MAKING A DIFFERENCE by conserving, restoring, and protecting Pennsylvania’s natural ecosystems, focusing on birds and other wildlife, for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.
The Newsletter from the Pennsylvania State Office of the National Audubon Society
2nd PA Breeding Bird Atlas Needs Audubon
By Bob Mulvihill, Project Coordinator, PA Breeding Bird Atlas
Mill Grove—Storehouse of Audubon’s Legacy
By Jon Hartman, Communications Coordinator
The 2nd Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas (PBBA) entered its fifth and final year in 2008. Collectively, more than 2,800 volunteers have contributed 100,000 hours of their time and traveled a half million miles throughout the state in search of breeding birds. Because of this huge effort from PA’s beginning and expert bird watchers, we have already learned a great deal about changes and shifts in breeding bird populations since the first atlas. Some of the changes are positive, but others are not. Regrettably, in the case of Pennsylvania’s state bird, current atlas data show a 53% decrease over the last 20 years in the number of blocks with breeding ruffed grouse. If we want to truly assess the “state of the birds” and the conservation status and needs of PA’s breeding birds, then we must join together this year to fill in remaining gaps in our coverage for the 2nd PBBA. If you haven’t already done so, please become a 2nd PBBA volunteer. Help us put at least one more state bird on the 2nd PBBA map in 2008. For more information on how you can help, call the 2nd PBBA main office at Powdermill Avian Research Center at 724-593-6022 or toll-free at 1-888-PABIRD1.
2007 marked the third anniversary of Audubon assuming management of the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove (JJAC). Since 2004, the staff at Mill Grove has evolved into a specialist crew, focusing on environmental education, environmental and local history, and—perhaps most importantly— art. Preserving and interpreting Audubon’s work and his legacy to the environmental movement is JJAC’s chief mission. As a result, Nancy Powell, the Center’s Art & Museum Collections Specialist, is consistently working to add new pieces to JJAC’s collection that help illustrate this mission. During Nancy’s two-year tenure the museum has acquired more than 15 pieces either through purchase or donation. Objects include turn-of-the-century women’s hats containing “exotic” bird feathers, individual original Havell edition (1826-1839) Audubon prints, a 19th-century oil painting believed to be a portrait of John James Audubon, rare reference books, and more.
Some of these objects go immediately on display. For instance, the Center received an original oil painting through a donation. The 19th-century portrait is believed to be John James Audubon. Today, the image of the Center’s namesake hangs in an esteemed place at JJAC—above the Museum’s double elephant folio copy of Audubon’s Birds of America. Meanwhile, JJAC staff and volunteers work tirelessly to determine that the painting is a genuine Audubon portrait through visual clues (such as scars Audubon reported receiving) as well as materials research. Other objects require conservation efforts before being placed on display. Certain original Havell edition prints should be rematted using acid-free, archival quality materials. Prints created by Mark Catesby, an artist and naturalist that died nearly 45 years before Audubon was born, require museum staff to develop a new exhibit before finding a place in the museum. It’s an investment JJAC is willing to make in order to preserve such treasures for present and future generations. JJAC thanks W. Graham Arader III, Estate of Mildred Durham, Kirsten Fisk, Lowrie Glasgow, Jay L. Lininger, Karen A. McIssac, Bob & Anne Neff, William Pearlstein, and Robert Turner for donating objects during 2007. If you have an object that would help JJAC tell the story of John James Audubon and have questions about how to donate it to the Center, please contact Nancy Powell at 610-666-5593 x104.
Artist Unknown, believed to be portrait of J.J. Audubon, 19th-century, oil on canvas, 28 X 44 inches, donated by the Estate of Mildred Durham.
A U D U B O N O U T R E AC H
U P DAT E
Audubon Educators in Urban Schools
By Antonia Davis, Education Director
Audubon currently visits 7 schools and facilitates learning in 14 classrooms located in Philadelphia and Norristown. The education department utilizes live raptors, Audubon prints, and the legacy of Audubon in its environmental educational programming to supplement the state’s K-12 science curriculum. This year, nearly 200 students will be participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count, and one school is developing their own Feeder Bird ID book. The learning that takes place in these classrooms fosters much more than the PA academic standards for Environment and Ecology; the students are building their own personal relationship with birds and the natural world. “It is a true pleasure to watch these children blossom during the 12 weeks I am with them,” says Beth Allen, an Audubon educator. “After building a mutual trust in the classroom, there is more interest, which leads to greater success when we finally do get to go birding on field trips.” Classrooms that participate in a complete session of Audubon programs are taken on a field trip to either the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove or their closest Important Bird Area. This brings to life what they have been learning in the classroom and allows for wonder and enjoyment of the outside instead of promoting fear of the unknown.
