Sonoma County Water Wishes
Message from Our President
by Jeff Holtzman
As the long, hot summer days turn to the crisp days of autumn, the relativequiet of our region's bird chorus is broadened and brightened by the arrivalof fall migrants. But did you ever wonder what it would be like if our wanderingwarblers were no longer to return? That frightful prospect, made all toostunningly possible by increased habitat destruction in both the northernand southern hemispheres, as well as other critical factors, has led MadroneAudubon to again commit our chapter's efforts to support the Partners inFlight program. This program is a coalition of international and local conservationgroups, government agencies and others working to halt the decline of songbirdspecies.
During our annual planning meeting held in early August at the BouveriePreserve, Partners in Flight (formerly known as Birds in the Balance) wasone of the major topics for discussion in setting our course for the upcomingyear. We learned that Madrone has done much already to support this programby way of education, research and habitat protection but that more mustand will be done to meet this important challenge. We have some excitingideas now in the planning stages and welcome your interest, support, andmost importantly, your volunteer efforts to turn them into reality.
In line with our increased efforts towards Partners in Flight, we haveexpanded Madrone's mission statement to recognize the importance of researchin our activities. As revised, the statement now reads, "The MadroneAudubon Society...promotes public education, enjoyment, study, andprotection of the natural world, especially birds." MAS studies haveincluded a 10-year area bird census, the results of which are publishedin our Sonoma County Breeding Bird Atlas, our Bird Census at the MayacamasPreserve, annual participation in national Christmas Bird Count, and thissummer's Burrowing Owl study, among others.
Another significant topic discussed at the planning meeting was our rolewith National Audubon's Mayacamas Mountains Sanctuary. Jesse Grantham, sanctuariesmanager for NAS, was present, and indicated that National would like usto take as much responsibility as we're willing to handle for the Sanctuary,which is located a few miles outside Healdsburg. We talked about the opportunitiesand the responsibilities that increased involvement with the Preserve wouldentail. The consensus is that Madrone will become more actively involvedbut that we must do so prudently in a manner that does not outreach ourresources. A subcommittee is being developed to work with Jesse on how Madronecan become a more active Sanctuary participant.
We also discussed the current and historical relationship between MadroneAudubon and the Bouverie Preserve. It was agreed that this is an importantconnection for both organizations, and that the membership should periodicallybe informed about it. Look for an article about this in the Leaves thisfall.
Some other outcomes of the meeting were the reaffirmation of education,especially environmental education for children, as a top priority for MadroneAudubon, and looking into ways to assist property management companies whichwant to act as environmentally responsible caretakers of their properties.
It was a great meeting, and wrapped up within the allotted four hours.Thanks to all the attendees whose energy, commitment and insight made ita very productive start for the new Audubon year. With your help, we canadvance the mission of Madrone Audubon and turn our plans for this yearinto reality.