The primary mission of the Great South Bay Audubon Society is to advocate for the conservation of habitats for native birds and other native wildlife on Long Island.
Annual Plan and Review
The Primary Mission of the Great South Bay Audubon Society is to advocate for the conservation of habitats for birds and other wildlife on Long Island.
REVIEW OF THE PAST YEAR – JULY 1, 2011 THRU JUNE 30, 2012
Overview of Accomplishments
- GSBAS at the State level
continued to send representatives to Audubon New York's
Spring 2012 Council Meeting.
- GSBAS’ Chapter representatives,
at the local level, attended Long Island Audubon Council
Meetings ("LIAC") on November 5, 2011 and March 31,
- GSBAS participated in
Audubon New York’s “Audubon in the Parks”
program. Through a $4000 Toyota Together Green Grant,
$1000 in National Audubon Collaborative Funding, and $300 in
GSBAS’ funds, we were able to accomplish:
- worked with college intern, Lauren
Schnal, and five Sayville High School students to remove
non-native, invasive Japanese stiltgrass from Heckscher
- worked with Cathy Wilvert to plant a 2
acre food plot for the Northern Bobwhite Quail at Connetquot
River State Park Preserve using native plant seeds;
- provided funding for a Piping Plover
monitor at Robert Moses State Park
- GSBAS continued its
Blue Bird Nest Box Program at Connetquot River State
Park Preserve, Oakdale, NY. Co-chairs Edith and Bob
Wilson, along with volunteers Steve D’Amato, Judy Davis, Ken
Thompson, and CRSPP Environmental employees monitored
22 nest boxes that had been erected in 2009. A Birdcam was
installed on one of the boxes known to have Bluebirds. Six nest
boxes successfully fledged Bluebirds, three as a second nesting.
Unfortunately, a raccoon predated boxes 1 through 18. This
raccoon overcame the improved baffles that were renovated after
last year’s predation. An unknown number of Tree Swallow adults,
nestlings, and eggs were lost.
- GSBAS continued to
participate in the American Kestrel Restoration
effort. This breeding season the box at Heckscher State Park was
moved. Project chairperson Juliane Wohler along with
volunteers Jody Banaszak, Johnna Vullo, and Tom Plant
monitored America Kestrel nest boxes in St. Charles Cemetery,
Farmingdale, NY, Heckscher State Park, East Islip, NY, and
Connetquot River State Park Preserve, Oakdale, NY. Despite much
effort to remove nesting European Starlings, no American
Kestrels nested in any of the boxes this year.
- GSBAS continues to partner
with Cathy Wilvert in her Northern
Bobwhite Quail Restoration Project in Connetquot River State
Park Preserve. Through the continued
and the generosity of quail adopters, GSBAS was able to offer
much needed financial support for this project. On July 5, 2012,
450 Northern Bobwhite Quail were released into the Preserve.
- GSBAS continued its
scholarship program to graduating high school seniors
within its chapter area planning to major in an environmental
science at college. Five scholarships totaling $2500
were awarded to students from Half Hollow Hills West, Half
Hollow Hills East, Copiague, Islip, and Babylon high schools.
- GSBAS continues to purchase
Audubon Shade Grown Coffee, which is
served at its general membership meetings, Annual Outdoor
Program at Brookside and other Chapter functions
(thanks to Helga Merryman’s purchase of same on behalf of
- GSBAS held ten (10) General Membership
Meetings with scheduled Speakers at Connetquot River State Park
Preserve, Oakdale, NY - GSBAS’ adopted IBA - meeting the third
Thursday of the month, September 2011 thru April 20012. These
meetings are free and open to the public and are published in
GSBAS’ newsletter, The Sandpiper, posted to its Website,
http://www.gsbas.org, posted on its Facebook page, and sent out
in an email blast. These were our outstanding speakers and their
respective presentations at GSBAS’ General Membership Meetings
held September 2011 thru June 2012:
- September 12, 2011: Sarah Monastero,
GSBAS’ intern and Maria Brown, research advisor, Sayville
High School presented, “Green Creek Water Monitoring Grant
- October 20, 2011: Eric Powers presented,
EcoTours: Austrailia to Costa Rica.”
