HSV Newsletter - Spring 2017 Kathy Jurek, Editor
Greetings from your new President, formerly known as bird seed lady. I miss the chats we had when you would drive up to get your seed year after year. Please stop by at a meeting to say hi.
We are some of the luckiest people around to have a love for birds and be members of an active Audubon Society right here in the Village. Birding is a hobby that increases our knowledge and gives us exercise at the same time, well not if we are just looking out a window, but if we are out on a trail walking you will get the exercise part. In either case, getting a new bird for your Life List is a special joy!
There is no better time of year to find one of these new birds than spring. The migrating birds will be coming through soon and they will be dressed in full mating color, with sparrows and warblers that is a real blessing! Being that most of us are novice birders, our Audubon Society has compiled a list of birds that have been seen in the Village over the years. This helps limit the bird you are looking at and give you a quicker ID. But remember these little guys may do a surprise first time appearance in the Village. So, if you see a new one, get a picture if at all possible, and report the sighting to Vic, our birding guru.
These Village bird lists are available at the side tables as you enter our meetings. There are also state lists available at our meeting in case you are birding outside the Village. There is also a good website out there for Arkansas birds. It is ARBirds-L. Here you can ask questions and see what birds other people are reporting. It is a free site, with lots of interesting information, but you must subscribe.
Get those feeders filled and bring in those hungry birds. Happy Birding and let me know what you see!
President, HSV Audubon
By an “Old Coot” aka Josie Farrell
It might be interesting to some new members and some not so new members to take a stroll down “memory lane” to learn about the HSV Audubon Society, back in the olden days, circa 1983.
For meetings there was a Telephone or Calling Committee to remind members about the meetings, which were held in the Coronado Center, not the auditorium, but in one of the small side rooms, and it was not crowded. Although few in number, they had a common interest to learn about their new environment, Arkansas, and to share their unique talents. Leading the group in birding skills was an exceptional woman, Helen Pfeifer, who took over the bird identification task, and the Christmas Bird Count, besides writing articles on birds for the village paper. She was a tough task master with very high standards. For example: this “old coot”, fresh from Ohio, was attending her first meeting in November of 1983, which had to do with the Christmas Bird Count. She was eager to get involved, to learn about birds in the south. But Helen did not want amateurs in the field and made it very plain. Clint Sowards immediately suggested that his wife, Frances, would welcome company as a feeder watcher.
At that time, before the advent of the Smart Phone with instant pictures taken from your window, these pioneers devised a bird blind for photographing the birds without being seen. It was a wooden structure, located below the DeSoto Dam Spillway. To get there, one drove along Toledo, past the recycling center, parked and hiked, to the left, into the woods. Feeders for both seed and suet were placed in front of the blind, to draw the birds. They had to be filled daily. Doug Barnes was in charge of this project, and quite a project it was. One signed up to make the suet mix when it got low, and to fill the seed feeders. The bird seed was stored on site, in large galvanized containers, with chains to hold down the lids. You guessed it, the other duty was to repair the damage from the night before. Despite the work involved, it was a great way to study the birds from inside the blind, as well as for avid photographers to set up their tripods, unseen, and click away. This labor intensive project did not have a long “shelf“ life.
A little bit further along the right side of Toledo, was located the first “nature” trail in the village. This trail was a tribute to wild flowers, and was a product of Lucille Christian's efforts and knowledge. As a botanist, she identified and cataloged all of the wild flowers in that area. She was known as the “plant” lady, who favored native plants. This “old coot” remembers receiving one of her native plants, a Beauty Berry Bush, which she treasures today. Native plants are very hardy, and don't have to be pampered to prosper.
Since we are still on Toledo, let us talk about the original recycling center mentioned earlier. Up to 1990, there was no recycling in the village. The environmentally conscious villagers wanted and got their first recycling center on Toledo. Bob Venuti was in charge of this volunteer effort. Dottie Stewart was in charge of recruiting and scheduling. She did this by asking for volunteers from the numerous clubs. This “old coot” worked every Saturday A.M., taking cardboard, newspaper, tin and aluminum cans and glass, (yes, at that time they took glass but not plastic!). Also volunteering that shift was Ned Wilson, a Pediatrician in his former life, he was concerned about landfills and their impact on the environment. Naturally he was a fan of recycling. He later became president of HSV Audubon Society, supported by his wife, Martha. Martha is still an active member today. In conclusion, in looking at the recycling history, something is wrong with the picture. We have gone from no recycling; to a central spot with volunteers (1990 to 1996) to curb side service until 2010, to again a manned center until 2013, to no recycling service. Hmmm.
