey office.  I will also have contact information for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International in case anyone wishes to be put on their newsletter list.


Text of the article follows: continue reading>>


Ken Gunn       


Need help to protect Wilson's Plover nests near Bethune Beach Park.


During the past two years Wilson's Plovers have nested on the beach near Bethune Beach Park in NSB.  On several occasions, Ken Gunn has had to admonish beachgoers  about their disturbing the plovers or their chicks.


When Black Skimmers were nesting on the beach near Ponce Inlet Park, the Halifax River AS  had folks take turns near the nest explaining about the nesting to visitors. 


The state FWC will be starting a beach stewards program hopefully in time for the next nesting season.  Training should begin in March 2015.  If you are interested in helping protect the nesting birds, their eggs and chicks, please let me know and I will pass your names to the appropriate folks at the County and FWC.  Email me at president@SEVolusiaAudubon.org.


Minutes of October  Meeting

The minutes of the October 9th meeting are on line here.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 13th of November, 2014.  It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m.  Our speaker will be Ed Northey, Environmental Specialist II with Volusia Mosquito Control.  He will talk about the vocalizations, biology and ecology of the two species of turkey found in Florida. Here is his bio.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You Do NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.

Next Field Trips

Our next field trips will be to  Otter Lake Trail in NSB on Fri. Nov. 14, 2014.  Meet at 8a.m.


Meet in the Florida Shores Plaza parking lot in Edgewater, (at the corner of Ridgewood Ave and Indian River Blvd) on the south side of the new Dunkin Donuts bldg. Bring insect repellent and rain gear as well as lunch, snacks and drinks. You do not have to be a member to attend.


Check out the field trips page for full details and a complete list of scheduled trips for the year with links to the destinations if available.  You do NOT have to be a member to attend our outings. 


October  Field Activities Report

In October, we went to Washington Oaks Garden State Park and Spruce Creek Park. Check out the stories and results on our birding story blog.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals


Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, Jan 22-27, 2013

Laredo Birding Festival, Feb 5-8

Orlando Wetlands Park Festival, Feb 21, 2015


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October 2014 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

Audubon Study on Birds and Climate Change

Your executive committee hopes you had a great summer wherever you spent it.  I also welcome our new Conservation Chair, Lamont Ingalls and our new Secretary, Leslie Sachs, and thank them for volunteering to help continue the club for another year.

Lots has happened since we last met and I admit that I had no involvement in it since I spent most of the Spring and Summer in the Northland. But the County Council discussed the fate of our springs and rivers and passed a reasonable ordinance on fertilizers on lawns.  We certainly applaud them for that.

Continue reading>>


Conservation Update: Birds and Climate Change

by Lamont Ingalls


We used to have four perfect seasons; now, we don’t know what to do anymore.
    -Local Farmer, Wright’s Store, Jamestown, TN; 1989

The September-October 2014 Audubon is a special issue focusing on “Birds and Climate Change.”  A close study of this issue has been disturbing and inspiring. In his introductory essay, CEO and President  David Yarnold states the sobering conclusions of a seven-year Audubon-directed study of the effects of climate changes on North American bird populations.
ccontinue reading>>


SJRWMD Update:  Understanding the Mystery of Florida's Springs by Ed Garland

Florida boasts more than 700 springs, the largest convergence of springs on Earth. For centuries, writers and explorers have waxed poetic about the state’s springs, Marjory Stoneman Douglas calling them “bowls of liquid light” and William Bartram characterizing them as “the blue ether of another world.”


Within the St. Johns River Water Management District, 96 springs have been identified and documented. The crystal-clear water from the springs, which maintain a year-round temperature of 72 degrees, is the source for many of north and central Florida’s rivers and streams. They provide the habitat for fish and wildlife, including manatees, alligators, limpkins, herons and turtles.


Springs are also indicators of the health of Florida’s aquifers, the primary sources of the state’s subterranean potable (drinking) water. In recent decades, the ecological structure and function of some springs have changed. The most apparent signs are high nitrate concentrations, decreased native aquatic plants, blooms of attached algae and reduced fish populations.
 continue reading>>


  Florida Water and Land Legacy Campaign

The campaign is in full swing to get voters to the polls and to vote for Amendment 1.  They are also asking for donations and volunteers to get polling materials to the election sites.  If you are interested in either, go to their website.


Used Cell Phones Can Help Save Mountain Gorillas


The following is an article that was published in the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International newsletter some time ago.  I have also learned that the Dian Fossey field workers in Rwanda and The Democratic Republic of the Congo sometimes use donated smart phones or tablets to keep field notes on the gorillas.  All in all, this is a very good cause and a painless way to help some wonderful people.


I will not be at the October meeting but if you bring your old phones and tablets to the November meeting, I will collect them and send them to the Fossey office.  I will also have contact information for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International in case anyone wishes to be put on their newsletter list.


Text of the article follows: continue reading>>


Ken Gunn       


Need help to protect Wilson's Plover nests near Bethune Beach Park.


During the past two years Wilson's Plovers have nested on the beach near Bethune Beach Park in NSB.  On several occasions, Ken Gunn has had to admonish beachgoers  about their disturbing the plovers or their chicks.


When Black Skimmers were nesting on the beach near Ponce Inlet Park, the Halifax River AS  had folks take turns near the nest explaining about the nesting to visitors. 


The state FWC will be starting a beach stewards program hopefully in time for the next nesting season.  Training should begin in March 2015.  If you are interested in helping protect the nesting birds, their eggs and chicks, please let me know and I will pass your names to the appropriate folks at the County and FWC.  Email me at president@SEVolusiaAudubon.org.


Executive Committee Meeting

We held an executive committee meeting to sort out various programs and other items for the coming year on Sep 30, 2014.  The minutes are on line here.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 9th of October, 2014.  It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m.  Our speaker will be Jay Barnhardt, retired forensic pathologist and expert on wild mushrooms.   He wil provide techniques we can use to identify wild mushrooms using readily available tools. Here is his bio.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You Do NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.

Next Field Trips

Our next field trips will be to  Washington Oaks Gardens State Park on Fri. Oct. 10, 2014.  Meet at 7a.m. We will also have a trip to Spruce Creek Park on Sat. Oct. 25, 2014.  Meet at 8 a.m.


Meet in the Florida Shores Plaza parking lot in Edgewater, (at the corner of Ridgewood Ave and Indian River Blvd) on the south side of the new Dunkin Donuts bldg. Bring insect repellent and rain gear as well as lunch, snacks and drinks .You do not have to be a member to attend.


Check out the field trips page for full details and a complete list of scheduled trips for the year with links to the destinations if available.  You do NOT have to be a member to attend our outings. 


September  Field Activities Report

In September, we went to Smyrna Dunes Park and Audubon Park/Green Springs. Check out the stories and results on our birding story blog.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals


Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, Jan 22-27, 2013

Laredo Birding Festival, Feb 5-8


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May 2014 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

This is a report of the last meeting of the 2013-2014 season.  The meeting was held aboard the pontoon boat of Capt Bill owner of Turtle Mound Tours LLC.  It was a lovely evening a fine boat ride and a pretty sunset.  There were a few birds about including a couple of Oystercatchers.  The biggest find was a Peregrine Falcon perched atop the mangroves near Blue Hole. 


The only order of business was the election of officers.  Don reiterated his plea for volunteers to fill some of the vacancies and Lamont Ingalls volunteered to be Conservation Chair and Leslie Sachs volunteered to be Secretary.


The full slate of officers for the next season is (in order of positions on the executive board page):


Don Picard - President
Leslie Sachs - Secretary

Bill Cox - Treasurer

Don Picard - Newsletter Editor

Ken Gunn - Program

Gail Domroski - Field Trips
Lamont Ingalls - Conservation Chair
Dick Domroski - Membership Chair
Don Picard - Publicity


Thanks to the volunteers who continue to stay for years at a time to help with our work and special thanks to Leslie and Lamont for volunteering to join the team.


As you can see from the Executive Board page, There are still some vacancies and therefore some tasks not being performed.  If you would like to help with one of these, please let me know.


Have a great summer.


See you on the flip side.


Don


April 2014 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

Summer is almost here and the April meeting is the last for the 2013-12014 season.  Migratory birds are working their way to summer breeding grounds and will soon be gone.  But that doesn't mean there is nothing left to do. There are lots of issues to contend with especially dealing with the health of our rivers and our springs.


On the positive side, the Florida Land Water Legacy campaign achieved status to be on the ballot in November as Amendment 1.  Now they are collecting money and soliciting volunteers to educate the public on the amendment.  If you would like more info, go to this link.  continue reading>>


SJRWMD Update:

  District offers water-saving tips for Water Conservation Month

PALATKA, Fla., April 1, 2014 -- April is Water Conservation Month in Florida, and the St. Johns River Water Management District is joining dozens of agencies and local governments to promote the importance of water conservation.


April has been formally recognized as Water Conservation Month in Florida for the past 16 years, as April is typically a dry month when water demands are higher due to springtime planting.


Lawn and landscape irrigation accounts for more than half of all residential water use. Districtwide lawn watering rules are designed to ensure the efficient use of water for landscape irrigation and specify the days when residents and businesses may water. These days depend on whether the property has an odd or even numbered address. continue reading>>


Marine Discovery Center Lagoonacy

The Marine Discovery Center in NSB will hold its annual Lagoonacy on Saturday, April 12th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  They bill it as a "celebration of the insanely fascinating and beautiful Mosquito Lagoon, with a day of fun, food, and festivities throughout Art and Marine Discovery Center."  For more info, sownload their brochure.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 10th of April, 2014.  It will be held at the Turtle Mound Tours, New Smyrna Beach from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.  It will be a boat tour of the Mosquito Lagoon on the pontoon boat of Capt Bill of Turtle Mound Tours LLC.  On the South side of the parking lot and near the river at JB's Fish Camp on A1A in NSB, there is a fence with a gate that says Do Not Enter or some such.  That is the entrance to the Turtle Mound Tours. Eat at home or bag it.  No pot luck.  The only agenda item will be the election of officers for the 2014-2015 season.


DUE TO SPACE LIMITATIONS ON THE BOAT, YOU HAD TO REGISTER FOR THE TRIP AT THE MARCH MEETING.  Approximate cost will be $10 per person.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You Do NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.

Next Field Trips

There are no more field trips scheduled for the rest of the season.


Check out the field trips page for full details and a complete list of scheduled trips for the year with links to the destinations if available.  You do NOT have to be a member to attend our outings. 


March  Field Activities Report

The field trip to Kissimee Prairies and Three-Rivers State park was canceled for weather. Check out the results of previous field trips on our birding story blog.


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March 2014 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

It is at the March meeting where we nominate the slate of officers for the following year.  It is also at that meeting when I ask for volunteers to help run the club.  The same five of us have been performing the same duties for many years.  Much of the time, three of us are gone from the state and even the country.  This year we lost some executive committee members to illness, death and jobs.  We need your help.


We especially need a conservation chair. There are many issues that we need to keep track of from the health of the Indian river to Florida’s springs and fertilizer ordinances to the Shiloh Spaceport.  We need someone to help keep our hand in the game when these and other such issues are discussed in public forums.


Our united and public voices have won the day is issues such as golf courses and new campgrounds in state parks and the decision by the state DEP to stop pursuing the sale of public lands.  Our voices are important and we need someone to help guide them.


Please put your name in the nomination process in March.  Or check out the Executive Board page to see the other positions that are vacant.


Please help the club remain vibrant.