- November 17, 2011: Joe Giunta presented,
“Owls of the New
- December 15, 2011: Annual Member Participation Night. GSBAS’
Members: shared birding slide presentations and experiences.
- January 20, 2012: Peter Priolo presented,
- February 16, 2012: Laura Eppig presented, “The Wildlife
- March 15, 2012: Joe Giunta presented,
“Birds of Costa Rica.”
- April 19, 2012: Trudy Battaly and Drew Panko presented,
“Saw-whets In Your Backyard.”
- May 7, 2012: General meeting held at Capt. Bill’s
restaurant. Speaker: Dr. Robert DeCandido presented,
Owls of the NYC – Long Island Region.”
- June 21, 2012: Outdoor general meeting at Brookside County
Park. Bobby and Cathy Horvath, Wildlife In Need of Rescue
and Rehabilitation presented, “Wild On Long Island.”
- Thanks to Program Chair, Sharon Kienzle,
who secures the speakers for these meetings and
thanks to Chapter Publicity Chair, Helga Merryman,
the scheduled speakers and their programs get advertised in
local papers. Thanks to Hospitality Chair, Mary
Plant, and the many monthly Chapter volunteers,
these general membership meetings are well supplied with food
and beverages. Our monthly General Membership Meetings help
GSBAS keep a constant presence in the local community, connect
GSBAS with the public at large, and keep its members active and
involved with Chapter advocacy and events.
- GSBAS convened ten
(10) Board Meetings held September 2011 – July 2012 at
its Brookside County Park, 59 Brook Street, Sayville, NY where
the overall mission, goals, activities and programs designed to
achieve them were reviewed, formulated and set into motion.
- GSBAS continues to publish
six (6) editions of our award winning chapter
newsletter, “The Sandpiper” thanks to
our Newsletter Editor, Harry Anderson.
Through its newsletter, GSBAS communicates conservation issues,
which are important to Audubon at the local, state and national
levels. GSBAS’ newsletter seeks its members’ participation with
the submittal of nature stories, poems and related wildlife
articles for publication.
- GSBAS’ Mailing Chair, Ken
Thompson, and his Mailing Committee
volunteers, continue to ensure that GSBAS’ 1,100
+/- members receive their Chapter newsletter – making the huge
bi-monthly mailings a mission accomplished!
- GSBAS, held 46 Mid-Week and Weekend Nature
Walks during this reporting period thanks to Chapter Nature Walk
Coordinator, Larry Merryman, and Chapter Field Trip Leaders,
Mike Cooper, Steve D’Amato, Jack Finkenberg, John Gluth, Bob
Grover, Alice Heller, Nicholas Laviola, Michael McBrien, Helga
Merryman, Larry Merryman, Peter Murphy, Ken Thompson, Bob
Wilson, and Edith Wilson. GSBAS thanks its Nature Walk
Coordinator, Larry Merryman and each of its respective Nature
Walk Leaders for having made these 46 field trips a reality!
Members of other local Long Island Audubon chapters often attend
the nature walks, which are free and open to the public. Chapter
run nature walks have resulted in GSBAS gaining many new Chapter
volunteers, which help GSBAS to continue to accomplish its
mission! GSBAS' Weekend Nature Walks flyer (for period August -
May of each year) is printed and inserted in The Sandpiper,
detailing these weekend field trips for the upcoming year. This
information is also posted to its Chapter’s Website, Facebook
page, and sent out in an email blast.
- GSBAS through its Treasurer, Dennis Lenz,
CPA, has for 15 years provided the Chapter’s Financial Reports
protecting its Not-for-Profit 501(c)(3) status. Thank you Dennis
- GSBAS’ official Website, www.gsbas.org and
Facebook page continue to remain fully reinvigorated through the
efforts of our paid Webmaster, Eric Larson and with material
posting oversight by President, Judy Davis.
- GSBAS’ Board approved and made a monetary
donation in May 2011 to Starflower Experiences, Inc., Jericho,
NY, a local not-for-profit educational organization, to sponsor
two children to attend its Earth Keepers Camp at West Hills
County Park, Melville, NY.