BLUEBIRD MONITORING PROGRAM
At the time Hot Springs Village was first being developed the Eastern Bluebird was on the endangered species list. When the Village was just four years old a group of residents formed our HSV Audubon Chapter, dedicated to preserving bluebirds and making the village a bird sanctuary. Our first bluebird trail was around the DeSoto Golf Course and monitoring started. Since then we have established trails around all the village golf courses, the Coronado Center and the Woodlands/Pine Grove complex monitoring 300 plus boxes by dedicated volunteers. Because of our program and others like it across the country. The Eastern Bluebird is no longer considered endangered. We still keep tabs on our bluebird population, but welcome a variety of birds to our bluebird trail.
This year we have a need for several back-up monitors. Monitoring is a very rewarding experience. It isn’t very time consuming, only lasts from mid-April through the end of August and gets you involved with nature. If you think you may be interested, or if you just want to see what it’s all about contact Kathy Jurek (915-9344) and a trial walk through can be arranged. A bluebird monitors meeting will be held at 9:30am, prior to the March 10th Audubon meeting.
We have a fun and educational assortment of programs planned the first quarter of 2017.
On March 10, Tana Beasley from AR Game and Fish Commission will make a return visit to our organization. Tana has an amazing knowledge on hummingbirds. She will present a new program concerning hummers.
On April 14, Dan Scheiman, from Audubon Arkansas, will make his annual visit to our organization. Dan is always full of knowledge and enthusiasm.
On May 12 Sharon and Vic Prislipsky, our very own talented photographers will present Wild Flowers and Other Gifts of Nature.
On June 9 is Theo Witsell, topic to be determined.
Also keep in mind the Bird Identification Classes to be held the first four Tuesdays in March.
HALBERG ECOLOGY CAMP
March is the time when Teri LaBove and Josie Farrell, our two co-chairs for the ecology camp, roll up their sleeves and offer two “junior” scholarships to the Arkansas Audubon Society Halberg Ecology Camp to each of our three local schools; Mountain Pine Elementary School, Fountain Lake Middle School and Jessieville Middle School. Ever since 1980, the camp has been held at Camp Clearfork, just 20 miles west of Hot Springs off of route 270 West. And ever since 1983, our HSV Audubon Society has been offering, at least one scholarship to a deserving 11 and 12 year olds, to attend the camp in June. How great is that?!
Any 11 and 12 year old, interested in nature, may apply. The cost to a family is $325.00, for five days, Sunday to Friday, sleeping in cabins with counselors at night and by day, learning through hands on experience, all about their natural environment of plants, birds, rocks, insects, etc., and how to preserve them. For fun, there is the lake for swimming and canoeing, or organized land sports like volleyball, baseball, ping pong or other games. This is a wonderful experience for our grandchildren that many of our members can attest to!
This year “our cup runneth over.” In addition to our six junior scholarships, we are blessed to have two Senior campers and two Advanced campers, invited back. It has been our custom to reward these outstanding kids, with another scholarship. Thus this year, we will be sponsoring ten scholarships at $350.00 each, at a total of $3,500.00. You might ask, why $350 instead of $325? Over the years, as the cost of everything went up, the cost per student went up. The cost to the camp is now well over $400.00, per camper. Our original scholarship was for $200.00. By the year 2000, our HSV Board voted to raise our scholarships from $300.00 to $350.00. Most of the families around the village, cannot afford even $325 for one of their children, let alone the extra cost for another pair of shoes, or extra clothing for five days. Some of our campers had never been to a camp before, some did not know how to swim, while others had never been away from home overnight! It has been quite a learning experience for Teri and Josie.
So now dear members, we need your cooperation to spread the word about this extraordinary opportunity for an 11 or 12 year old to have this camp experience. And we need you to buy bird seed, and/or make a donation towards a scholarship, or promote the sale of bird houses or feeders. This camp is providing future environmentalists, who will help preserve what we enjoy today!
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call either Teri at 915-9101 or Josie at 922-3398.
“BIRD” BRAIN TEASERS
(as school mascots)
Southern Mississippi “Golden ____”
Bowling Green “F____”
Youngstown State “P_____”
Bluehens, Golden Eagles, Falcons, Penguins