Don


Tomoka Regional Science Fair

For the umpteenth year in a row, the three Audubon clubs of Volusia County got together to support the Tomoka Science Fair sponsored by the Volusia County School system.  We each provided $100 and a judge and looked at the projects from an environment/conservation/birds perspective.  It took place on Feb 8 at Atlantic High School in Port Orange.  Congratulations to the winners.  Continue reading>>


SJRWMD Update:

 

Cooperative funding fuels projects that protect Florida’s water: Funding boosts 23 regional projects
by Ed Garland

In Marion County, up to 1.5 million gallons a day of treated wastewater is discharged to a remote area where it soaks into the ground. The problem: the disposal site is near Silver Springs and contributes to high nitrogen levels and impaired water quality at the historically crystalline springs.


Soon, work will be under way to upgrade the facility so that the wastewater will be treated to “reclaimed effluent standards” before it is pumped to two golf courses where it will keep the grass lush and green while locating the reclaimed water further from the springs.  continue reading>>

Polar Bears v. Murres and Eiders:Knock-on Effects of Global Warming, by Ken

A scientific paper by Samuel Iverson, a PhD candidate at Carlton University in Ottawa, Canada, describes a previously undocumented knock-on effect of global warming.


The number of days of ice cover in the Eastern Arctic area of Hudson Straits and Northern Hudson Bay has declined by sixty days – freezing thirty days later in the fall and melting thirty days earlier in the spring.  The effect of this on Polar Bears is well known.  The bears cannot get offshore to catch seals for an extra month in the fall, making them thinner, and hence weaker, when they do get out.  Secondly, the ice often melts from below them when they are far from land, making it necessary to swim longer distances to reach land and safety.  Not all of them make it!

continue reading>>


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 13th of March, 2014.  It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m.  Our speaker will be Tad Fyock, a petroleum geologist who retired and turned sculptor and photographer.  He will present his impressions of a three week   biring trip to Kenya and the gorillas of Rwanda. Here is his bio.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You Do NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.

Next Field Trips

Our next field trip will be on Mar 28 to  Three Lakes Wildlife Mgt Area/Joe Overstreet Road.  We hope to see Whooping Cranes along with Caracaras and Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and Snail Kites.  We leave at 7 a.m. from the Market Square parking lot in Edgewater, (at the corner of Ridgewood Ave and Indian River Blvd) between Dunkin Donuts and Chik-Fil-A. It will be a long day so bring snacks, lunch and water.


Check out the field trips page for full details and a complete list of scheduled trips for the year with links to the destinations if available.  You do NOT have to be a member to attend our outings. 


February  Field Activities Report

In February, we went to Orlando Wetlands Park.  Check out the story and results on our birding story blog.


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February 2014 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez


SHILOH SPACEPORT PROPOSAL

Space Florida, a state agency, has $60 million to develop and build a commercial spaceport and woo commercial rocket launch companies to central Florida.  Despite the fact that there is plenty of space available on the Kennnedy Space Center and Canaveral  Air Force Station, and despite the protests and explanations of the sensitivity and archeological importance of the area, they have settled on an area in MINWR named Shiloh at the intersection of U.S. 1 and State Route 3. 

WE NEED YOUR HELP TO TRY TO DEFEAT THIS BAD PROPOSAL!  HERE IS WHY:  Continue reading>>

SJRWMD Update: 

Capturing an oral history of Florida’s springs: Experiences enhance understanding of science

by Ed Garland

In 1956, Ike was president, a gyrating Elvis Presley sang “Hound Dog” on the Ed Sullivan Show and Detroit was churning out shark-finned automobiles dripping in chrome. That year, 19-year-old Roosevelt Faison got a job piloting glass bottom boats at the Silver Springs attraction in Ocala, an occupation that he decided would be his lifelong career.  continue reading>>

Christmas Bird Count

Many Thanks to all who helped with the Ponce Inlet CBC. We had several new participants this year that allowed us to divide into 13 teams and do a more through coverage of our circle. We had 38 participants count 141 species and over 43000 individual birds. Our evening dinner checklist of 143 species included a Red-throated Loon & a Barn Owl that were not seen. All data has been entered on the Audubon website and is available for all to view.


If you would like us to email you the 6 page list let us know.


Thanks Again


Dick & Gail Domroski


  Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 13th of february, 2014.  It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m.  Our speaker will be Don Chalfant, a retired teacher talking on birding humor.  Here is his bio.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You Do NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.

Next Field Trips

Our next field trip will be to  Mullet Lake/ Lake Proctor on Feb 7.  We leave at 7 a.m. from the Market Square parking lot in Edgewater, (at the corner of Ridgewood Ave and Indian River Blvd) between Dunkin Donuts and Chik-Fil-A.


Check out the field trips page for full details and a complete list of scheduled trips for the year with links to the destinations if available.  You do NOT have to be a member to attend our outings. 


January  Field Activities Report

In December, we went to MINWR.  Check out the story and results on our birding story blog.


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January 2014 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez


Lee Bidgood Update

I noted in the December Conservation Notes that Lee was serially ill with advanced lymphoma.  According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, he passed away on the 11th of December.  The environmental movement lost a pioneer.  We will miss him.  Our condolences and best wishes go to Catherine and the rest of his family.

The Indian River Lagoon

Water is Florida's engine. It has been chugging on for centuries providing critical resources for Florida's settlement, early manufacturing,  transportation and tourism.  But as time passed, man did things to the water.  Continue reading>>


Conservation Update

There has been a lot of publicity about wind energy and the killing of Bald Eagles.  Recently, a subsidiary of Duke Energy was fined for killing the eagles, and more recently the DOI is about to publish a realy bad rule for the regulation of the industry.  So I thought it important to ensure you are aware of the official National Audubon position on wind energy and eagle conservation but publishing the comments of David Yarnold, president of the NAS.  Here are his remarks.  Please note his call for action in the penultimate paragraph.   Don


"I wanted you to be aware of my opinion piece that was published in Politico on Monday that the editors entitled “Don’t Throw Bald Eagles Under the Bus,” as well as Tuesday's New York Times story, “A Struggle to Balance Wind Energy with Wildlife.”  It’s a fair and thoughtful look at the Department of the Interior’s failure to accept a deal that would have protected eagles while supporting renewable energy deployment.   ccontinue reading>>



SJRWMD Update:  District Board approves Blue Spring, Volusia lake flows and levels prevention and recovery strategy

The St. Johns River Water Management District's Governing Board today approved a comprehensive strategy to protect Blue Spring and six Volusia County lakes from current and potential impacts of groundwater withdrawals. The Volusia minimum flows and levels (MFLs) prevention and recovery strategy calls for groundwater withdrawals to be maintained at or below sustainable limits, or for impacts from groundwater withdrawals to be mitigated through reclaimed water, aquifer recharge and water supply projects, as well as through conservation and regulatory measures. continue reading>>


Christmas Bird Count

Audubon's Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is the longest-running citizen science wildlife survey in the world. The count began in 1900 when Dr. Frank Chapman, founder of Bird-Lore magazine, which evolved into Audubon magazine, suggested an alternative to the holiday “side hunt,” in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most small game, including birds. Chapman proposed that people count birds instead. This will be the 114th edition of the count.


We can still use help.  To learn more about the count, go here.  To join us, please contact Dick or Gail at 428-0447.


Guest Column by Jake Sachs:Nero Fiddling While Rome Burns

Nero is fiddling while Rome continues to burn. That is my impression of the concerted effort to build a private commercial spaceport in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. We already know that the Indian River Lagoon is in big trouble from pollution.

One proponent of this horrendous venture claims that a spaceport will be a net gain for the environment.. By what stretch of the imagination can this be so? Wildlife exists here in spite of NASA's activities and has endured with the help of the United States Fish &

Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.   continue reading>>



West Volusia Audubon Special Event

Field Trip for Monday, January 6, 2014.

A morning event and an afternoon event.

 

On Monday, January 6, 2014, West Volusia Audubon will be hosting a two part field trip day.  The morning event will be "Birding at Smyrna Dunes Park".  The afternoon event will be a Marine Discovery Center "Eco Boat Tour" ccontinue reading>>


  Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 9th of January, 2014.  It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m.  Our speaker will be Dr Eric Stolen, IMA-NASA talking on Florida Vultures.  Here is his bio.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You Do NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.

Next Field Trips

Our next field trip will be to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 18.  We leave at 7 a.m. from the Market Square parking lot in Edgewater, (at the corner of Ridgewood Ave and Indian River Blvd) between Dunkin Donuts and Chik-Fil-A.


Check out the field trips page for full details and a complete list of scheduled trips for the year with links to the destinations if available.  You do NOT have to be a member to attend our outings. 


December  Field Activities Report

In December, we went to Viera Wetlands.  Check out the story and results on our birding story blog.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals

Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, Jan 22-27, 2014

Laredo Birding Festival, Feb 5-8, 2014


Sign up for our alerts and notifications


December 2013 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

How Green can Wind Farms be if They Kill Eagles?

The New York Times reported on Nov 23 that Duke Energy agreed  to pay $1 million in fines as part of the Justice Department’s first criminal case against a wind power company for the deaths of protected birds.  The company was charged with killing 14 golden eagles and dozens of other birds at two wind projects in Wyoming since 2009.  The company acknowledged that they constructed the wind farms in a manner that the knew beforehand could kill birds.  In the plea deal they also agreed to set up monitoring by new radar technology as well as field biologists looking for raptors and directing the shutdown of wind turbines when birds are about to be hazarded.  They will also have to file for an eagle take permit.   Continue reading>>


Conservation Update

In response to my monthly call for inputs to the eSkimmer News, I received the following email from Catherine Bidgood:


"Dear Don,


I’m very sorry to tell you the news about Lee.  He has an advanced case of lymphoma and is in Skilled Nursing at Oak Hammock.  He swears he has no pain but when moved, the nurses swears he does.  Being in Hospice, they will not force him to take pills he does not want.  Several nurses have said a lot of veterans react that way.  They try to stay away from pain killers as long as possible.  We found out not very long ago and have been swamped by decisions and visits from family.  We are so thankful that we live here at O.H. where all the facilities are located so close to our house.

 

His kind of Lymphoma is very aggressive and we don’t expect he’ll live very long.

 

We loved our years with Audubon in New Smyrna Beach and we loved all of you.

 

Catherine Bidgood"
ccontinue reading>>



SJRWMD Update:  District Board approves Blue Spring, Volusia lake flows and levels prevention and recovery strategy

The St. Johns River Water Management District's Governing Board today approved a comprehensive strategy to protect Blue Spring and six Volusia County lakes from current and potential impacts of groundwater withdrawals. The Volusia minimum flows and levels (MFLs) prevention and recovery strategy calls for groundwater withdrawals to be maintained at or below sustainable limits, or for impacts from groundwater withdrawals to be mitigated through reclaimed water, aquifer recharge and water supply projects, as well as through conservation and regulatory measures. continue reading>>


Christmas Bird Count

Audubon's Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is the longest-running citizen science wildlife survey in the world. The count began in 1900 when Dr. Frank Chapman, founder of Bird-Lore magazine, which evolved into Audubon magazine, suggested an alternative to the holiday “side hunt,” in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most small game, including birds. Chapman proposed that people count birds instead. This will be the 114th edition of the count.


We can still use help.  To learn more about the count, go here.  To join us, please contact Dick or Gail at 428-0447.


  Florida Water and Land Legacy Campaign

As you know from attending chapter meetings or reading our monthly newsletter, Southeast Volusia Audubon  joined Audubon Florida in support of Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Campaign.  Protecting our waters, cherished natural areas and wildlife are fundamental to a healthy and vibrant Florida.  The campaign is nearly over, but there is still time to sign a petition if you have not done so.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on Thursday, the 12th of December, 2013.  It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m.  Our speaker will be Dr Marc Compere, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University,  speaking on solar applications.  Here is his bio.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You Do NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.

