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, 2012 THRU JUNE 30, 2013
Overview of Accomplishments
- GSBAS at the State level continued to send representatives to
Audubon New York's Spring 2013 Council Meeting. The fall meeting was canceled due to Super Storm Sandy.
- GSBAS hosted the Spring 2013 Long Island Audubon Council Meeting on April 6, 2013, as the original fall meeting was canceled due to Super Storm Sandy. For the first time this LIAC meeting was attended by Audubon New York and NYC Audubon representatives. Also held for the first time was a workshop on recruiting volunteers.
- GSBAS continued its Bluebird Nest Box Program at our adopted IBA 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. Thanks to a
$600 Audubon Collaborative Funding Grant, we were able to have custom made raccoon baffles created through the efforts of Annette Brownell and Rick Barns. The baffles worked! Nine Bluebirds fledged in the first round of nesting followed by another eight from second nestings. We also had 24 Tree Swallows fledge. A Birdcam was installed near one of the boxes. For the first time, we were able to capture Bluebird fledlings.
- GSBAS continued to participate in the
American Kestrel Restoration effort. Project chairperson
Juliane Wohler along with volunteers Jody Banaszak, 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 although they were observed at St. Charles Cemetery.
- GSBAS continues to partner with Cathy Wilvert in her
Northern Bobwhite Quail Restoration Project in Connetquot River State Park Preserve. Through the continued
Adopt-A-Quail campaign and the generosity of quail adopters, GSBAS was able to offer much needed financial support for this project. This year, Cathy did not get the quail chicks until June. She also kept them longer and released them later in the summer to improve their chance of survival.
- 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).
- 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 2012 thru April 2013.
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 e-newsletter. These were our outstanding speakers and their respective presentations at GSBAS’ General Membership Meetings held September 2012 thru June 2013:
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.
- September 12, 2012: Movie Night: “The Big Year”
- October 20, 2012: Grace Scalzo presented, “How Did You Get That Shot?”
- November 17, 2012: Canceled due to Super Storm Sandy
- December 15, 2012: Annual Member Participation Night. GSBAS’ Members: shared birding slide presentations and experiences.
- January 20, 2013: Movie Night: “My Life With Turkeys”
- February 16, 2013: David Speiser presented,
“A Year in the Life of a Bird Photographer”
- March 15, 2013: Bob Labuski presented, “History & Wildlife at CRSPP”
- April 19, 2013: Suzanne & Glenn Rankin presented,
“Colors of the Sea”
- May 6, 2013: General meeting held at Capt. Bill’s restaurant. Speaker:
Michael Fairchild presented, “Vanishing African Eden”
- June 20, 2013: Outdoor general meeting at Brookside County Park.
Sweetbriar Nature Center presented, “Long Island Wildlife”
- GSBAS convened ten (10) Board Meetings held September 2012 – July 2013 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’ 1,000 +/- members receive their Chapter newsletter – making the huge bi-monthly mailings a mission accomplished!
- GSBAS, held 44 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 44 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 welcomed new treasurer, Annette Brownell, who provided the Chapter’s Financial Reports protecting its Not-for-Profit 501(c)(3) status.
Thank you Annette Brownell!
- 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 2012 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 monetary donation to an
Eagle Scout Project that consisted of clearing a trail at Brookside County Park of English Ivy, grading, installing railroad ties, and adding wood chips for safety.
- GSBAS’ Board approved and made a monetary donation to a
Girl Scout Silver Award project that consisted of beautifying the front entrance of Brookside County Park. The girls cleared out old, dead growth and planted new native plant species.
- 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 16, 2012 that listed
115 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.
Survey 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 Island, NY.
- 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 15, 2012.
- The GSBAS once again stepped up to save the South Shore Nature Center from closure. Judy Davis, Lenora Daniel, Larry Merryman, and Karen Schulte attended a Town of Islip board meeting. The GSBAS stressed to the TOI that the SSNC committee needed to be form as per the original agreement between the TOI and the Orr family. President Judy Davis and Lenora Daniel represented the GSBAS at the committee meetings. The GSBAS was also instrumental in the creation of the Friends of the SSNC group. The Friends of the SSNC guided the TOI in choosing Seatuck Environmental Association as the management organization of the SSNC.
