We’re updating our Bylaws to modernize them and make them more flexible. Information will be sent to members in November, with ballots going out around 11/13 and the deadline for voting on 11/24. To learn more, click:
Herefor a copy of the full text of the Proposed new Bylaws
Here for a copy of the full text of the Existing Bylaws
Here for a copy of the Summary of the changes proposed to the Bylaws
DECEMBER MEETING – PRESENTED ON ZOOM
Skagit Audubon Holiday Member Photo Show Presented by You! Tuesday, December 8, 7:00 PM
Please join us from the comfort of your home for our annual December Member Photo Program. The program will be a bit different this year, as it will be presented virtually on Zoom. Photos submitted by our members will be the stars of the show!
The December SAS member meeting will precede the photo presentation.
Preregistration is required and is limited to 100 attendees. Please only one registrant per household. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to sign in at the time of the Zoom event. Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conservation Report - December 2020
By Tim Manns
At this writing near mid-November, certain election results remain up in the air, but we can reasonably see some things on the horizon for environmental issues. In their transition planning, the incoming Biden administration has a strong focus on getting the federal government on track addressing climate change in a comprehensive way. National Audubon has called for concerted action since at least 2014 when its research showed that more than half of North American bird species could lose half their current ranges by 2080 due to warming temperatures. In Washington State, with Governor Inslee at the helm and his party the majority in both houses, we’ll see continued emphasis on climate legislation even with pandemic-related budget challenges.
In our state, transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Audubon’s priorities for environmental legislation will again focus on passing a Clean Fuel Standard as in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. This would support electrification of transportation and require lowering greenhouse gas emissions per unit of transportation fuel. With other conservation groups, Audubon will advocate updating the Growth Management Act. When passed in 1990, the act didn’t mention climate change. Including planning for climate resilience in the comprehensive plans of municipalities and counties is one proposed change. During the 1900’s, Puget Sound lost almost 80% of its tidal wetlands to agricultural conversion to the detriment of salmon, shorebirds, and more. Protection and restoration of these wetlands is a focus of Audubon’s new Puget Sound Conservation Strategy and supports multi-benefit natural solutions to climate resilience.
Here in Skagit County, in late 2020 and in 2021, we’ll continue to add our voice in support of wildlife habitat. Many government and non-governmental groups are engaged in restoring salmon habitat along Skagit’s rivers, streams, and in estuaries. Audubon weighs in on these projects because of their relevance to our mission. The planned restoration of estuarine wetlands on the “Farmed Island” portion of Skagit Wildlife Area is a current example. We’ll continue to speak too for the protection of the wetlands at Anacortes’ Ship Harbor Interpretive Preserve with its very high avian diversity.
There are many other continuing issues which Skagit Audubon will track in 2021, expressing our chapter’s support for protecting habitat for birds and other wildlife. We’ll watch for the next development in the Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) plan to manage Marbled Murrelet habitat on state trust lands. Conservation groups have brought suit against DNR, arguing for updating the age-old interpretation of its mandate to produce benefits for the trust beneficiaries (i.e. various public institutions) in managing these public lands. We’ll see what DNR does in reaction to recent concerted criticism of the very inadequate environmental review of the latest proposal for the Cascade Big Bear Mine near Marblemount and the proposals to mine gravel on Fidalgo Island and near the Samish River. We’ll see whether the Navy modifies plans for training Growler crews flying from Whidbey Naval Air Station over Olympic National Park’s Marbled Murrelet and Spotted Owl habitat, and whether the State Parks & Recreation Commission allows Navy special operations training in 29 state parks. At some point the Skagit County Commissioners will decide whether to improve protection for large heronries against concerted opposition from most Planning Commission members - - and if our optimism for a better outcome in the City of Anacortes is warranted. We’ll see if our three County Commissioners, one newly elected, continue to stretch their portfolio to include a role in wildlife management in regards to elk in the Skagit Valley, the potential re-start of grizzly bear restoration planning under a new federal administration, and whatever other such matters arise.
A new year will bring new issues and the continuation of many old ones. What will remain unchanged is Audubon members’ connection to this place, its birds and other wild inhabitants, and our readiness to spend time and talent in defense of the place and its wildlife. We’ll do this recognizing that people have valued this place for thousands of years, the traditional home of the Salish People, our neighbors and friends. We’ll work on environmental issues and pursue all Skagit Audubon’s activities realizing that opportunities have not been equal for all and that environmental impacts have often fallen disproportionately on people of color and members of other less represented groups.
In addressing environmental issues, Skagit Audubon benefits from the wide range of experience and expertise in its membership. If there are Audubon issues with which you’d like to get involved, contact Tim Manns at email@example.com. For more about issues, go to “Conservation” on the Skagit Audubon website: www.skagitaudubon.org.
Padilla Bay Christmas Bird Count
At this writing in mid-November, Skagit Audubon plans to hold the Padilla Bay Christmas Bird Count (CBC) on Saturday, December 26. Skagit County is currently in Covid Phase 2, limiting outdoor gatherings of non-household members to 5 or fewer people, staying at least 6 feet apart. Count participants must follow all public health requirements. There won’t be carpooling or sharing spotting scopes or binoculars, and there will be no in person gathering to compare results at the end of the day. If changes in Skagit County’s pandemic situation necessitate further restrictions which make the count infeasible, it will be cancelled and participants will be notified. Following the necessary public health measures means that the count, the 43rd for this CBC circle, will not be able to use the help of as many volunteers as in the past (71 in 2019). Please direct questions about the count to Tim Manns (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Washington Ornithological Society is hosting the following virtual program Monday, December 7, 2020 7:30 p.m. (PDT):
Olivia Sanderfoot on “Canary in a Coal Mine, Revisited: Emerging evidence of air pollution as an overlooked threat to birds.” Go to the WOS website for program details and sign up. https://wos.org/monthly-meetings
FROM YOUR EDITOR - December, by Mary Sinker
It’s that time of year when all sorts of decorative bird feeding ideas pop up in catalogs and on shelves in stores catering to bird lovers. Bird seed ornaments shaped like stockings, stars, trees or bells, and seed wreaths sporting beautiful bows, decorate our yards and feed our feathered friends.
An easy and fun project for adults and children alike is assembling your own holiday wreath. Straw or grapevine wreaths hold together well and can be used several times (assuming raccoons don’t do them in) over the winter months. Coat the wreath base with peanut butter. Now comes the really fun part! Adding assorted seeds, dried fruits and/or nuts lets you customize the wreath with the favorite foods your birds enjoy. I recommend assembling this wreath close to where you will hang it since it is a bit messy. The birds will happily eat any leftovers that end up on the ground when you’ve finished your masterpiece. You may even attract some new avian visitors!
Wishing you a safe and healthy holiday season and see you in 2021!
The Education Committee needs volunteers to help with a number of adult presentations coming up in the next several months. These Power Point presentations are scheduled at libraries and private organizations/clubs in the area. If you can help give part of a presentation (already written), that would be great; or, you can assist with the computer and help answer questions from the audience. If you can lend a hand, please contact Sheila at email@example.com
Skagit Audubon Society holds monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of each month except for the months of July and August. We meet at 7:00 pm at Padilla Bay Interpretive Center(Google map), 10441 Bayview-Edison Rd. Mount Vernon. Meetings are open to all.
The board of directors meets at the same location at 7:00 pm on the first Tuesday of each month, except for the months of July and August.