Next Field Trips

Our next field trip will be to Viera Wetlands on Dec 14th.  We leave at 7 a.m. from the Market Square parking lot in Edgewater, (at the corner of Ridgewood Ave and Indian River Blvd) between Dunkin Donuts and Chik-Fil-A.


Check out the field trips page for full details and a complete list of scheduled trips for the year with links to the destinations if available.  You do NOT have to be a member to attend our outings. 


November  Field Activities Report

In November, we went to Apopka Conservation Area and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.  Check out the story and results on our birding story blog.


Birding and Wildlife Festivals


Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, Jan 22-27, 2013

Laredo Birding Festival, Feb 5-8


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November 2013 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED!

Christmas Bird Count:  can we count on you to help?
Our numbers are dwindling and some of those that we are losing are among the most active.  We need to recruit new volunteers to help the club and also for citizen science projects such as the Christmas Bird Count and Winter Shorebird Survey.  Citizen Science is important because VOLUNTEERS gather and provide  the data to be used by scientists who will then analyze them.  The resulting reports show the health of the bird populations and help inform decisions by regulators and lawmakers about conservation issues.   Continue reading>>


SJRWMD Update:  Gizzard shad harvest reduces nutrient pollution in St. Johns River system

The St. Johns River Water Management District's Lake George gizzard shad harvest removed more than 9,000 pounds of phosphorus and 28,000 pounds of nitrogen from the lake in Volusia and Putnam counties that is part of the St. Johns River system.

Removing gizzard shad from Lake George will help to meet the necessary downstream nutrient loading reduction essential to meeting state water quality standards and reduce the severity of algal blooms in the lower St. Johns River.  continue reading>>


  Florida Water and Land Legacy Campaign

As you know from attending chapter meetings or reading our monthly newsletter, Southeast Volusia Audubon  joined Audubon Florida in support of Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Campaign.  Protecting our waters, cherished natural areas and wildlife are fundamental to a healthy and vibrant Florida.  The campaign is nearly over, but there is still time to sign a petition if you have not done so.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on the 14th of November, 2013.  It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m.  Our speaker will be Deborah Ferraro, from the Merritt Island National Willife Refuge.  Her presentation will be on the Florida Panther.  Here is her bio.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You Do NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.

Next Field Trips

Our next field trip will announced at the meeting.  We leave at 7 a.m.


Check out the field trips page for full details and a complete list of scheduled trips for the year with links to the destinations if available.  You do NOT have to be a member to attend our outings. 


October  Field Activities Report

In October, we went to Spruce Creek Park.  Check out the story and results on our birding story blog.


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October 2013 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

I hope everyone had a great summer and is ready for another season of education, science and activism.  Lots of things have happened since we last communicated.   Continue reading>>


Conservation Update: ‪Dangerous Climate Changes Worsen

‬ by Lee Bidgood

On Sept. 27, 2013, the IPCC (international Panel on Climate Change) released its fifth assessment of global climate change. This one followed the fourth issued in 2007.
 
Like earlier IPCC reports, the fifth warned of extreme dangers from rising greenhouse gas emissions. Average global temperatures could rise 8 or 9 degrees F while sea level could rise three feet this century. The changes could be even worse if stored arctic methane and carbon dioxide were suddenly released by rising arctic temperatures and changing conditions there.  Continue reading>>


SJRWMD Update:  District Launches Springs Protection Initiative by Ed Garland

Demonstrating the state’s commitment to long-term springs protection, the St. Johns River Water Management District began a Springs Protection Initiative in late 2012 that combines science, projects, planning and regulatory programs to reduce nitrate loading and protect spring flows. 


The District has been working with other agencies for many years through various programs to increase knowledge and understanding about the region’s springs, while also working to protect springs systems. continue reading>>


  Florida Water and Land Legacy Campaign

As you know from attending chapter meetings or reading our monthly newsletter, Southeast Volusia Audubon  joined Audubon Florida in support of Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Campaign.  Protecting our waters, cherished natural areas and wildlife are fundamental to a healthy and vibrant Florida.  Continue reading>>


Don Gets His by Dick and Gail Domroski

RECOGNITION that is. At our annual end of year meeting April, 2013 we enjoyed an Indian River Lagoon Cruise with Capt Bill Rostok's of Turtle Mount River Tours. Our traditional pot-luck dinner was replaced with hors d'oeuvres, snacks and sandwiches so we didn't miss a minute of Capt Bills narration and stories about the history of the lagoon and its inhabitants.  continue reading>>


Next Meeting

rostok_sunsetAt  the April 2013 meeting, we enjoyed an evening cruise aboard Capt Bill Rostok's boat in Mosquito Lagoon.  We re-elected the same slate of officers as last year and they graciously accepted.  Don also got a special recognition by Florida Audubon.

Our next meeting will be on the 10th of October, 2013.  It will be held at the Marine Discovery Center on 520 Barracuda Dr, New Smyrna Beach from 7 to 9 p.m.  Our speaker will be Mike Boulware, from the Florida Museum of Natural History.  He is the Living Exhibit Specialist at their Butterfly Rainforest exhibit.  He will speak about butterfly conservation and butterfly gardening.  Here is his bio.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You Do NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.

Next Field Trips

Our next field trip will be to Gemini Springs Park and Green Spring Park in the Deltona/DeBary area.  We leave at 7 a.m.


Check out the field trips page for full details and a complete list of scheduled trips for the year with links to the destinations if available.  You do NOT have to be a member to attend our outings. 


March  Field Activities Report

In March, we had a field trip to Merritt Island NWR and Orlando Wetlands Park. Again the folks at Orlando Wetlands Park were gracious enoough to give us all a tour in their wagon. Check out the stories and results on our birding story blog.


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April 2013 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

IIf you want to find out what our lawmakers are doing in Tallahassee I urge you to join the Florida Audubon Conservation Network and sign up for email alerts.  Another great source of info is the  Florida Conservation Coalition.  Some of the bills they are proposing are really over the top.  For example, one bill would not allow buying more conservation lands without selling off an equal amount of currently-owned lands first.  Another would let owners of property adjacent to state lands to basically take over the public lands.  We all need to get on this.   Continue reading>>


Conservation Update: ‪Keystone XL Pipeline‬ by Lee Bidgood

On March 1, the US State Department released a draft assessment of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. The Department concluded that the pipeline would “not likely result in significant environmental effects”.
 
The Keystone XL pipeline links Canadian tar sands with US Gulf Coast refineries. It would carry a highly toxic oily compound known as bitumen. Pipelines often leak, sometimes severely despite precautions.  Continue reading>>


SJRWMD Update:  New Web Pages focus on Health of Indian River Lagoon System

If you are wondering why the IRL was so murky for the last two summers, check this out.  The St. Johns River Water Management District launched an updated section of its website devoted to challenges facing the health of the Indian River Lagoon. The pages also address work under way to investigate and address the challenges.


At itsyourlagoon.com, visitors will find regular updates as scientists work collaboratively among agencies to determine the cause of death of pelicans and manatees, and the loss of more than 30,000 acres of seagrasses in the lagoon.


  Florida Water and Land Legacy Campaign

As you know from attending chapter meetings or reading our monthly newsletter, Southeast Volusia Audubon  joined Audubon Florida in support of Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Campaign.  Protecting our waters, cherished natural areas and wildlife are fundamental to a healthy and vibrant Florida.   Right now, you can start off the New Year by helping Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Campaign place a critical conservation amendment on the November 2014 ballot. Continue reading>>


Next Meeting

The minutes of the Mar 20th meeting are online. Read them here. 

Our next meeting will be on the 17th of April, 2013.  Our agenda will be to elect a slate of officers for the next year and to determine the venue for next year's meetings.  Will they be at the Edgewater Library or at the Marine Discovery Center.


NOTE:  The meeting will be held at Capt Bill Rostok's Turtle Mound River Tours on the North side of the JB's Fish Camp parking lot near the water.  You had to have registered in advance to participate. 


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You Do NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.

Next Field Trips

 In April, we will had two field trips scheduled.  The one to Buschman Park and Sugar Mill Ruins (Port Orange) on Apr 13th HAS BEEN CANCELLED.  We are still planning to go to Princess Place Preserve on Apr 19th. The Spring Migratory Bird Count has been cacncelled by the USFWS. Check out the field trips page for full details and a complete list of scheduled trips for the year with links to the destinations if available.  You do NOT have to be a member to attend our outings. 


March  Field Activities Report

In March, we had a field trip to Merritt Island NWR and Orlando Wetlands Park. Again the folks at Orlando Wetlands Park were gracious enoough to give us all a tour in their wagon. Check out the stories and results on our birding story blog.


Sign up for our alerts and notifications


March 2013 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

In 2010, when the Florida Forestry Division was publishing its master management plan, some Daytona Beach residents asked that the Tiger Bay State Forest, west of Daytona Beach, be opened to ATVs and other off-road vehicles. The Forest Service did not grant that request.   Late last year, the group tried a different tactic.  That was to get the City Commission to write a declaration of support for the activity in hopes that it would help persuade the Forestry Division to change its mind.  Now they are upping the ante by asking the County Council to do the same.  And they have some support already in the Council.  Continue reading>>


Conservation Update: ‪Keystone XL Pipeline‬ by Lee Bidgood

On March 1, the US State Department released a draft assessment of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. The Department concluded that the pipeline would “not likely result in significant environmental effects”.
 
The Keystone XL pipeline links Canadian tar sands with US Gulf Coast refineries. It would carry a highly toxic oily compound known as bitumen. Pipelines often leak, sometimes severely despite precautions.  Continue reading>>


SJRWMD Update:  Public Lands Offer a Wealth of Recreational Opportunities by Ed Garland

If nature is your thing, consider visiting some of the scenic and unspoiled 700,000 acres of land owned by the St. Johns River Water Management District.


The District manages tracts of land that are important in protecting our water resources, keeping the land in its natural state. The land helps to filter out pollutants from runoff, prevent erosion and provide flood protection, and it serves as protected plant and animal habitat.

 Continue reading>>

 

Water Conservation and Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings time marks a change to the watering rules for lawns.  The rules are determined by the city or the county in which you live and the source of your water.  It is everyone's responsibility to know and follow the rules and to use the best practices for watering lawns.  One of the best practices is xeriscaping, also known as Florida Friendly Yards.  I hope you will do your part to conserve water, one of our most precious resources.  Don.


2013 Winter Shorebird Survey

We had an excellent winter shorebird survey this year, our fifth annual count; the weather was perfect, the birds plentiful and the counters enthusiastic and diligent.  Read the full report and check out the pictures submitted by participants at the birding story blog.


Florida Water and Land Legacy Campaign

As you know from attending chapter meetings or reading our monthly newsletter, Southeast Volusia Audubon  joined Audubon Florida in support of Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Campaign.  Protecting our waters, cherished natural areas and wildlife are fundamental to a healthy and vibrant Florida.   Right now, you can start off the New Year by helping Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Campaign place a critical conservation amendment on the November 2014 ballot. Continue reading>>


Next Meeting

The minutes of the Feb 20th meeting are online. Read them here. 

Our next meeting will be on the 20th of March, 2013.  Our speaker will be Stacy Bell of Volusia County Environmental will talk about Sea Turtles and the county Habitat Conservation Plan.     Here is her bio. 


NOTE:  The meeting will be held at the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach.  It is in the Former NSB High School at

520 Barracuda Blvd.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You Do NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.

Next Field Trip

On Friday, Mar 22, we will tour the Peacock's Pocket and biolab roads of MINWR. In April, we will hsve two field trips.  One to Wekiwa Springs State Park on Fri, Apr 5th, and one to Buschman Park on Apr 13th and to Princess Place Preserve on Apr 19th. Check out the field trips page for full details and a complete list of scheduled trips for the year with links to the destinations if available.  You do NOT have to be a member to attend our outings.