2007 Waggoner’s Gap Hawk Watch Recap
By Holly Smith, Education Project Assistant
Another year of raptor migration counts at Waggoner’s Gap Hawk Watch has come to an exciting end. Hawk watchers who dedicate their autumn season (August 1 to December 31) to watching the skies counted 26,126 raptors – the highest count in 20 years and the second highest count on record since data collection began in the 1950s. Data compiler Dave Grove calls 2007 the “Year of the Accipiter.” Seasonal records were set for Cooper’s hawks (1,113) and sharp-shinned hawks (9,726), and 91 northern goshawks were recorded – a respectable return compared with the 2006 count of 29. Other notable data include osprey (658), bald eagles (328 - nearly tying last year’s season record of 332), American kestrels (393), and northern harriers (446). Site volunteer Ron Freed notes that five-year averages were met or exceeded for 13 out of the 16 species tracked. The data can be viewed at http://hawkcount.org.
City students participating in the 2007 Great Backyard Bird Count.
Mill Grove’s 4th Annual Juried Art Show
The John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove (JJAC) announces its 4th Annual Juried Art Show, sponsored by Lower Providence Township, Clemens Family Corporation, and Commerce Bank. From April 18-27, 2008, JJAC will exhibit approved entries in its 245-year-old barn. Last year, the show attracted more than 120 artists. Nearly 1,000 visitors attended last year’s event and purchased many of the approximately 300 works on display. JJAC looks forward to repeating this success. The jurors for this year’s Art Show are Lisa Tremper Hanover and Janet Walsh. Lisa has been Director of the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College since 1987 and is also President of the Association of College and University Museums & Galleries. Ms. Walsh is President of the American Watercolor Society and author of Watercolor Made Easy. The theme for the 2008 show is “Drawn From Nature,” which appeared on each original Havell edition (1826-1839) Audubon print. The show opens to the public on Friday, April 18. More than $2,000 in prizes will be awarded in multiple categories, and a portion of all art sales benefits JJAC. Admission to the Art Show is FREE, and guests may visit during regular museum hours: Tue-Sat 10 am – 4 pm, Sun 1 pm – 4 pm, closed Mon.
Guests examining work during JJAC’s 2007 Juried Art Show.
To receive more information or a prospectus for entering the show, please call 610-666-5593 x101 or visit http://pa.audubon.org.
In 2007, a record-breaking 1,113 Cooper’s Hawks were counted at Waggoner’s Gap.
View from Waggoner’s Gap
By Brad Jones
My father, Clifford L. Jones, has spent his entire adult life searching the planet for birds and wildlife and exploring nature. A lifelong member of Audubon Society, there is nothing he loves more than introducing the wide world of the outdoors to the young and old and everyone in between. Growing up in the Harrisburg area, I have fond memories of many trips to Waggoner’s Gap (at the end of the Kittatiny Ridge), which straddles the Cumberland and Perry County border. As a child, I remember bounding along the rocky outcrop high atop Waggoner’s Gap as my Dad pointed out raptor after raptor that soared over the Ridge. Waggoner’s Gap is a special place to our family because of all the birds and wildlife that frequent it and the many fond family memories. Over the past year our family has been working closely with Tim Schaeffer and the team at Audubon PA to carefully craft an exciting plan to make meaningful site improvements to transform Waggoner’s Gap into an even more fulfilling natural experience for bird and nature lovers. This project, in honor of my father’s legacy, the Cliff Jones Field Station and Audubon Hawk Watch at Waggoner’s Gap, will protect and preserve this area for generations to come. I hope you will join my father and my family in helping Audubon fulfill the entire vision of this project in the months ahead to make this project a reality. Call Audubon today at 717-213-6880 to learn more about specific naming opportunities and how you can help support the project.
