Photo: Pinyon Jay by Jennie Scherbinski
The Great Basin Bird Observatory's 2023 Nevada Bird-a-thon is fast approaching! Join birders across Nevada in counting as many bird species as possible between May 5th-15th. Participate for a chance to win prizes while raising money for bird conservation. GBBO's goal for 2023 is to raise $10,000 to support the research of Great Basin Bird Observatory. Sign up today!
Learn more about the Bird-a-thon here:
LAS is hosting a Welcome and Thank you Party honoring Diane Wong-Kone, Anna Bateman, and Drew Lindsey. This event is a potluck, so please help us celebrate by bringing either an appetizer or dessert to share. Plan to mix and mingle with fellow LAS members while helping us show our appreciation to our LAS staff.
LAS Welcome and Thank You Party
Appetizer and Dessert Potluck
Tuesday, Nov 29, 2022
6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
The River School Farm, 777 White Fir Street, Reno
Thank you, Diane Wong-Kone!
For the last year, Diane has served as our Development Coordinator VISTA. Diane has been a long time member of LAS and the local birding community and she brought so many wonderful ideas and great energy to our organization. Many of you have seen the amazing work she has done, but you may not realize how much she was responsible for. If you enjoyed our Annual Report, American Sign Language interpreted birding walks, the return of Spring Wings, and our inaugural Bird Drawing Workshops, you can thank Diane! She wrote grants to support these projects and even continued the drawing workshops beyond the grant project. She has written articles for The Pelican newsletter, led field trips, joined our Pinyon Jay and Shorebird Survey projects, and helped with outreach and education. Sadly, all good things must come to an end and Diane finished her AmeriCorps VISTA term of service last week. We are so grateful for everything that she accomplished for LAS and happy to know she will still be in the area. If you run into her at an LAS event, please thank her for all her hard work.
Welcome Anna Bateman!
On behalf of the Board of Trustees of Lahontan Audubon Society, it is my pleasure to announce that Anna Bateman has been appointed as our Executive Director effective November 7, 2022. Anna is a native Nevadan and a Native American. Anna graduated from UNLV with a degree in Social Science/Public Administration. She continued her education at UNR where she received a Graduate degree in Justice Management. Anna is currently working on a PhD in Cross Cultural Studies/Indigenous Sustainability from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Anna has served the peoples of Nevada in multiple ways including as a teacher, an advocate for children and for victims, a coordinator for Fallon Family Services, and as a director for Shoshone Tribal vocational rehabilitation services. Most recently, Anna has been serving as the Tribal Administrator for the Valdez Native Tribe in Valdez, Alaska. Anna has returned home to Fallon, NV to share her extensive knowledge of grant writing and organization administration along with a passion for environmental conservation and social justice with LAS. Her knowledge and experience will assist us in furthering our goals of bird conservation and community education. Please help us welcome Anna to the LAS family!
Welcome Drew Lindsey!
Drew Lindsey has joined the LAS family as our newest VISTA volunteer. Drew is working with LAS as our Program Development Coordinator. He will be helping us plan new events and programs to meet the needs of our growing community. Drew is a native Texan, attended college at Evergreen State in Olympia, Washington, and worked as an educator and docent at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, PA. Please help us welcome Drew to Northern Nevada!
"I am looking forward to working with the Lahontan Audubon Society team and helping with bird conservation efforts in Northern Nevada." - Drew Lindsey
Welcome Tom Stille and Linda St-Cyr to our Board of Trustees!
Finally, we would like to welcome our two new trustees, Tom Stille and Linda St-Cyr. Thank you both for stepping in to these leadership positions at LAS. Sadly, that means we are saying goodbye to two of our former trustees. Big thanks to David Jickling and Sally Bates for their service on the board.
Welcome to our new Field Trip Committee Chair, Lauren Whitenack! Lauren is a PhD student at the University of Nevada, Reno studying Mountain Chickadee breeding ecology, and one of our newest Trustees. She has been interested in birds from the young age of 13 when she began volunteering at the Intermountain Bird Observatory near Boise, ID. Before moving to Reno in August 2021, she worked as a bird bander in both Idaho and Western North Carolina and conducted bird research as an undergraduate. She is currently a graduate teaching assistant for a Field Ornithology course at UNR, and enjoys sharing her passion for birds with others. Lauren is bringing a fresh energy to the field trip committee and wants to know how we can best serve you. Please fill out this short survey on what you would like to see from our field trip programs in the future. You can also join Lauren on her upcoming field trip to Rancho San Rafael or Hunter Creek Trail and thank her for coordinating our birding field trips!
Also a huge thank you to our outgoing committee chair, Jasmine Kleiber, for all the great work she has done over the past few years!
For the past two years, Parker Flickinger has served as our Community Engagement and Marketing Coordinator VISTA. Parker has been an amazing addition to our team, developing our Birding by Bus program, welcoming new field trip volunteers, hosting auditory bird walks with Nevada Federation for the Blind, and spreading his passion for birds to everyone he meets. Parker has also been the voice behind our social media accounts and created our YouTube channel where we share our presentations and educational programs. His enthusiasm and energy will be missed and we wish Parker the best as he pursues a graduate degree. Thanks for everything, Parker!!!