February  Field Activities Report

In February, we had a field trip to Circle B Bar Reserve in Polk County.  In early March, we went to Orlando Wetlands Park. We also conducted a bird walk at Dunes Park sponsored by the Volusia County Land Management folks, in particular Bonnie Cary.  Check out the stories and results on our birding story blog.


Upcoming birding and wildlife festival

The Galveston, TX, Featherfest and Nature Photofest is April 11-14.  Their website is here.


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February 2013 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

Two things caught my interest recently:  The first is the continued push by Space Florida to obtain land for a commercial spaceport near the intersection of State Rd 3 and U.S. 1, and the other is the South Florida Water Management District's decision to assess its land holdings with the expectation of potentially selling some of them off.  Continue reading>>


Conservation Update: ‪Solar Power Developments‬ by Lee Bidgood

Solar power is growing rapidly in many places. For example,  Greece, despite its financial crisis is blossoming with solar systems based on Feed In Tariff (FIT) subsidies adopted in 2006. Greece ranks third among all nations with 0.142 kilowatts (KW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) per capita, trailing only Germany and Italy. 

Continue reading>>


SJRWMD Update:  Seeing the forest for the trees.
Technology and hands-on methods ensure accurate timber count  by Ed Garland

Paul Hudson and Chris Oman maneuver deftly through the thick undergrowth of the forest, intuitively dodging waist-deep palmettos and ever-present gallberry bushes to reach their target.


“I see it,” says Oman, gazing through the uniform rows of slash pines. “The ribbon is on that pine straight ahead.”  Continue reading>>

 

Thanks to Tad Fyock

Tad Fyock, a carver and photographer from NSB donated a carving of a Peregrine Falcon for use as a fundraiser.  Since we has such a small club and could not maximize its value, we partnered with the Space Coast Audubon and sold raffle tickets at the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival.  Continue reading>>


Tomoka Science Fair

Each of the three Volusia Audubon clubs annually contributes $100 toward prizes at the Tomoka Science Fair for a total of $300.  We award a first prize of $100 and a second of $50 in Junior and Senior Divisions to the best environmental related projects.  This year the event was held at Atlantic High School in Daytona Beach on January 19th. Fred Mosher of Halifax River Audubon and Ken Gunn from SEVAS were judges.  Continue reading>>



2013 Winter Shorebird Survey

The 2013 Winter Shorebird Survey (WSS) is taking place Friday, February 8th.  As in previous years, our club is handling the beach between Smyrna Dunes Park and Canaveral National Seashore as well as  onshore and in the wetlands from Rose Bay south.  Beach walkers will start at 8:30 walking north to south in their section.  Boats, canoes, kayaks and vehicles will start at 8:00 and will finish no later than 11:00.


Ken Gunn is coordinating the project for our club.  Teams are almost complete and documents are being sent out to  team leaders.  Interested persons who are not already signed up may contact Ken by phone at 386-423-2334 or 386-478-3947, or by e-mail at gunnsatbeach@cfl.rr.com.  Both birders and non-birders are welcome.


Florida Water and Land Legacy Campaign

As you know from attending chapter meetings or reading our monthly newsletter, Southeast Volusia Audubon  joined Audubon Florida in support of Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Campaign.  Protecting our waters, cherished natural areas and wildlife are fundamental to a healthy and vibrant Florida.   Right now, you can start off the New Year by helping Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Campaign place a critical conservation amendment on the November 2014 ballot. Continue reading>>



Next Meeting

The minutes of the Jan 16th meeting are online. Read them here. 

Our next meeting will be on the 20th of February, 2013.  Our speaker will be Dr. Richard Raid of UF, Everglades Research and Education Center who will talk about Barn Owls.    Here is his bio. 


NOTE:  The meeting will be held at the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach.  It is in the Former NSB High School at

520 Barracuda Blvd.


Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  You Do NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.

Next Field Trip

We had two activities scheduled in February.  The Feb 9 trip to Marl Bed Flats has been cancelled. On Friday, Feb 22, we go to Circle B Bar Reserve in Polk County.   Check out my blog post on this county park here.  Check out the field trips page for full details and a complete list of scheduled trips for the year with links to the destinations if available.  You do NOT have to be a member to attend our outings.


December  Field Activities Report

In December we had a field trip to Merritt Island NWR.  Check out the story and results on our birding story blog.



Kenya Opportunity

Tad Fyock and Ken Gunn are making a birding / animaling trip to Kenya March 13 to April 1, 2013.  We are looking for two to three additional people to make the trip with us.  Cost will be $6500 -$7000 per person plus airfare, depending on how many people they end up with and how many balloon rides they take to see the animals from above.  For more information, call Tad at 386-426-8793 or Ken at 386-423-2334.  For an itinerary, click here.



Upcoming birding and wildlife festivals


The Orlando Wetlands Park annual festival will be held on Feb 16th, 2013.  Their website is here.


The Big "O" Birding Festival on the shores of Lake Okeechobee will be held from Mar 12 to Mar 16, 2013.  Their website is here.


Sign up for our alerts and notifications


January 2013 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

Last month I mentioned that state authorities sent letters to Washington trying to get NASA to relinquish 150 acres along State Road 3 to build a commercial spaceport.  On Sunday, Oct 28, Dinah Voyles-Pulver wrote an article for the Daytona News-Journal about the proposal.  I also mentioned we litigated that in 2008 and won.  Apparently it was also an issue in 1989.  Continue reading>>


Conservation Notes: No D,C. leadership on Climate Change by Lee Bidgood

Congress and the President act like a bunch of little kids upstairs in their house fighting over who gets the biggest piece of pie. Downstairs their house is on fire.
 
The world isn’t burning up yet, although wildfires are bad along with record-breaking and lethal heat waves, drought, deluges, floods and storms.  Continue reading>>


Everglades Nesting Wading Birds in Trouble

Something is wrong! Florida’s wading birds are moving from their historic nesting locations because the water is not right! Wood Storks are nesting at the Jacksonville Zoo. Roseate Spoonbills are suddenly showing up in  local ponds. A recent South Florida Water Management District report indicates more troubling news for the iconic birds of the Everglades.  Continue reading>>

 

Florida Water and Land Legacy Campaign

As you know from attending chapter meetings or reading our monthly newsletter, Southeast Volusia Audubon  joined Audubon Florida in support of Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Campaign.  Protecting our waters, cherished natural areas and wildlife are fundamental to a healthy and vibrant Florida.   Right now, you can start off the New Year by helping Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Campaign place a critical conservation amendment on the November 2014 ballot. Continue reading>>


SJRWMD: District Focused on Springs Protection by Ed Garland

For centuries, springs have been a powerful part of Florida’s allure, embodying a feeling of paradise. Springs are intertwined in Florida’s history, with one of the more famous examples being Spanish explorer Ponce De Leon’s purported quest in 1513 for the fabled spring known as the “Fountain of Youth.”  Continue reading>>


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on the 16th of January, 2013.  Our speaker will be Ms Rebecca Bolt, Wildlife Ecologist at Kennedy Space Center.  She will talk about Central Florida's land turtles.  Here is her bio.  Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.

Next Field Trip

We have two activities scheduled in January.  On Thursday the 17th, we will go to Longleaf Pine Preserve.  On Saturday, Jan 19, we go to Merritt Island NWR.   Check out the field trips page for full details and a complete list of scheduled trips for the year with links to the destinations if available.


December  Field Activities Report

We had two field birding activities in December, a field trip to Viera Wetlands and the Christmas Bird Count.  Check out the stories, pictures and results on our birding story blog.


28th Annual Volusia Soil and Water Conservation District Plant and Tree Sale

 It's time for the 28th Annual Volusia Soil and Water Conservation District Plant and Tree Sale to benefit local conservation projects and Volusia County 4-H!  Order your bare root seedlings now by going to the Volusia County Extension Office 4-H website, or calling 386-822-5778.  More information about the trees is available at the VSWCD websitel.  The sale will take place January 12 and 19 on Hwy. 44 in DeLand by the Volusia County Fairgrounds. 


Twenty types of trees are available this year and five shrubs, including Red Buds, Fringe Trees, Bald Cypress and Red Cedars.  For orders of ten or more, the cost per plant is $2.  Quantities are limited so pre-order today!


Kenya Opportunity

Tad Fyock and Ken Gunn are making a birding / animaling trip to Kenya March 13 to April 1, 2013.  We are looking for two to three additional people to make the trip with us.  Cost will be $6500 -$7000 per person plus airfare, depending on how many people they end up with and how many balloon rides they take to see the animals from above.  For more information, call Tad at 386-426-8793 or Ken at 386-423-2334.  For an itinerary, click here.



Upcoming birding and wildlife festivals

The Sapce Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival will be in Titusville, FL from Jan 23-28, 2013.  Their website is http://spacecoastbirdingandwildlifefestival.org/ .


The Orlando Wetlands Park annual festival will be held on Feb 16th, 2013.  Their website is here.

Sign up for our alerts and notifications


December 2012 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

Last month I mentioned that state authorities sent letters to Washington trying to get NASA to relinquish 150 acres along State Road 3 to build a commercial spaceport.  On Sunday, Oct 28, Dinah Voyles-Pulver wrote an article for the Daytona News-Journal about the proposal.  I also mentioned we litigated that in 2008 and won.  Apparently it was also an issue in 1989.           Continue reading>>


Conservation Notes: No D,C. leadership on Climate Change by Lee Bidgood

Congress and the President act like a bunch of little kids upstairs in their house fighting over who gets the biggest piece of pie. Downstairs their house is on fire.
 
The world isn’t burning up yet, although wildfires are bad along with record-breaking and lethal heat waves, drought, deluges, floods and storms.  Continue reading>>


 

SJRWMD: Wading Birds Appreciate restored reefs by Ed Garland

A recent study found that many wading bird species use restored reefs in ways similar to natural (unrestored) reefs.


The report, “Wading bird usage of oyster reefs as a bio-indicator of ecological function of restored intertidal oyster reefs in Canaveral National Seashore (Mosquito Lagoon, Fla.),” was written by University of Central Florida undergraduate students William Gerrard and Noemi Rebeli Szabo under the direction of biology professor Dr. Linda Walters.


The restored reefs are the work of more than 27,000 volunteers, who over the past six years, have made “oyster mats” and deployed them on 58 impacted oyster reefs in the Mosquito Lagoon.


In addition to wading birds, 149 species of flora and fauna use the lagoon’s oyster reefs during some point in their life cycles, and oyster reefs stabilize shorelines and protect emergent shoreline vegetation.


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be on the 21st of November 2012.  James 'Zach' Zacharias of the Museum of Arts & Science will talk about Prehistoric Volusia.  Here is his bio.  Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.

Next Field Trip

We have two activities scheduled in December.  On Saturday the 15th, we will go to Viera Wetlands.  On Saturday, Dec 29, we have the Christmas Bird Count.  If you want to help, please contact Dick and Gail at 428-0447.  Check out the field trips page for full details and a complete list of scheduled trips for the year with links to the destinations if available.


November  Field Activities Report


We had two field trips in November, one to MINWR and one to Deep Creek.  Check out the stories and results on our birding story blog.


28th Annual Volusia Soil and Water Conservation District Plant and Tree Sale

 It's time for the 28th Annual Volusia Soil and Water Conservation District Plant and Tree Sale to benefit local conservation projects and Volusia County 4-H!  Order your bare root seedlings now by going to the Volusia County Extension Office 4-H website, or calling 386-822-5778.  More information about the trees is available at the VSWCD websitel.  The sale will take place January 12 and 19 on Hwy. 44 in DeLand by the Volusia County Fairgrounds. 


