Sunday, March 29, 2009

March Meeting:
We had a great turnout at our March Meeting. Pat Sutton was our speaker. She held us spellbound as she described the birding diversity in Cape May. She pointed out that while Cape May has vast numbers of each species of birds migrating through it, Salem County has the same variety but in smaller numbers.
She also emphasized the importance of preserving natural areas as birding habitat. Huge expanses of lawn with no native vegetation are of as little use to wildlife as the stone lawns down the shore. Pat describes them as deserts. Birds need mature native trees that provide fruits and berries to sustain them during migration. They also need weed seeds and insects. None of these things are found in sterile landscapes. If we want to keep the birds we must preserve the natural places they require.

Holly Hills Clean-Up Day:
Saturday March 28 dawned rainy and gloomy. I was sure that we were going to have to cancel the whole day. I didn’t count on the toughness of the Salem County Nature Club Members. Fifteen people pulled up in the parking lot minutes after the rain stopped.

While we canceled planting the Butterfly Garden we did complete all of our other objectives. We put up 11 Bluebird Houses, and one Wood Duck House. We gathered bag after bag of trash. Today we focused on the front half of the property. We plan to pick up the trash on the balance of the property and plant the Butterfly Garden sometime in the next few weeks. I will email everyone when that is scheduled.

I would like to thank Ranch Hope and Shop Teacher, Ted Sheppard, for making 7 Bluebird houses for us. Oak Gandy built us 2 Bluebird Houses and the Wood Duck house. Alex Alampi gave us two Bluebird houses.

Jeff White was the crew boss for the bird houses. He cut all of the metal posts, pre-drilled the Wood Duck House pole, and mounted all of the houses. He and Cathy were loading up the poles this morning while the rain was still coming down. While I was mentally cancelling the day, Cathy and Jeff were celebrating that it wasn’t getting worse. They were just what we needed to get the job done – enthusiastic optimists. We couldn’t have done it without them.

The people earning the Trash Picker Merit Badge were: Ava Harvey, Elyce O’Malley, Helga and Gene Seabright, Lillian Rhubart, Paula and Larry Sinclair, Janeen and Andrew Buirch. Those earning the Raise the Bird Box without Falling down Badge were: Jeff and Cathy White, Alex Alampi Jr., Judy Oshipp, and Don Rhubart. Don won the Special Events Badge for his pole vaulting skills while Alex Alampi won for the wettest participant. I won for standing around and walking back and forth. All in all we got a lot done and had a great time.