Audubon & Conservation Partners Sponsor Environmental Camp
The Wildlife Leadership Adventures (WLA) is a cooperative program empowering high school students with the skills and knowledge to become conservation ambassadors. The program brings together the knowledge and expertise of Audubon Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania State University, the Ruffed Grouse Society, the Pennsylvania Deer Association, Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. WLA begins with a residential camp where students learn to track wildlife, identify native plants, evaluate habitat quality, use radio telemetry, and more. Mark Banker of the Ruffed Grouse Society explains, “WLA goes way beyond teaching kids about wildlife. The program is designed to increase confidence, communication skills, and leadership.” WLA currently examines white-tailed deer management from a range of ecological and social perspectives. “Because of the complex nature of deer management in PA, it is the perfect issue to engage youth and encourage critical thinking and team building skills,” says Gail Farmer, the program’s director. Tim Smail of QDMA feels strongly about the long-term value of this program, “WLA is more comprehensive and in-depth than any other program I’ve seen or heard of. The participants are led through a focused curriculum that provides hands-on biological, management and leadership experience, which continues throughout the year and beyond. This program changes lives and builds leaders.” The 2008 Bucktails field camp will be held July 8-12 at Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County. Tuition is $350, which includes room, board, and educational materials. Scholarships are available to help defray tuition costs. Scholarship application information can be found on the general application form. For more information and to download application materials visit www.PICEweb.org or contact the program director, Gail Farmer, at 610-756-3194; firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Audubon Hawk Watch at Waggoner’s Gap is a popular site for watching migrating raptors.
SAVE the DATE!
Audubon At Home & The Schuylkill Center’s Annual Native Plant Sale
WHEN: Sat., May 3rd, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, and Sun., May 4th, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm WHERE: The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education FEATURING: 85 species of native plants, family activities, workshops, vendors, raffles, refreshments, Audubon At Home table, and more! For available plant species and descriptions please visit www.schuylkillcenter.org.
Audubon’s Kim Van Fleet helps a WLA student use radio telemetry to locate wildlife.
C O M M U N I T Y O U T R E AC H
A Year in the Life of Audubon At Home
By Steven Saffier, Audubon At Home Coordinator
It was an amazing year for Audubon At Home in Pennsylvania! Along with numerous public outreach events, 2007 also saw the initiation of many “partnerships” that channeled the public’s incredible enthusiasm for Audubon At Home into tangible programs, tools, and alliances. I had the great pleasure of working with townships, schools, universities, garden clubs, Audubon chapters, and other environmental organizations…all eager to transform underutilized landscapes into sustainable bird habitat. For spring 2008 we expect the Bird Habitat Recognition program to be up and running, allowing people to register their properties and join a growing community of stewards increasing biodiversity one yard at a time. At press time, our training series for “Audubon Advisors” is in full swing in partnership with Morris Arboretum and the Friends of the Wissahickon. More training series for volunteer backyard auditors will take place in the fall and in other parts of the country. Contact me if interested. Read about the latest happenings by going to http://pa.audubon.org.
Students at Springside School in Chestnut Hill create Audubon Bird Habitat.
on the Brandywine 1333 Lenape Road, Route 52 Nor th Wes t Ches ter, PA 19382
AUDUBON & SIMON PEARCE
MARCH 24 - APRIL 20, 2008
At Simon Pearce on the Brandywine
Present this coupon to enjoy on first quality Simon Pearce glass and pottery. 10% of your purchase will benefit Audubon Pennsylvania.
One limited edition Simon Pearce Birdhouse will be for sale at Simon Pearce and all proceeds will be donated to Audubon Pennsylvania. Visit SimonPearce.com for an online auction of 3 Simon Pearce Birdhouses. Winning bidders es choose the Audubon office pir Ex 008 that will receive the on 2 proceeds of up 0, Co pril 2 the sale. A
http://pa.audubon.org NORTHWEST FIELD OFFICE 301 Chestnut Street Meadville, PA 16335 HARRISBURG OFFICE 100 Wildwood Way Harrisburg, PA 17110 717-213-6880 JOHN JAMES AUDUBON CENTER at MILL GROVE 1201 Pawlings Road Audubon, PA 19403 610-666-5593
NON PROFIT ORG U.S. POSTAGE PAID HARRISBURG, PA PERMIT #291