Twenty types of trees are available this year and five shrubs, including Red Buds, Fringe Trees, Bald Cypress and Red Cedars.  For orders of ten or more, the cost per plant is $2.  Quantities are limited so pre-order today!


Kenya Opportunity

Tad Fyock and Ken Gunn are making a birding / animaling trip to Kenya March 13 to April 1, 2013.  We are looking for two to three additional people to make the trip with us.  Cost will be $6500 -$7000 per person plus airfare, depending on how many people they end up with and how many balloon rides they take to see the animals from above.  For more information, call Tad at 386-426-8793 or Ken at 386-423-2334.  For an itinerary, click here.



Upcoming birding and wildlife festivals

The Sapce Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival will be in Titusville, FL from Jan 23-28, 2013.  Their website is http://spacecoastbirdingandwildlifefestival.org/ .


The Orlando Wetlands Park annual festival will be held on Feb 16th, 2013.  Their website is here.

Sign up for our alerts and notifications


November 2012 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

Last month I mentioned that state authorities sent letters to Washington trying to get NASA to relinquish 150 acres along State Road 3 to build a commercial spaceport.  On Sunday, Oct 28, Dinah Voyles-Pulver wrote an article for the Daytona News-Journal about the proposal.  I also mentioned we litigated that in 2008 and won.  Apparently it was also an issue in 1989.           Continue reading>>


SJRWMD Bigclaw Snapping Shrimp by Ed Garland

The bigclaw snapping shrimp is arguably the closest thing to an Indian River Lagoon denizen, seemingly gifted with superpowers.


One of 11 species of snapping shrimp in the lagoon, the bigclaw snapping shrimp (Alpheus heterochaelis) is the largest and most colorful member of the pistol shrimp family in the southeastern United States. A mere two inches in length, the bigclaw is typically a translucent green hue, marked by bright orange and blue along its legs, claws and tip of the tail.               Continue reading>>


SJRWMD Land Assessment Update

Last month I mentioned the fact that the St John's River Water Management District was conducting an assessment of all its land holdings with a view towards potentially identifying surplus lands and disposing of them.


On November 7,  I attended a meeting at the Volusia County Council Chambers.      Continue reading>>


Next  Meeting

Our next meeting will be on the 21st of November 2012.  Laura Seckbach Finn of Fly By Night, Inc will talk about Bats.  Here is her bio Hers is a 501(c)(3) corporation and can use donations of foods and materials.  For a list, click here.  Bring them to the meeting of possible.  Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs. 


Next Field Trip

We have two field tris scheduled in November.  On Saturday the 10th, we will go to Merritt Island NWR.  Quite a few duck species have begun to arrive.  On Friday, Nov 30, we will do a Deep Creek eco-tour. Check out the field trips page for full details and a complete list of scheduled trips for the year with links to the destinations if available.


October  Field Activities Report

We had two field trips in October, one to Lake Woodruff and one to Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve and Spruce Creek Park.  At Lake Woodruff we saw three eagles, four woodpecker species,  and several warbler species.  At Spruce Creek we had Rose-breasted Grosbeak among others.  Check out the results on our birding story blog.


Kenya Opportunity

Tad Fyock and Ken Gunn are making a birding / animaling trip to Kenya March 13 to April 1, 2013.  We are looking for two to three additional people to make the trip with us.  Cost will be $6500 -$7000 per person plus airfare, depending on how many people they end up with and how many balloon rides they take to see the animals from above.  For more information, call Tad at 386-426-8793 or Ken at 386-423-2334.  For an itinerary, click here.



Upcoming birding and wildlife festivals

The Sapce Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival will be in Titusville, FL from Jan 23-28, 2013.  Their website is http://spacecoastbirdingandwildlifefestival.org/ .


The Orlando Wetlands Park annual festival will be held on Feb 16th, 2013.  Their website is here.

Sign up for our alerts and notifications


October 2012 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez


Welcome to a new season of the SEVAS.  We hope you had a great summer wherever you spent it.  Lots happened since we last met.  The NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY put out a new strategic plan. They also partnered with  ConservAmerica , a leading conservative pro-environment group, on a campaign based on common ground called “Because Conservation Doesn’t Have a Party.”  Our hope is to deliver hundreds of thousands of signatures on the American Eagle Compact to the winners of November’s elections.


Volusia County decided to finally start restoring the scrub habitat to favor Scrub Jays at the Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve and mountain bikers  using the preserve objected strenuousy and threatened to take the county to court.  Florida Audubon is partnering with other conservation organizations to place on the ballot in 2014 a constitutional amendment to require the State of Florida to fund a Florida Forever program.  The St John's River Water Management District started a process of identifying whether or not its land holdings included some not needed for the purposes for which they were acquired and could potentially be sold off.  And most recently, the State of Florida is again trying to close access to MINWR and CANA for a commercial spaceport.


Continue reading>>


Conservation Notes: Solar Panels, by Lee Bidgood


Solar panels are popping up on US rooftops and fields nationwide. In the second quarter of 2012, the number of solar installations soared 116 percent over the second quarter 2011. A total new capacity of 742 megawatts was installed.
 
Solar power critics gripe and moan because taxpayers are subsidizing solar. Actually, US subsidies to all renewable energy industries totaled only one percent of the subsidies fed to fossil fuel industries!

continue reading>>


SJRWMD Conducts Land Assessment, by Ed Garland


As part of its work to protect water resources, the St. Johns River Water Management District has purchased land over the past 35 years that provides a variety of public benefits. Under Florida law, water management districts are authorized to buy land for several purposes, including flood control, conservation and the protection of water resources. The District owns approximately 600,000 acres of land throughout its 18-county service area.

Continue reading>>


DORIS LEEPER SPRUCE CREEK PRESERVE

No doubt you all saw Dinah Pulver’s articles in the News- Journal detailing the brouhaha at the Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve. Just in case you didn’t, let me recap the issue.

Land acquisition for the Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve was begun in 1982. The Nature Conservancy, The Trust For Public Land, Audubon of Florida and the St Johns River Water Management District were all instrumental in the efforts to piece together what is now a roughly 2,400 acre natural area that stretches from west of I-95 to the Halifax River, south of Rose Bay. The land is state owned for the most part but is managed by Volusia County. Martins Dairy Road pulls north off Turnbull Bay Road just east of Pioneer Trail. It dead ends in the parking lot for a portion of the Preserve that’s become very popular with mountain bikers and those riding horses on the property.

        Continue reading>>


Next  Meeting

Our next meeting will be on the 17th of October, 2012.  Check out the Meetings page for a full schedule of programs.  Our October speaker is Ray Jarrett, Sr. Biologist / Urban Forester, University of Central Florida and an  ISA Certified Arborist who will talk about  Plants of the Scrub Habitat.  Here is his bio.


Next Field Trip

Our October 20th field trip is to Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve.  It departs from the usual place at 8 a.m.  We may have another field trip on Nov 10.  Check out the field trips page for full details and a complete list of scheduled trips for the year.


September  Field Activities Report

Twelve people participated in the annual Fall Migratory Bird Count on Sep 12.  They counted 87 species and 5065 individual birds.  Highlights includud Red Knots and Veerys.  Check out the list here.


Four people went to Washington Oaks State Park and Matanzas National Monumnent.  Check out the results here.


Wandering Members

Ken spent the summer in Canada and later took a cruise with Garrison Kielor of NPR's Prairie Home Companion fame.  His posts are on the Birding Story Blog.


Also on the blog is a report of a trip Don and Maureen took paddling Lake Ashy to Wiregrass Prairie Preserve with the Volusia County staff.  It was a great opportunity for people to see the Volusia Forever properties first-hand with knowledgeable staff.


NOTE:  The Birding Story Blog is for members and friends to post stories and pictures of their birding adventures.  Even if they are in your own back yard.  If you have a story or pictures that you think might interest the viewers, please send them to me at president@sevolusiaaudubon.org. 


Kenya Opportunity


Tad Fyock and Ken Gunn are making a birding / animaling trip to Kenya March 13 to April 1, 2013.  We are looking for two to three additional people to make the trip with us.  Cost will be $6500 -$7000 per person plus airfare, depending on how many people we end up with and how many balloon rides we take to see the animals from above.  For more information, call Tad at 386-426-8793 or Ken at 386-423-2334.  For an itinerary, click here.


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June 2012 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

We just finished an exciting year and I hope you enjoyed it.  Thanks to all who participated in our success.  Hopefully you learned lots from the excellent speakers Ken got for us.  I also hope you enjoyed the field trips Dick and Gail organized.  Next year will be equally wonderful.  I encourage your participation, not only as observers but as doers.  We need your ideas and your help to continue your club.
 Continue reading>>


Conservation Notes: Media and Climate Change, by Lee Bidgood

Climate change deniers and belittlers still influence important newspapers.


Rolling Stone's April 27 issue features its interview of President Barack Obama. A welcome surprise was our President's statement that he expects climate change to be a major campaign issue.
Obama said, "I will be very clear in voicing my belief that we're going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way."


AP's advance copy of the interview report was published in the April 26 Gainesville Sun and in other newspapers, but AP omitted Obama's climate change discussion.


Liberal outlets including Climate Progress, Politico and CBS news did report Obama's key remarks on climate change.


Florida's future existence probably depends on restraining global warming. The issue needs publicity.


Lee Bidgood, Jr.,


Gainesville


Ed. note;  This was a letter to the editor from Lee to the Gainesville Sun published on Apr 30, 2012 entitled: "The Media need to get the truth out about Climate Change."



St John's Scientist wins National Wetlands Award by Ed Garland, SJRWMD

Ronald Brockmeyer is being recognized for his work to help restore wetlands along the lagoon.


The Environmental Law Institute has chosen Ronald Brockmeyer, an environmental scientist with the St. Johns River Water Management District, as the 2012 National Wetlands Award recipient in State, Tribal and Local Program Development.

Continue reading>>

New Florida Audubon Program:  Florida Special Places Articles

Robert Stamps sent the following email to Chapter Presidents.  Florida Audubon is starting a series of articles to blogs, newspapers, and other outlets to highlight Florida's Special Places.


"Dear chapter presidents,
 
Due in part to threats to many of Florida’s Special Places and a desire to get more people out to these natural areas so they grow a connection to them, Audubon Florida/Florida Audubon Society are working up a series of articles promoting these locations.  We hope you and/or your regional conservation committee members will help by writing about Special Place(s) in your part of the state.  Attached are the suggested author guidelines and an example that Stuart Langton sent out for writing columns for this Special Places series.  Please help with this effort, it just requires some time and careful wordsmithing.
 
Thank you,
Bob Stamps
Chair, Chapters’ Committee


Ed. Note: If you would like ot contribute an article, the guidelines are here.


Next  Meeting

Our next meeting will be on the 17th of October, 2012.  Check out the Meetings page later this summer for a full schedule of programs.


Next Field Trip

There are no more scheduled field trips for the summer.  Next activity will be the Fall Migratory Bird Count in September.  Check out the Field Trips page later in the summer for a list of next year's activities.


April Meeting Minutes

The minutes of the April meeting are posted here. 


May  Field Trip Report

We did not have a formal field trip in May but 12 people participated in the annual Spring Migratory Bird Count.  They counted 90 species and 4620 individual birds.  Check out the list here.


Restoration Bird Counts

The West Volusia Audubon Society has been spearheading the Restoration bird counts for the last several years.  In his latest summary to me, Harry Robinson reports that: " I am attaching the "spring" bird count data for Restoration. I did the count so late I am treating it as the summer count. I am hoping to do two counts in the fall. The main road is totally undriveable so I cannot ask for help yet.
 