- GSBAS’ Board approved and made a monetary
donation to Great Gull Island to fund the construction of a
blind needed for research.
- GSBAS’ Board approved and made monetary
donations to two Eagle Scout Projects: 1) Wood Duck next boxes
at Connetquot River State Park Preserve and 2) bookcases at
Brookside County Park.
- GSBAS donated funds to help defray the costs
of the dinners for participants of the compilation at the end of
the count, for the 50th Annual Captree Christmas Bird Count
(“CBC”), coordinators Pat Lindsay and Shai
Mitra, on December
18, 2011 that listed 116 species observed.
- GSBAS’ members participated in a Bird Feeder
Survey covering over a dozen locations in GSBAS’ Chapter
territory, east from Amityville to Blue Point, New York.
Compilation Chapter Chair, Helga Merryman, compiled the number
of bird species postings submitted by Chapter members and the
species results were then published in The Sandpiper. GSBAS
thanks Survey Compiler, Helga Merryman!
- GSBAS’ members
(thanks to Steve D’Amato, Edith & Bob Wilson, Ken Thompson, John
Gluth, Bob Grover and Linda Puglielli - some of GSBAS’ regulars)
continue to participate in the Fire Island Hawk Watch
which, has contributed greatly to the sum of knowledge about
hawk migration. The Fire Island Hawk Watch is held every year
from September thru November with FIRE (Fire Island Raptor
Enumerators), Parking Lot #5, Robert Moses State Park, Long
- GSBAS’ Beach Cleanup Chairperson
& past Board Member, Carol Jansch, directed and
coordinated the Ed Davis Memorial Beach Cleanup
held at Sailor’s Haven, Fire Island in
conjunction with the American Littoral Society’s
Annual New York State Beach cleanup on
September 17, 2011.
Chapter Fund Raisers
- GSBAS held its May Annual Dinner
this year on Monday, May 7, 2011 at Captain
Bill's Bay Shore, NY. GSBAS presented three (3) prestigious
Chapter awards. GSBAS honored:
- Edith and Bob Wilson as
the recipients of its Bob Laskowski Conservation
- Maria Brown as the
recipient of its Fran File Award ($300 award);
- Janet Gremli as the
recipient of its President’s Award.
- Dara Hofmann and Sarah Monastero
as the recipients of the Young Adult
Conservationist Award ($100 each)
- Guest speaker, Dr. Robert
DeCandido, presented his program, “The Owls of the NYC –
Long Island Region”
Members, guests, and friends thoroughly enjoyed the dinner,
the speaker, the Silent Auction with several original art
works (especially the beautiful painting of Eastern Screech
Owls and a pencil sketch of a Saw-whet Owl from Board Member
and artist, Steven D’Amato); a Chinese Auction with unique
bird related gifts; and many door and raffle prizes. GSBAS
was again fortunate to be supported by many donors comprised
of its Board Members, Members, local businesses and
donations from the families and friends of members and
Chapter supporters. GSBAS' 2012 Annual Dinner
Prize Donors flyer acknowledges each donor and the gift(s)
donated and was distributed to each table the night of the
dinner and this year also copied and inserted in its
July/August 2012 newsletter.
- GSBAS successfully conducted its yearly
Chapter Seed Sale on October 15, 2011. Thanks to Seed Sale Chair
Judy Davis and volunteers Helga & Larry
Merryman, and Chapter Members who participated in
“prepaid orders.” GSBAS has partnered with Gary Fortcher and
Kathleen Mulligan, owners of Wild Birds Unlimited, Oakdale, NY,
to run its yearly seed sale.