Chapter Fund Raisers
- GSBAS held its May Annual Dinner
this year on Monday, May 6, 2013 at Captain
Bill's Bay Shore, NY. GSBAS presented three (3) prestigious
Chapter awards. GSBAS honored:
- Kenny and Cathy Wilvert as the recipients of its
Bob Laskowski Conservation Award;
- Juliane Wohler as the recipient of its
Fran File Award ($300 award);
- Larry Merryman as the recipient of its
- Guest speaker, Michael Fairchild, presented his program,
“Vanishing African Eden”
Members, guests, and friends thoroughly enjoyed the dinner, the speaker, the Silent Auction with several original art works (especially the beautiful painting of a Blackburnian Warbler and a pencil sketch of a Scops 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' 2013 Annual Dinner Prize Donors flyer acknowledges each donor and the gift(s) donated and was inserted in its July/August 2013 newsletter.
- GSBAS successfully conducted its yearly Chapter Seed Sale on November 17, 2012. Thanks to Seed Sale Chair
Judy Davis 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.
- GSBAS’ 2012 Annual Appeal helps to finance:
- 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
- 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:
email@example.com (thank you Judy Davis, as the Chapter’s email responder);
- Insurance policies;
- Brookside Butterfly Garden;
- GSBAS’ library in the historic gatehouse 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.
- Bird Seed and feeders 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 2013 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:
- On August 2, 2012 Board member and past president,
Jack Finkenberg, presented his program,
“Beginning Bird Watching” at the North Babylon Public Library.
Thank you Jack Finkenberg for sharing your multi-faceted educational program.
- On January 21, 2013,
President Judy Davis and her son, Patrick, gave a presentation on the GSBAS, Brookside County Park, and the butterfly garden to the Sayville Garden Club.
- Audubon’s International Migratory Bird Day on Saturday, 19 May 2013, at
Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge, Shirley, NY. Thanks to trip leader
Alice Heller for leading a walk through the area and
Annette Brownell, Rick Barns, Jody Banaszak, Lenora & Peter Daniel, and Gen Lee for manning GSBAS’ activity and outreach table.
- Brookside County Park was the site for
the Sayville Garden Club’s meeting on June 17, 2013.
President Judy Davis attended and gave the club a tour of the park and our beautiful butterfly garden.
- Brookside County Park was the site for a meeting of the
Suffolk County Park Trustees on June 20, 2013.
President Judy Davis attended the meeting as a representative of the GSBAS.
- GSBAS’ Annual June Outdoor Program,
“Long Island Wildlife” by Sweetbriar Nature Center, was presented to the local community on 20 June 2013 at Brookside County Park, Sayville, NY.
- Young Naturalists Club meets the first Sunday of every month at Brookside County Park from 1:15 to 2:15 pm. Thank you Education co-chairs
Juliane Wohler and Janet Gremli.
- Brookside County Park volunteer tour guides introduce community members to the natural wonders of the park as well as GSBAS’ endeavors.
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
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).
- 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”
- GSBAS has partnered with Friends of Connetquot and Friends of Wertheim 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 Park.
- 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 and
GSBAS has 118 Bird
Species and counting at Brookside County Park.
The coming year will be a very different year for the Great South Bay Audubon Society (GSBAS). We recently lost our program chairperson and three longtime board members who also held the positions of our newsletter editor and our conservation chair as well as volunteering under several committees. I will be retiring from my position as GSBAS president in May 2014 after serving two terms and there is no one on the horizon to take over the helm.
Our efforts will be centered on revitalizing our organization. Although we recently obtained three new board members, a new newsletter editor, and a new membership chairperson, we will be sending out a revitalization letter to all our members followed by a Volunteer Open House at Brookside County Park, scheduled for February 1, 2014. We believe this concerted effort will give our members an opportunity to take part in continuing the existing mission plan of the GSBAS while shaping its future.
We will continue our stewardship of Brookside County Park and maintain the projects that are held there, such as our Butterfly Garden Club, our extensive library, and our Young Naturalist Club. We will welcome Boy and Girl Scout projects at the park as well as scientific studies performed by students from the Sayville and East Islip School Districts and Stony Brook University. We will continue our American Kestrel and Eastern Bluebird nest box programs. Our general programs will introduce our members to dynamic and varied speakers. Our members will continue to have access to 44 field trips, both during the week and on the weekends, throughout the year.
The GSBAS looks forward to a new chapter and being revitalized by new volunteers with their fresh, invigorating ideas for the future.