The tree thinning in the western half of the area has been completed and the birds seem to be loving it. Most bird populations are very much higher this summer. I also found a singing male Bachman's Sparrow on the NW Spur which bodes well.At the moment the work appears to have been a success but it will await next summer counts to confirm this."


For a complete list of the counts over the years, check out this spreadsheet.


Farmton Update

In 2011, the Sierra Club filed suit against the County of Volusia to prevent permitting of the Farmton tract because of sprawl, unsuitablility for development for development, etc.  They created a YouTube video which you can watch here.  It is ten minutes long.


Wandering Members

This month, Ken posted two entries, one from Moncton, New Brunswick and one from Alberta.  Also, Randy Hitchcock posted a story about his seven day adventure in Costa Rica.  Check them out in the Birding Story Blog in the main menu. Don also posted an entry regarding his trip to Circle B Bar Ranch Preserve and Saddle Creek Ranch County Park in Polk County.


NOTE:  The Birding Story Blog is for members and friends to post stories and pictures of their birding adventures.  Even if they are in your own back yard.  If you have a story or pictures that you think might interest the viewers, please send them to me at president@sevolusiaaudubon.org. 

 

Edgewater Permaculture Society

Heidi and her son graced us with their presence at our pot-luck meeting.  She is involved with an informal non-profit called the Edgewater Permaculture Society.  They do plant swaps, community gardens, events that promote edible landscape and sustainability, etc... It's only 3 years old.  They will be hosting their next Garden Swap Party at Maynard-May Park (413 S. Riverside Dr.) here in Edgewater Saturday August 11 from 9am-11am. This is a free public event.  For more info, check out their website here.



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April 2012 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

It's a sIgn of the times.  The end of subsidies means the end of interest in solar power.    An email from Ken brought this home.  He had been trying to get Jesse Roche, author of the blog "Million Solar Rooftops" to be one of our speakers next season. Apparently, Jesse has abandoned the project because of dwindling interest in rooftop solar in Florida.  The primary cause apparently is the end of the state  subsidies for solar installations.  Continue reading>>


It's in the Air: National Audubon Society Campaign

The Environmental Protection Agency is poised to take a bite out of carbon pollution through proposed standards for new coal-fired power plants. With the unlovely name of New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), this draft rule is nevertheless our next best shot at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing climate change.

Continue reading>>

Conservation Notes: Sandhill Cranes, by Lee Bidgood

I was shocked that sandhill cranes are now hunted in more than a dozen states and other states are considering allowing these magnificent birds to be killed (New York Times Feb. 23, 2012). I found the website of a hunting organization proudly displaying piles of dead sandhill cranes with comments that they are delicious with a flavor like pork chops or prime ribs. Early in the 20th century, sandhill cranes were on a path to extinction, but widespread and popular protection enabled them to recover.   Continue reading>>


Florida's Aquifers: Water beneath our feet by Ed Garland, SJRWMD

A core sample of limestone from the aquifer shows the holes and cracks in the rock that allow water to move underground.


Florida, at times, seems as much a liquid state as it does terra firma. Slosh through its marshes and wetlands, and you’ll probably agree. We live in a land literally shaped by water, a peninsula boasting more than 1,197 miles of coastline and laced with 50,000 miles of rivers and streams, 7,000 lakes and more than 700 known springs.  Continue reading>>


Note from Ed Garland, SJRWMD

The SJRWMD posted excellent information on Feb 21 regarding waterwise landscaping on both our Facebook and Twitter sites. It includes a searchable plant database.  You can go to our home page at floridaswater.com and click on the Facebook or Twitter icons at the top of the home page or check out this link.


April  Meeting

The April meeting will be our annual pot-luck at Menard-May Park on Riverside Drive in Edgewater.  After the meal, we will have the election of officers for the next year.  We still have some vacant positions.  Please consider helping.  The eating starts at 5:30 p.m.  See you there.


April Field Trip

There are three feld trips in April.  One to Canaveral NS, one to Princess Place Preserve, and one to Tomoka State Park.  They all leave from the usual place.  Canaveral and Tomoka depart at 8:00 a.m. and Princess Place departs at 7:00 a.m.  For more info, check the "Field Trips" link in the left pane.


March Meeting Minutes

The minutes of the March meeting are posted here. 


March  Field Trip Report

We went to the Merritt Island NWR.   To see the full report and view some photos, check out the "Birding Story Blog" link in the left pane.


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February 2012 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

In this edition, Don thanks Ken for his yeoman work in organizating the club's participation in the Annual Shorebird Survey.  Then he writes about the seriousness of the water situation in Florida, given the development pressures and the political bent to permit anything businesses want.   Continue reading>>


Conservation Notes: Solar v. Nuclear, by Lee Bidgood

First some worrisome news:  According to NASA , the Arctic in 2011 broke its high temperature record set in 2010. The agency's temperature records go back to 1880. The Arctic has warmed considerably faster since the late 1970s.  As the Arctic warms, floating sea ice shrinks. On Sept. 9, 2011, Arctic sea had shrunk to just above the lowest area ever measured -- in 2007.  Continue reading>>


Wetlands are for the Birds by Ed Garland, SJRWMD

The association of Florida with wetlands is so deeply ingrained in the American psyche that the old joke about “buying swampland in Florida” still endures. Yet, the very gist of the joke implies that wetlands are worthless, an impediment to progress.  Continue reading>>


Hope for Scrub Jays by Ken

One of my field trips, during the Space Coast Birding Festival, was to Seminole Ranch Conservation Area just east of I-95 and between SR-46 and SR-50.  The property comprises over 29,000 acres and includes pine woods, South Lake, scrub land and lightly treed areas with palmetto ground cover.  The area is well managed and habitat is mostly maintained by controlled burning with some mechanical cutting.  Continue reading>>


Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a great way to learn about and enjoy your local birds, engage with family and friends, and join thousands across the country in submitting observations to the GBBC database.  Simply count any birds you observe in your backyard, local park or other location for just 15 minutes on one or more days between Feb 17 and 20, and report your findings online at http://birdcount.org. Learn more about participating in the GBBC here.   Share your GBBC experience throughout your social networks; for Twitter, use #gbbc. 


February  Meeting

The February meeting will be held on Wed, Feb 15 at the Edgewater library.  Our speaker will be Ms. Gina Holt, a raptor rehabilitator and environmental educator.  She has been involved in bird rescue and rehabilitation for ten years and providing environmental education classes with live birds for five.   For more info, check the "Meetings" link in the left pane.

February Field Trip

The field trip will be to Lake Apopka Restoration Area on Sat, Feb 18.  Meet at the usual place at 6 a.m.  Note the time change.  This is a two-hour drive and we need to meet a guide at 8:00 a.m. For more info, check the "Field Trips" link in the left pane.


January Meeting Minutes

The minutes of the January meeting are posted here.


January  Field Trip Report

We went to the gull fly-in  at Daytona Beach Shores.  Over 40 people participated from 4 Audubon clubs. Once again, Michael Brothers proved to be a wonderful guide and teacher.  To see the full report and view some photos, check out the "Birding Story Blog" link in the left pane.


Winter Shorebird Survey Report

We had a total of 30 people out counting of which at least six were first-time counters. We were in two cars, three boats, three kayaks (including one double) and had four teams walking the seashore. Personnel-wise it was a huge success. Citizen science is such a large part of the information gathering for the professionals, who use it to determine trends, set aside critical areas and in general look after the health and well-being of our feathered population.
 
Our bird count was down somewhat from previous years, partly because the wind had blown most of the shorebirds off the beach and we were not able to find them elsewhere, and partly because this appears to be a low year here for all birds – no one seems to have a good handle as to why yet. Maybe this statewide survey, together with other surveys around the country will provide clues. One big plus, however was that three teams, between them, located seven American Oystercatchers – great news!

To see the full report and view some photos, check out the "Birding Story Blog" link in the left pane.


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January 2012 eSkimmer News

 Prez Sez

Your executive hopes you had a great holiday season and wishes you a happy and prosperous 2012.  National Audubon is refocusing its efforts and maybe we should too.  Continue reading>>


Conservation Notes: Christmas Bird Count, by Lee Bidgood

National Audubon’s President and CEO, David Yarnold wrote a valuable commentary about the Christmas Bird count published on Christmas day in the Gainesville Sun. I don’t know if Volusia County media carried his op-ed, distributed by MCT Information Services. Continue reading>>


RESTORE Act

Recently the Senate has introduced legislation called “The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunity, and Revived Economies of the Gulf States Act of 2011” (the “RESTORE Act”). This Senate bill paves the way for Congress to do what voters expect: hold the parties responsible for the Gulf oil disaster accountable for restoring the Gulf by investing fines owed by BP and the other parties responsible for the Gulf oil spill into the Gulf region. Continue reading>>


FARMTON Update

It appears the Farmton folks blind-sided Volusia Couny by applying to the Florida Public Service Commission  for a permit to create a wastewater service area on its land in Brevard and Volusia counties. The application would allow the company to provide wastewater services for the Farmton developments, a requirement of the company's agreements with the two counties, rather than the use of septic tanks.  Continue reading>>


Wind Farms

Recent mass bird kills by wind farms and the potential for more slaughter provided the impetus for the American Bird Conservancy recently to petition the Department of the Interior to create mandatory regulations to protect migratory birds at wind energy facilities.  In addition, in 2011, Audubon led an effort to foster better planning of electric power facilities by helping ensure that power producers, power grid planners, and state regulators would have the information they need in order to avoid environmentally sensitive lands. Meanwhile, plans to build a 32-turbine wind farm near the coast of Washington in a key breeding area for a     threatened seabird have been halted.  Continue reading>>


January Meeting

The January meeting will be held on Wed, Jan 18 at the Edgewater library.  Our January speaker will be Dr. Kirsten Work, Associate Professor at Stetson University. Dr. Work has been an aquatic biologist at Stetson University for eleven years. For more info, check the "Meetings" link in the left pane.


January Field Trip

The January field trip will be to the gull fly-in at Daytona Beach Shores on Jan 27. car-pooling folks will depart from the usual place at 3:15 p.m.  We will meet Michael Brothers at Frank Rendon Park, 2705 S. Atlantic Ave., in Daytona Beach Shores.  We may see as many as 100,000 gulls on this trip. For more info, check the "Field Trips" link in the left pane.


Christmas Bird Count Report

Twenty-nine people split our fifteen mile diameter circle into 11 areas including one boat.  The weather was blustery and rainy for the start but moderated later in the morning.  We tallied 134 species and a total of 79,584 birds.  We thought that 5,860 Laughing Gulls was a lot, but that number paled in comparison to the estimated 50,000 Tree Swallows Clay found himself surrounded by.  For pictures of these swallows and a complete list of birds found, check out the "Birding Story Blog"link in the left pane.


December Field Trip Report

We went to Seminole Rest and then to MINWR.  We saw a couple of Common Loons as well as a Eurasian Widgeon.  To see the full report and view some photos, check out the "Birding Story Blog" link in the left pane.


December Meeting Minutes

The minutes of the December meeting are posted here.


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Nov 21, 2011.  Meeting minutes posted.

The minutes of the November 16th meeting are on line.  Read them here.


Nov 3, 2011.  November eSkimmer is online.

Read it here.


Nov 3, 2011.  Novermber meeting set.

The meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 16th at 7 p.m. at the Edgewater Library.  See the meetings page for a map.  Our speaker will be Chad Truxal, acting Managing Director of the Marine Discovery Center in NSB.  His talk is entitled "Plethora of Plankton".  For more info, including his bio, check here.


Oct 26, 2011.  Meeting minutes posted.