- Annual Appeal, in addition to helping finance Stewardship Activities at Brookside County Park,
is also used to help supplement funds to finance Chapter expenses for:
- Speaker fees at its:
- General membership meetings;
- May Annual Dinner;
- Annual June Outdoor Program at Brookside;
- Connetquot River State Park meeting room fees for
general membership meetings;
- Newsletters printings and mailing costs;
- Chapter attendance fees at local Community Outreach
- Special education programs at Brookside;
- College scholarships to graduating high school seniors
intending to major in one of the environmental sciences;
- Paid Webmaster, Eric Larson, to keep its Website and
Facebook page updated (thank you Eric for
another great year as our Chapter’s Webmaster);
- Verizon service for its phone
service for #631-563-7716 (thank you
Board Members, Steve D’Amato for retrieving
messages and Genevieve Lee for updating the recorded
messages) and for the Chapter’s email
address: firstname.lastname@example.org (thank you
Board Member Juliane Wohler, Communication Committee as
the Chapter’s email responder);
- Insurance policies;
- Brookside Butterfly Garden;
- GSBAS’ library at Brookside County Park. Thank you librarian,
- Fees for the
alarm system through Check Mate, which safeguards the historic building and GSBAS’ belongings at Brookside County Park
- GSBAS also thanks
and recognizes each and everyone one of its important Chapter
Annual Appeal supporters with a printed
supporter’s sheet published in its July/August 2012
issue of The Sandpiper! AGAIN GSBAS THANKS ANNUAL
APPEAL DONORS ONE AND ALL!
Chapter Community Outreach Events At Brookside County Park and Offsite
- GSBAS was able to participate at the following community outreach events:
- GSBAS had a booth at the
Connetquot Gala held on 2 October 2011 at Connetquot River
State Park Preserve, our adopted Important Bird Area. GSBAS
provided photos of a Bluebird nest box taken by the Birdcam,
photos of common birds found at CRSPP, and general education
about birds commonly found on Long Island. We also had seven
(7) Northern Bobwhite Quail, being raised for educational
purposes by Cathy Wilvert, on display. Thank you GSBAS
volunteers Steve D’Amato, Helga Merryman, and Judy Davis for
manning the booth at the gala.
- GSBAS had a booth at the
Heckscher State Park Spring
Festival on April 28, 2012. We debuted our new and improved
display board and engaged the public by having them make
pine cone bird feeders. Thank you GSBAS volunteers Judy
Davis and Harry Anderson.
- Audubon’s International Migratory Bird Day on Saturday,
19 May 2012, at Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge, Shirley,
NY. Thanks to trip leader Alice Heller.
- Board member and past president,
presented his program on John James Audubon to the
Shore-Brightwaters Historical Society. He also presented his
Backyard Birding program at the Fire Island Lighthouse.
Thank you Jack Finkenberg for sharing your multi-faceted
- GSBAS’ Annual June Outdoor Program,
“Wild on Long Island”
by Bobby and Cathy Horvath, Wildlife In Need of Rescue and
Rehabilitation, was presented to the local community on 21
June 2012 at Brookside County Park, Sayville, NY.
- Young Naturalists Club meets the first Sunday of every
month at Brookside County Park from 1 to 3 pm. Thank you
Education co-chairs Juliane Wohler and Janet Gremli.
Chapter Conservation Advocacy
- GSBAS has
been active in the arena of public opinion in the ongoing
efforts to save necessary wildlife habitat and reduce pollution.
We have testified at local zoning and conservation meetings, and
written correspondence to political leaders concerning global
and local environmental problems. We have also provided support
to organizations seeking to preserve and conserve natural
resources. Among our efforts:
- GSBAS continues to support and work with the
“Fire Island Wilderness Committee” in an effort to see that a
comprehensive plan is developed ensuring that the “Otis Pike
Wilderness Area” within the Fire Island National Seashore
remains in an untouched wild state.
- GSBAS participated in the preparation of
Audubon New York’s
Strategic Plan, and its Conservation Policy Resolutions which
includes language that requested Audubon NY to actively seek
removal of free-roaming and feral cats from parkland property
belonging to New York State Office of Parks, Recreation &
Historic Preservation (NYS Parks) and language included in the
above Audubon NY documents that focused on seeking a ban on the
harvesting of Horseshoe Crabs in New York State. This was
necessary to assist in dealing with their diminishing numbers,
as well as helping many shorebirds, including the plummeting
populations of Red knots that depend on their survival during
their long migrations by feeding on Horseshoe Crab eggs.
- GSBAS supported Audubon New York’s many
positions/campaigns/action alerts via email.