We have new officers on our Board of Trustees. Huge thank you to our outgoing president, David Jickling, and outgoing secretary, Suzie Reynolds. Though neither of them will be going far! Suzie was elected as the new president of our organization and David was elected to fill the Vice President seat that has been vacant for the past year. Mike Goddard was elected to serve as secretary and Bill Fletcher has agreed to stay on as our treasurer. The rest of our board is filled out by Brendan Bucy, Rose Strickland, Bri Usdrowski, and our newest board members, Sally Bates, and Lauren Whitenack. Please join us in thanking this dedicated group of volunteers for their service. We do have some committee chair roles that we are looking to fill. If you are interested in leading any of our committees please fill out a volunteer interest form.
Earlier this year we shared that a particularly virulent strain of avian influenza is circulating in the US. Recently a case was confirmed in a backyard chicken flock in Carson City. The risk to humans is low, however, there has been one reported case of this strain making the jump to a human in Colorado. For the time being we are not accepting donations of dead birds for our taxidermy collection and we ask if you find a dead bird do not handle it. If would like to report it, contact Nevada Department of Wildlife for further instructions.
If there is an outbreak is detected in your area, please remove bird feeders and baths until the outbreak has subsided. Additionally, it is good practice to regularly sterilize your bird feeders and baths to avoid outbreaks of any communicable disease in your backyard flock. Check out our article on Salmonella and Responsible Bird Feeding for details on maintaining feeders.
By Jennie Jones Scherbinski
Lahontan Audubon Society is truly a special organization full of amazing volunteers and dedicated members and I am so proud of all the work that we have accomplished over the past two years. Unfortunately, I have made the decision to step away from my leadership role and I have asked the board to begin recruiting for the next Executive Director. Some of you may know that my husband and I welcomed our first son last year and I have been doing double duty as a full-time mom and part time executive director. As LAS continues to grow, I feel that I will no longer be able to provide the level of attention that it deserves. This was an incredibly difficult decision for me, but ultimately I think it is in the best interest of the organization and I am confident that we can find someone to take LAS to the next level. I will remain involved with LAS and work to ensure all the momentum we have built continues forward. Our programs have started to garner attention nationally and I am so excited to see where the next chapter leads us. Thank you all for your support over the last few years. It has been an honor to serve you.
Our chapter was honored to be a guest at the Mark Wellman Adventure Day event last Sunday. Mark Wellman adventure day is an event at Sparks Marina where disabled people have the opportunity to try outdoor activities such as kayaking and rock climbing. Our staff brought along a number of resources for participants to learn and interact with, including binoculars and museum skins. We had a wonderful time speaking with and entertaining guests who stopped by. We also kept a small bird list of the species we observed flying by as we spoke with guests. Sparks Marina is a wonderful birding hotspot and without intentionally seeking, we observed 22 different species. A full list is included as part of the trip report below.
Our staff sends a huge thank you to all the partner organizations involved including:
A particularly virulent strain of avian flu has been spreading in the US. Much like the flu in humans, avian flu is cyclical and new strains may cause higher infection and mortality rates. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Center for Disease control are both carefully monitoring the situation. As of 5/9/22, there have been no cases of this strain reported in Nevada. You can check the USDA’s full list of documented cases here. The risk to humans is low, however, there has been one reported case of this strain making the jump to a human in Colorado. If you find a dead bird and would like to report it, do not handle the bird and contact Nevada Department of Wildlife for further instructions.
We will be monitoring the situation in our area and providing updates when necessary. If there is an outbreak in your area, please remove bird feeders and baths until the outbreak has subsided. Additionally, it is good practice to regularly sterilize your bird feeders and baths to avoid outbreaks of any communicable disease in your backyard flock. Check out our article on Salmonella and Responsible Bird Feeding for details on maintaining feeders.
The Nevada Arts Council has just awarded the Lahontan Audubon Society an Arts Learning Grant. Thank you, Nevada Arts Council and the National Endowment of the Arts, for your support. With this grant, Lahontan Audubon will offer a series of free, online bird drawing classes with science illustrator, Christine Elder, and nature journal educator, John Muir Laws, this spring. Christine was the featured artist for the recent Winter Wings Festival in Klamath, Oregon. John Muir Laws (aka Jack) is the champion of the nature journaling movement and author/illustrator of the Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada. These amazing artists will teach us some of the tips and tricks for drawing birds in the field. Lahontan Audubon Society is excited to be able to present this new series of art classes! Please stay tuned for details. We will be posting more information on these classes on our website soon.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our recent program survey. We appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback with us and we will be working hard make our programs align with the responses we received. See the full results below.
Thank you to everyone who joined us for our first Field Trip Guide Workshop! We had 14 participants join in the fun, including a mix of veteran leaders and new leaders. It was such a great opportunity to exchange ideas and go birding with a great group of people. Along the way we saw Common Goldeneyes, Red-shouldered Hawks, Cedar Waxwings, American Robins, Northern Flickers, and more. If you weren’t able to join us this time, and are interested in leading or co-leading a field trip don’t worry, we will have additional opportunities to get involved. The only prerequisite to be a guide is having a passion for birding, birders of all levels are welcome. Send us an email if you are interested in learning more about leading a field trip.
Just some of the many backyard birds you can find around Reno, courtesy of our photo contest.