The minutes of the Oct 19th meeting are on line.  Read them here.


Oct 26, 2011.  Field trip report.

The report of the Oct 22 field trip to Lake Woodruff NWR is in the blog.


Oct 4, 2011.  Birds of the beach and the IRL.

Don Picard will be presenting a program describing the birds people see while walking along the beach and paddling in the Indian River Lagoon along with anecdotes about many of these birds.  The program will be held at the NSB library on Saturday, Oct 8, at 10-12 a.m.  Come and bring a friend.


Oct 4, 2011.  October meeting set.

The meeting will be held on Wednesday, Oct 19.  Our guest speaker will be Charlie DuToit, a retired FL State Park field biologist.  His topic will be "The seasons of the Tomoka Marsh."  Read his bio here.  Come and bring a friend.    


Oct 4, 2011.  October eSkimmer is on line.

Read it here.


Sep 24, 2011.  Executive Committee Meeting.

An executive committee meeting was held on Sep 3, 2011.  We set goals for the next season and discussed ways to improve meeting attendance and to get our word out.  The minutes are posted here.


Sep 1, 2011.  Fall Migratory Bird Count.

The count will be held on Saturday, Sep 17th.  If you can volunteer ( and we do need volunteers) please contact Dick and Gail at 428-0447.


Aug 30, 2011.  Florida Keys Birding and Wildlife Festival.

The festival will be held from Sep 21-25 and will be anchored at Curry Hammock State Park, MM 56.2, Marathon, FL. Additional information is available at their website.  They do not have on-line registration and cannot accept credit cards.  As of this writing, none of the events is filled.  If interested, call to verify the availability of  the events in which you are interested. and email the registration form.  They can pencil you in while your check is in the mail.


Aug 11, 2011.  Audubon Magazine Renewal Scam.

Several  members received mail notices asking them to renew their Audubon Magazine memberships by sending a renewal card and cash/check to Publishers Billing Association or to go to their website to use their credit card.  THIS IS A SCAM.  Do not pay them or go to their website.  National Audubon and Audubon of Florida have been notified.  If you get a card like this in the mail, throw it away.


Aug 11, 2011.  The August eSkimmer is online.

Read it here.


Jul 20, 2011.  Sentor Rubio on the EPA and Greenhouse Gases.

Last month I wrote an email to Senator Rubio asking him to support the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in relation to global climate change.  I thought you might enjoy his reply.  Apparently he believes politicians are more capable of regulating these emissions than professionals and scientists.


Jul 12, 2011.  Campgrounds update.

It seems like Governor Scott found out how many state citizens love their state parks and are concerned about this proposal and its fast-tracking.  He has decided to pull back on the project.  Great job, citizenry!


Jul 5, 2011.  New campgrounds for our state parks.

After being rebufffed over the idea of closing 53 state parks and then building golf courses in them (all to be designed by Jack Nicklaus) comes another idea of having campgrounds built in about 50 of them, the construction and management of which would be done by contractor/concessionaire.  To make matters even more interesting, the DEP, which manages the Florida Park Service has won approval to fast-track the idea.  Makes you wonder if they already have the contractor/concessionaire already lined up.


Our main concern is the potential effect on the sensitive resources the parks are supposed to protect, and whether or not they can withstand the additional visitor pressure.  I also worry that contractors like to bulldoze all the trees, shrubs, etc. from an area so there is nothing that will interfere with their heavy equipment.


Dinah Voyles-Pulver has written an article on the subject in the News-Journal.


Jun 11, 2011.  Still skirmishing over Farmton.

It was obvious that Farmton would be approved by the state after Gov. Scott decimated the DCA.  But that is not stopping the interest.  Check out the two part series on Farmton in the Hometown News Jun 3 and Jun 10. 


Now comes word that another humongous development has been approved in Orange/Osceola area.  It will include almost 30,000 residential units and 8.5 million square feet of commercial building.  The old DCA disapproved it, but guess what happened next?


Apr 12, 2011.  Farmton to reshape Southeast Volusia.

Check out Dinah Voyles-Pulver's great synopsis in the Sunday, Apr 10 Daytona News-Journal here.


Apr 12, 2011.  April meeting announced.

This is the last meeting of the year in the Edgewater Library.  The April 20 meeting will be our annual potluck dinner at 5:30 PM in the Menard-May Park in Edgewater.  At that time, elections will be held.  All officers currently serving have agreed to stay on.  We are, however, in need of a vice president and a conservation chair.  Anyone interested in serving in these capacities is urged to contact Don Picard or any other officer.


April 12, 2011.  The April eSkimmer is online.

Read it here.


Mar 27, 2011.  March meeting minutes are online.

Read them here.


Mar 10, 2011.  Golf Courses in State Parks.

So now we really know why Governor Rick Scott nixed the proposal to close 53

state parks a few weeks ago.   He figured his next proposal would so outrage

the fans of state parks that he better get some goodwill first.


Sen. John Thrasher of St. Augustine and Rep. Pat Rooney of West Palm Beach

each introduced bills to create the Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail, providing a

no-bid, exclusive opportunity for Nicklaus’ company to design golf courses

in, of all places, STATE PARKS!!!!


Please read the attached alert and the cited newspaper articles, vote in the

Orlando Sentinel poll contact Thrasher and Rooney, and pass the word to your

friends.

For more information, read here.


Mar 6, 2011.  March meeting announced.

Out March Speaker will be Tad Fyock , a bird sculptor / photographer, who now makes his home on Bethune Beach.   Last November, Tad and his son-in-law visited The Galapagos Islands of Ecuador.  He has developed an excellent slide show of his photographs from that trip and will further entertain us with comments on the flora and fauna being shown. 


Mar 6, 2011.  The March eSkimmer is online.

Read it here.


Feb 23, 2011.  House Guts Environmental Protection Agency.

House Republicans passed spending legislation that would, among many other things:


- Strip the Clean Air Act of its ability to reduce dangerous carbon dioxide pollution;

- Grant Shell and other polluters a free pass to drill in the Arctic; and

- Remove Endangered Species Act protection for the iconic gray wolf.

To read more and to take action, click here.


Feb 18, 2011.  Feb minutes are on line.

Read them here.


Feb 14, 2011.  Feb 19 Field Trip Set.

On the field trip page, the Feb 19 has been TBA. No more.  Michael Brothers of the Marine Science Center will lead our trip to the gull fly-in at Daytona Beach Shores.  It may be the largest congregation of gulls on any beach in the United States, as many as 30,000 gulls in any evening.  Vega, Thayer's, Franklin's, Glaucous, Iceland, Bonaparte's, and Black-headed gulls have been documented in addition to our usual species. 


Check out our Field Trip page for meeting details.


Feb 10, 2011.  eSkimmer Alerts!

In the past, eSkimmer alerts were few and far between.  However, the times and the politics have changed.  There are now many threats to our environment, our state and national parks, and our overall quality of life that we feel a need to bring them to your attention. 


Although our email inboxes are full of alerts from the various organizations to whose newsletters we subscribe, we are not sure that our readers want this.  So we will issue a maximum of two eSkimmer Alerts per month, one with the eSkimmer publication  and one at another time during the month if warranted.  If there are several issues we will combine them into a single alert.   Such is the case today.

The two issues are the potential loss of 53 Florida state parks and the use of longline fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.

There is now a new section on the website dedicated to the eSkimmer Alerts.  Just click the ALERT! link in the left nav bar.


Feb 3, 2011.  Tomoka Regional Science Fair.

For the umpteenth year, the three Volusia County Audubon groups collaborated to provide judges and prizes for students having projects which meet our environmental/conservation agenda.  We did it again on Jan 27th.  Judges were Karyn Hoffmann WVAS, Fred Mosher HRAS, and Don Picard SEVAS.  We all had a great time interviewing the students and congratulate all of them for achieving the regional level.  Special congratulations go to our prize winners.  For a list of the winners, their schools and science fair titles, look here.


Feb 3, 2011.  February meeting announced.

Our February 16th speaker will be Mr. Ed Garland, a Communications Specialist with the St. Johns River Water Management District. Ed will be speaking about the District’s role in planning for future water supply needs and how people can do their part to protect this precious resource.  Read more here.



Feb 3, 2011.  The February eSkimmer is on line.

Read it here.


Feb 3, 2011.  Executive Committee Meeting.

An executive committee meeeting was held after the January general membership meeting.  The minutes are here.


Jan 25, 2011.  January minutes are online.

Read them here.


Jan 17, 2011.  Birds falling from the sky.

If you wondered about all the birds falling from the sky in the last week or so, you are not alone.  Here is a website that is chronicling the stories around the world of bird and fish die-offs.


Jan 6, 2011.  January eSkimmer is online.

Read it here.


Jan 3, 2011.  January meeting set.

Our January 2011 speaker will be Dr. Kirsten Work, Associate Professor at Stetson University.  Dr. Work has been an aquatic biologist at Stetson University for the ten years.  


The number and diversity of aquatic organisms, and a significant proportion of terrestrial organisms, is based on bacterial and algal production.  Why is this important? Land use changes can affect the architecture of nesting, roosting, and feeding sites for all birds.  However, land use changes also can affect the nutrient content and, in turn, the bacterial and algal density and diversity, of bodies of water.  Changes in bacterial and algal populations can affect the density and diversity of the fish on which many wading, swimming, and diving birds feed. 


For more info on Dr Work, look here.


Jan 3, 2011.  Happy New Year.

Your executive hopes you had a great holiday season and wish you all  the best for 2011.


Dec 19, 2010.  Minutes of the December meeting are online.

Read them here.


Dec 19, 2010.  Christmas Bird Count.

Our Christmas Bird Count will be conducted on Jan 2, 2011.  Meet at 7 a.m. at the Brannon Center in New Smyrna Beach. To register early, contact Dick and Gail at 428-0447.  Check out the National Audubon press release here.


Dec 11, 2010.  December meeting set.

The December 15th meeting will feature Bob Montanaro who will take us through the adventures to two nesting pairs of Osprey.  This will include both still photography and video.  For more information, check here.


Dec 6, 2010.  The December eSkimmer is on line.

Read it here.


Dec 1, 2010.  November meeting minutes are on line.

Read them here.


Nov 8, 2010.  November eSkimmer is on line.

Read it here.


Nov 3, 2010.  November meeting set.

Our November speaker will be Dr. Terence Farrell of Stetson University.  Catching ringneck snakes and redback salamanders in his backyard obviously planted the seeds for his subsequent career choice. The title of his talk will be Herpetology for the Ornithologist.


Nov 3, 2010.  Save our Seas, Beaches and Shores.

The Florida Wildlife Federation, et. al., are starting a petition drive to place the issue of near-shore oil drilling on the Florida ballot in Nov. 2012.  If approved, the constitutional ban would apply to Florida's state waters, 3 miles into the Atlantic Ocean and 10 miles into the Gulf.  Currently, drilling is banned by state law, which can be overturned at any time.  The state House of Representatives voted to allow drilling in state waters in 2009.  Luckily, the Senate did not act and the ban was not lifted.


It will require 700,000 signed petitions for the issue to be placed on the 2012 ballot.  To download and send a petition, see their website at www.sosbs.org.


Oct 26, 2010.  Bird Rescue in NSB Needs Your Help.

The Bird Rescue in NSB/Edgewater link at left outlines the way it works here.  Part of the plan was for the Marine Discovery Center in NSB to transport the injured birds tor the Marine Discovery Center in Ponce Inlet via the NSB Water Taxi.  With the demise of the water taxi, there is no way to transport the injured birds to the recovery center at the MSC in Ponce Inlet.  If you can help transport injured birds, contact Stacey Bell of the Volusia County Environmental Agency.  To see her full email and contact info, read here.


