President’s Notes – July – August, 2019
by Judi White
In July, I will take over the Presidency of OPAS from Bob Phreaner. It is a daunting responsibility to take over the presidency of an organization so well loved and tended. Bob coordinated with other Audubon Washington representatives and diverse conservation coalition groups to achieve the major conservation victory in May 2019, Senate Bill 5116, which puts Washington State on a path toward 100 percent clean electricity by 2045. The law also creates conservation standards for large new buildings, phases out harmful hydrofluorocarbons, sets new efficiency standards for appliances, and places Washington State in a leadership position in the national clean-power movement. In other good legislative news, DRAC expansion received a $1.5 million Washington State Capital Budget Appropriation. We are grateful for the representation and leadership of Representatives Steve Tharinger (Chair of the House Budget Committee), Mike Chapman, and Senator Kevin Van De Wege.
Bob Phreaner will be returning to chair the OPAS Conservation Committee to continue his hard work, and has asked Conservation Committee member Pete Walker to assist him as vice-chair. Other OPAS Officers have generously offered to remain in their positions, including Bob Boekelheide as Vice-President, Enid Phreaner as Secretary, and Wendy Hirotaka as Treasurer, and I thank them for bringing me up to speed and assisting with this transition. Marie Grad has accepted the co-chair position on the Field Trip Committee with John Gatchet, who recently joined the OPAS Board and has led numerous excellent OPAS field trips. Marie will continue the quarterly “Beginners and Newcomers” bird walk series. Our other OPAS Board members and committee chairs have also agreed to remain in their positions, too numerous to name, but please see the Board listing. Their contributions are very valuable, but we also encourage new members to volunteer and become more involved with OPAS. One such is Sandy Boren, who has offered to co-chair the Publicity committee with Sara-Ellen Peterson. Sandy came to Sequim three years ago. As a keen nature lover and gardener, she is enjoying her retirement and especially appreciates OPAS and DRAC for making it easy to find the local activities she loves: birding, wildflower walks, and the book club. She spent most of her working life as a software engineer and is facile with social media.
Three years ago was also the time I first came to Sequim, and after completing cancer treatment in fall 2017, I decided to retire from my medical practice and pick up my binoculars to see what birds I could find besides those who had faithfully visited me at my back yard feeder during my treatment. Eventually, I discovered the Wednesday morning bird walks and the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society, a group of most generous, organized, and committed volunteers, with a mission to promote birding and habitat conservation through science-based education, advocacy, and stewardship. OPAS has certainly inspired my wonder, and I feel the responsibility to serve the organization as President as a means to say “thank-you” for the caring, and the birding, and conservation education I have received. To borrow from the National Audubon slogan “You are what hope looks like to a bird”. I would also add “A bird is what hope looks like to you”: hope for a sustainable future, including birds and the places they need in a healthy society.