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President’s Notes

President’s Notes – November-December, 2017
by Bob Phreaner


On Saturday, October 14, seven OPAS members represented us at the Audubon Council of Washington (ACOW) meeting located in the beautiful Red Cedar Hall at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Center in Blyn. Approximately 80 people attended, representing 18 of 25 Audubon Chapters in Washington. Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Council member Kurt Grinnell thanked us for coming, and Loni Greninger warmly welcomed us in their native language. The setting with the view of Sequim Bay was outstanding and the birding was exceptional.

Our keynote speaker was Commissioner of Public Lands, Hilary Franz, who talked about a wide range of issues affecting the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). She described climate change as DNR’s greatest challenge with clear evidence in the poor health of our forests. Other topics included the high cost of fighting yearly wildfires, ocean acidification, choosing the Marbled Murrelet Long-term Conservation Strategy alternative, opposing Atlantic salmon marine net pens, and DNR’s policy of not allowing the use of their aquatic lands to transport fossil fuels. Matt Anderson from National Audubon reminded us that birds aren’t members of any political party and can be used to highlight climate change. Further presentations included National Audubon’s “Plants for Birds” and “Climate Watch” programs.

Prior to the ACOW meeting, an Education Workshop was held on Friday that included a discussion on equity, diversity and inclusion. Calen Randal, 18, an enthusiastic birder, shared his vision of a youth birding program in Washington State. Also on Friday, our Washington State Audubon Conservation Committee (WSACC) met and discussed legislative issues and climate action. OPAS presented a “Resolution to Cease Permitting Atlantic Salmon Aquaculture in Washington’s Marine Waters”. (Read the separate WSACC article in this newsletter to learn more about that meeting).

On Sunday, ACOW participants enjoyed field trips to the mouth of the Elwha and our local bays and shores, thanks to leaders Bob Boekelheide, Ken Wiersema, Denny Van Horn, Gary Bullock and Marie Grad. In addition, we would especially like to thank Arnold and Deb Schouten for hosting an Audubon WA group on a tour of Dry Creek Waterfowl.

The planning for the ACOW meeting took most of the past year and many hours of work from OPAS leaders Mary Porter-Solberg and Ken Wiersema. Next year’s ACOW will be held in the King County region, whose coordinator told us that he will be hard-pressed to match the beauty of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Center in Blyn.

Looking forward, I urge you to support the Dungeness River Audubon Center Fall Fundraiser and beat the Black Friday crowds with a visit to NatureMart at DRAC on November 17-18. It wouldn’t be the winter solstice season without participation in local Christmas Bird Counts at Neah Bay on December 17th, Sequim-Dungeness on Monday, December 18, and Port Angeles on December 30. (See article by Bob Boekelheide in this newsletter for details). Finding our feathered friends on the shortest days of the year lifts your spirits and reminds you that nature is just resting before a Spring filled with birdsong.

Happy Holidays,
Bob and Enid Phreaner

From Harlequin Happenings, November-December, 2017