- GSBAS and its
members also belong to and serve as board members in other
important organizations that have a focus on conservation, thus
providing additional energy and coordination in solving
important environmental issues. These organizations include, but
are not limited to:
“South Shore Estuary Reserve”
“Open Space Preservation Trust”
Friends of Connetquot State Park”
- “Seatuck Environmental Association"
- “Friends of Wertheim NWR”
- "Fire Island Raptor Enumerators (“FIRE”)”
- "South Shore Nature Center"
- "Starflower Experiences"
- "Suffolk County Sporting Advisory Council"
- "Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society"
- "Fire Island Wilderness Committee"
- "Coalition to Save Plum Island"
- New York State Ornithological Association, Inc. (“NYSOA”)
- “ABC-Cats Indoors!”
- “HOBAS’ Cat Indoors program partner”
- “Great Gull Island”
- GSBAS has partnered with Friends of Connetquot, Friends of Wertheim, and Friends of Fire Island Lighthouse to present birding field trips, internships, workshops and joint educational programs and supported organizational events through attendance, letters in support of issues and monetary donations.
GSBAS’ Stewardship at Brookside County Park
- GSBAS’ trained volunteer Tour
Guides are available every Wednesday and Sunday from 1
pm to 3 pm to give tours of Brookside County Park, 59 Brook St.,
Sayville, NY. Tour guides share their knowledge of the natural
beauty and local history of the park.
- Brookside County Park continues to be utilized
by Eagle Scouts and many students from classes
at both Sayville and East Islip School Districts
allowing Advanced Placement Students and science students to
work on various projects. These projects are important in
continuing to foster community interest in the Brookside County
- The Brookside Butterfly Garden Club
continues to improve and maintain the butterfly garden at Brookside County Park. Thanks to chairperson Janet
Gremli and volunteers Jody Banaszak, Kathy Kozakiewicz
GSBAS has 118 Bird
Species and counting at Brookside County Park.
Continuing Challenges and Shortcomings
- Recruiting new Officers, Board Members, Committee Members,
and future volunteers needed to carry on GSBAS’ local Audubon
mission and goals.
- Increasing Chapter educational outreach activities for
- The chapter’s efforts to enlist a Birdathon Coordinator
continue to be unsuccessful.
Five Year Strategic Planning
- Continue Chapter Stewardship at Brookside County Park,
working together with our Brookside Director and Brookside
Committee to maintain and protect the building and grounds.
- Focus on:
educational programs for children at Brookside County Park;
educational programs for adults at Brookside County Park;
continued Chapter attendance at Community Outreach events to
promote awareness of Audubon and its local Audubon Chapter's
mission and goals and try to increase membership;
continue Breakfast & Birding activities at Connetquot River
State Park Preserve, GSBAS’ Adopted IBA;
continue to present the Chapter's Annual June Outdoor
Program as another form of community outreach to make local
residents aware of GSBAS’ Brookside County Park- right in
their own backyards – and get them involved.
- Continue our chapter’s efforts to influence local, state and federal authorities concerning vital conservation issues through all forms of advocacy available: written correspondences, emails, telephone calls, scheduled meetings and conservation/environmental partnerships.
Plans For The Upcoming Year
- Continued strong conservation advocacy:
- on local issues;
- on concerns of the Long Island Audubon Council;
- on behalf of Audubon New York and National Audubon issues.
- Continue with GSBAS’ Education Chair to look forward to:
presenting more educational programs for children at Brookside County Park, Sayville, NY;
- Work on scheduling additional activities at Chapter's adopted
IBA, Connetquot River State Park Preserve in Oakdale, NY.
- Continue to build upon the previously listed successful
accomplishments of the past year.
- Continue to plan for the orderly succession, and training of
new officers for the Great South Bay Audubon Society Board and
Chair positions and Tour Guides as part of its stewardship at
Brookside County Park.
- Continue to work on broadening the range of interest via
enlisting Field Trip Leaders who are conversant with various
wildlife topics in addition to bird study.
- Again seek a volunteer to Chair a Birdathon.
- Continue to follow up and measure our progress by assessing
the success our chapter has in meeting stated goals.