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What are Audubon dues used for?


 

What happens to your Audubon dues? Each year, we dutifully submit our annual dues to be part of the Coulee Audubon Society. Some of that money is of course used for various administrative costs associated with any small organization such as ours. One aspect of our mission is education. We have provided a number of small grants to teachers in our region. Those grants have covered costs for a variety of projects designed to bring students closer to our natural world. The study skins used by Scott Lee at our April meeting are in protective tubes that were obtained with some of our grant money, for use by the Trempealeau school district.

We have had other opportunities to ‘grow” our young birders and environmentalists as well. About two years ago, a young lady who was at that time a student at Richland Center High School, made a request for scholarship funds to allow her to take part in the Cornell Young Birder’s Event. This was a life changing event for Ember Hobbs, who is now a student at Cornell University majoring in biology with an emphasis in Ornithology. With some space in this edition of our newsletter, here is an excerpt from her report on her YBE experience.

The best part of the trip was, of course, the birding. We spent hours in the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, where we saw numerous shorebirds. My favorite bird of the trip was here; the green heron. We spotted five large, dark birds in a dead tree, sunning themselves in a manner quite reminiscent of vultures... when we turned the scope on them, we discovered that they were all juvenile bald eagles! In relatively undocumented roadside wetlands, four Virginia rails responded to a recorded call. We were able to see these small, peculiar birds up close when they came to investigate the speaker. I believe all of the students saw a lifer (the first time a person has seen a particular bird species in his/her life) at some point during the trip, which was cause for great excitement.

The Young Birders' Event as a whole reinforced many of my personal beliefs, and opened my eyes to new opportunities. It was an indescribable experience to be around so many people with the shared goal of bettering the world through understanding and conserving avifauna. My eyes were opened to the great opportunities available at Cornell University. Being part of the community of birders there left me with a sense of fulfillment, and I am now more eager than ever for the possibility of attending the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences with a biology major. I would like to offer special thanks to: Barbara Duerksen--without you, I would never have even known that the Young Birders' Event existed; the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and the Coulee Region Audubon Society--your contributions to fund the tuition and travel costs is greatly appreciated by myself and my family. Thank you all so much. This was, truly, a life changing event.