Oct 7, 2010.  Loggerhead Shrike study.

Loggerhead Shrikes are declining across much of their range.  As part of a restoration effort, the Canadian government and its partners have sprayed the breasts of juveniles with green, blue or purple.  Adults have been banded.  They are trying to find out where the birds spend their winters.  If you see colored shrikes or banded shrikes, you are asked to contact them.  For more information, see their leter and email here.


Oct 7, 2010.  Fall Migratory Bird Count.

Thanks to all of you who participated in the fall count.  The results are posted here.


Oct 5, 2010.  The October eSkimmer is on line.

Read it here.


Oct 2, 2010.  October meeting set.

The first meeting of the new season will be on the 20th.  Our guest speaker will be Lisa Roberts, Executive Director of the Florida Wildflower Foundation.  The Florida Wildflower Foundation’s mission is to enrich lives with Florida’s native wildflowers.  She will  discuss the importance of using native plants in your gardening and landscaping and will explain how that contributes to the diversity in our environment.  Bring a friend (birder or gardener or both) and enjoy her presentation.


June 7, 2010.  Debra Woodall Powerpoint Presentation.

At the March Meeting, Dr. Woodall talked about the ocean currents, the good, the bad and the ugly.  Many folks wanted to see a copy of her presentation online.  It is here.


June 1, 2010.  Bird Rescue in NSB and Edgewater.

Bird  rescue in NSB and Edgewater is now a three-party operation.   For full details, check out this page or the link on the bottom of the left navigation bar.

May 7. 2010.  April meeting minutes posted.

Read them here.


Apr 7, 2010.  April eSkimmer is online.

Read it here.


Mar 20,2010.  March meeting minutes posted.

Read them here.


Mar 15, 2010.  Farmton to be reviewed at VCGMC.

The Volusia County Growth Management Commission will review the Farmton proposal at its meeting on March 24th at 7 p.m., at 123 West Indiana in Deland.  Here is the email I sent to the commission asking them to vote NO! on Farmton.


Mar 4, 2010.  March meeting set.

The March meeting will be held on March 17th.  Our guest speaker will be Dr. Debra Woodall of Daytona State College.  Her topic will be: "Ocean Currents 101- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."


Mar 4. 2010.  The March eSkimmer is online.

Read it here.

Feb 22, 2010.  Farmton update.

At the last meeting, I briefed on the latest updates to the Farmton project, including the meeting between Charles Lee, the Conservation Chair of Audubon of Florida ant the presidents of SEVAS, Halifax River and West Volusia Audubons.  The members voted unanimously to continue our objection to the Farmton project.  I sent an email to the members of the Volusia County Council asking them to vote the project down.  As you probably know, Farmton passed with a vote of four to two, with Andy Kelly and Carl Persis voting No!

As a result of our vote, I intend to send another email to the Volusia County Growth Management Commission before their meeting later this month asking them to vote NO on the project.  I will also send an email to the state Department of community Affairs asking them to renew their disapproval of the project.


Feb 22. 2010. Tomoka Regional Science Fair.

As has been our custom in the past ten years, the SEVAS partnered with the Halifax River and West Volusia Audubons to provide judges and prizes for the Tomoka Regional Science Fair.  We each contributed $100 to be distributed as $100 first prizes and $50 second prizes.  Our judges looked for the best senior and junior participants in projects involving environment/conservation/birding projects. Our congratulations to all the participants we judged and especially to the winners:

First place Senior: Kelton Williams, Deland H. S. "Environmental Effects on Banana Ripening and Sugar Content"
First Place Junior: Chase Antilla, Buddy Taylor M. S. (Flagler) "What duration of ultraviolet exposure kills bacteria?"
Second place Senior:  Katelyn Zeringue, Deland H.S. "What is the most effective fuel: B-100 bio-diesel, B-50 Bio-Diesel, or 0-Bio-diesel?"
Second place Junior: Michelle He, Creekside M. S. (Port Orange) "What are some natural ant repellents?"

Feb 22, 2010. February meeting minutes posted.

Read them here.



Feb 15. 2010. Volusia County Council and Farmton.

On Feb 17, the Volusia County Council will take up the Farmton issue for a second time. As you may recall, the state Department of Community Affairs rejected the proposal in December, and the county and Farmton went back to the drawig boards to attempt to please the DCA. Here is the email I sent to the council members asking them to reject Farmton.


Feb 10,2010. The February eSkimmer is online.

Read it here.


Feb 9, 2010. February meeting set.

The next meeting will be held on February 17th. Our speaker will be Dr. Michael Reiter, Associate Professor at Bethune-Cookman College. His topic will be "Global Warming and what we can do about it."


Feb 9, 2010. Winter Shorebird Survey.

SEVAS was invited by the Volusia County Environmental Section to assist in the Volusia County portion of the 2010 Winter Shorebird Survey sponsored by the Florida Shorebird Alliance.Thanks to all who participated in the survey on Feb 4-5. Read Ken's report and check out some of the great pics the folks took.


Jan 28, 2010. Announcing the Great Backyard Bird Count for 2010.

The next big citizen science event of the year is the Great Backyard Bird Count February 12th through 15th. This one is really as easy as 1-2-3 since it can be in your own backyard. This is a great way to get your children or grandchildren involved in. You can also use a park or other area to count birds in. And don’t forget large store parking areas. Help the kids learn the names of some species. Get friends involved, especially if they have yards with good natural areas or have feeders because they enjoy watching birds at the feeders. For more information, check out the eSkimmer or click here.


January 25, 2010. Farmton update.

The News-Journal reports that the revised Farmton plan will be discussed at the County Council meeting on Jan 18. It also mentions the petition being circulated on the web opposing the development. If you would like to sign the petition, see it here.


January 24, 2010. January presentation online.

Michael Brothers gave an incredible talk on the Natural History of Volusia County. Many of the members asked for a copy of his slides. Here is the full Powerpoint presentation (56 Mb) and here is a browser-friendly version which will be easier to download and will not require Powerpoint viewer.

January 24, 2010. January meeting minutes online.

Read them here.


January 13, 2010. The January eSkimmer is online.

Read it here.


January 13, 2010. CBC results announced.

Our thanks to the 31 volunteers who participated in the 110th Christmas Bird Count. Roughly 38,000 birds in 125 species were counted. Special thanks to Jeff Jones, Landfill Manager, who greatly assisted our team at the landfill. See the results in Microsoft Excel format or in Microsoft Works format.


December 31, 2009. January meeting set.

The next meeting will be on January 20th and will feature Mr. Michael Brothers, Director of the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet. Dr. Brothers will discuss the Natural History of East Central Florida.


Dec 31, 2009. We wish you all a Happy and healthy 2010.


Dec 22, 2009. Christmas Bird Count.

Our annual CBC will be held on January 2nd. If you would like to participate, please contact Gail Domroski or show up at the Brannon Center at 7:00 a.m. for team assignment.


Dec 22, 2009. Minutes of last meeting are on line.

Read them here.


Dec 22, 2009. Volusia Shorebird Partnership.

An organizational meeting of varous parties and government agencies interested in protecting nesting and resting shorebirds was held on 12 Dec 09. The minutes of the meeting are here.


Dec 4, 2009. The eSkimmer is on line.

Read it here.


Dec 1, 2009. Atlantic Flyway Initiative.

National Audubon is concerned about the loss of habitat from global climate change and rampant development along the Eastern Seabord. As a result, they are initiating a grass-roots, science-based program to map and protect important areas for birds and other animals, with emphasis on those that migrate seasonally. For more information, read the Atlantic Flyway Initiative document.


Dec 1, 2009. December meeting set.

The December meeting will be held on Wednesday, Dec 16. Our speaker will be Gary Knight, Director of the Florida Natural Areas Inventory.


Dec 1, 2009. Good news on Farmton!

The Farmton project for Brevard County was denied by the DCA with many of the same reasons we had. They will now take up the Volusia County part and are expected to decide by Dec. 24.


Nov 18, 2009. Letter to DCA on Farmton.

The Farmton project sailed throught the Edgewater City Council and the Volusia County Commission. Here is our letter to the Florida Department of Community Affairs denouncing the project.


Nov 18, 2009. November meeting minutes and presentation.

The November meeting minutes are on line. Dr Mosher, meteorologist and Prof at Embry-Riddle University gave an engaging and technical presentation on global climate change. A pdf version of his presentation is here. It is 13Mb, so a broadband connection is useful for the download.


Nov 16, 2009. Lee Bidgood elected Conservation Chair Emeritus.

In recognition of his past service to the club and the environmental community, Lee Bidgood has been elected to the post of Conservation Chair Emeritus. Congratulations, and thanks for all you have done and will continue to do.


Nov 6, 2009. The November eSkimmer is on line.

Read it here.


Nov 6, 2009. Climate change the subject of the November meeting.

Our guest speaker will be Fred Mosher, Ph.D., a meteorologist for the last 30 years and now Assistant Professor at Embry-Riddle University. For more about his background and his topic, click here.


Oct 12, 2009. The October eSkimmer is on line.

Read it here.


estuary day

Sep 26, 2009. Club supports National Estuary Day.

On Saturday, the club celebrated the National Estuary Day by participating in an event sponsored by the Marine Discovery Center at their facility in NSB. Dick, Gail, Fern and Don manned a booth and had conversations with lots of people hoping to engage them in our organization’s pursuits. Dick’s son, Richard, made a banner for our booth. Mayor Sally McKay read a proclamation from the City of NSB proclaiming the necessity of preserving and protecting the Indian River Lagoon as one of the most diverse estuaries in the country and a nursery for the ocean. She also graced our booth with her presence. Click the image for a larger view.


Sep 25, 2009. September meeting minutes posted online.

The minutes will no longer be read at the meetings in order to shorten the length of the business meeting. Check out the September meeting minutes
to see what you missed. It is a Microsoft Word .doc file.


Sep 11, 2009. September eSkimmer is online.


Sep 7, 2009. Announcement of Meetings.

The first meeting of the season will be on the 16th of September at the Edgewater Library at 7 p.m. NOTE the change. Meetings will be on the third Wednesday of the month this year. Meeting nights and presenters are on the Meetings page. Some of them are already posted. Field trips will be posted shortly. Join us in educational and engaging events.


Aug 9, 2009. Tell us your birding stories.

Our hosting service provides the capability to use the blog on our site. I am using it as a forum for members to tell their birding stories. It is live and there are stories from Ken and me. It allows pictures and movies too. So please send me your stories and I will post them. You can see it by clicking the Birding Story blog in the menu at the left.


Aug 9, 2009. Old stuff archived.

The site was getting a little long so I decided to cut it off and archive the old stuff. You can find it by clicking the News Archives link on the menu bar.


Jun 2, 2009. Plovers at Smyrna Dunes Park.

The Wilson's Plovers at Smyrna Dunes Park are apparently doing quite well. We saw two today, one female and the other is believed to be a juvenile. Check out the video clip. Note: It is a Quick Time movie and about 4 Mb. Let me know how it worked for you.


Jun 2, 2009. Myrtle Avenue Park butterfly garden.

Remember the Myrtle Avenue Park butterfly garden? We had our last meting of the year at the NSB Middle School. It is the Science Club, under the direction of teacher Barbara Hawes who will be doing it. Ray Jarrett from the State Dept of Agriculture attended and provided some great insight to the students on the way ahead. We will start planting in the fall when the students return to classes. All the approvals have been obtained.


May 19, 2009. Spring Migratory Bird Count results.

The Spring count was held on the 9th of May. It was a beautiful day to be outdoors. The participants counted 3812 birds from 89 species. Our thanks to all who participated. To see the tally sheet, click here.