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.
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, 2013 THRU JUNE 30, 2014
Overview of Accomplishments
- GSBAS at the State level continued to send representatives to Audubon New York's Spring and Fall Council Meetings.
- GSBAS continues its Eastern Bluebird Nest Box Program at our adopted IBA Connetquot River State Park Preserve in Oakdale, NY. The 2014 nesting season had a larger corps of enthusiastic volunteers joining Co-chairs Edith and Bob Wilson in the fun of monitoring our twenty-two boxes, namely, Karen and Nick Conzo, Lois Goelz, Steve D’Amato, Judy Davis, Joan Elsebough, Tracey and Savannah Haworth, Mike Mulqueen, Arlene Rawls, Ken Thompson, Phil Uruburu, Anna Woodroof, Cynthia Ziesel and CRSPP Environmental employees. Since erected in 2009, GSBAS nest boxes have allowed bluebirds and tree swallows to produce many fledglings. The custom-made raccoon baffles that were installed in 2012 through the auspices of an Audubon Collaborative Funding Grant continue to be very effective, and no disturbances to any nest have occurred since they were put in place. This nesting season we had 3 bluebird nests that produced ten fledglings in the first round of nesting followed by another four from a second nesting attempt. Tree swallows doubled their number of nests to 19, and they produced forty-four fledglings. In addition, a new species used one of our nest boxes: a pair of carolina wrens, which added four fledglings to the woods of Connetquot.
- 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. 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.
- GSBAS is proud to continue to contribute to the protection of of birds, mammals, plants, fungi and other organisms by serving Audubon Shade Grown Coffee at meetings and chapter functions. Thank you to Helga Merryman for purchasing Audubon Shade Grown Coffee on behalf of GSBAS.
- Thanks to last year’s program chair, Sharon Kienzle, and Peter O’Connor, new Program Chair, who secured the speakers for our meetings. Chapter Publicity Chair, Helga Merryman, ensures that the scheduled speakers and their programs are advertised in local papers.
- Our monthly general membership meeting are well supplied with delicious food and beverages, thanks to Hospitality Chair, Mary Plant, and the many monthly Chapter volunteers. 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 held ten (10) General Membership Meetings with scheduled speakers at Connetquot River State Park Preserve, Oakdale, NY, which is GSBAS’ adopted IBA (Important Bird Area). Our meetings and speakers were as follows:
- September: Grace Scalzo and her photographic journey of the largest temperate rain forest in the world - Great Bear Rain Forests of British Columbia
- October: Master Beekeeper Chris Kelly shared his interesting life with bees.
- November: With our very own GSBAS member, Ken Thompson, we explored the evolution of bird guide books and the authors and the artists that make them come together.
- December: Our Annual Member Participation Night. In merry holiday spirit we shared photos, stories and poetry while noshing on delicious food and beverages.
- January: Dr. Artie Kopelman presented us with a photographic overview of the marine mammals and birds of Long Island waters.
- February: John Heidecker gave us some pointers on identifying common winter gulls in the NY Metro Area.
- March: Ginny Fields, a former president of GSBAS, gave a presentation on the birds photographed in her backyard.
- April: We watched a film, The Lost Bird Project by sculptor Todd McGrain, who created large sculptures of 5 bird species that went extinct.
- May: Once again, our Annual Dinner at Captain Bill’s Bayview House in Bay Shore was a great success. Guest speaker, Dr. Ivan Rothman presented a photographic program “I’m Alive” which earned him a well deserved standing ovation!
- June 19: Our annual Outdoor Program held at Brookside County Park. We welcomed Volunteers for Wildlife and their program Living with Wildlife on Long Island. The weather cooperated and we had a great turnout.
- GSBAS convened ten (10) Board Meetings held September 2013 – July 2014 at 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 newsletter, “The Sandpiper” thanks to our new Newsletter Editor Lenora Danieli,who took over for retiring editor, Harry Anderson. We are very thankful and appreciative of all the years Harry dedicated to The Sandpiper. Through its newsletter, GSBAS discusses and reports on conservation issues at the local, state and national levels. Our editor seeks submissions from our members in the form of nature stories, poems and/or 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 new Nature Walk Coordinator, Ken Thompson who quickly stepped up after the passing of Larry Merryman , who had been our dedicated Coordinator for many years.
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 often result 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 emailed to members.
- GSBAS’ official Website, www.gsbas.org and our Facebook page continue to remain fully reinvigorated through the efforts of our paid Webmaster, Eric Larson.
- 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 continue to participate in the Fire Island Hawk Watch which, has contributed greatly to the 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. Thanks to our regular hawk-counters Steve D’Amato, Edith & Bob Wilson, Ken Thompson, John Gluth, Bob Grover and Linda Puglielli.
- GSBAS’ Beach Cleanup Chairperson 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.
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.