Over the past year we continued to fulfill our mission: To enjoy, learn about, and preserve birds and the diverse natural habitats of Vashon Island and beyond.
Here are the highlights…
Adria Magrath organized outstanding programs, well-attended by our members:
Sylvia Soholt organized classes, like Jim Evans’ workshops and field trip about riparian ecosystems. The fourteen participants learned how to protect and restore these important areas.
Sylvia also revived monthly bird walks—a real treat after COVID kept us indoors for so long. Sue Trevathan, Steve Caldwell, Adria Magrath, and Paulina Barry led walks.
As part of the Natural Wonders exhibit at the Vashon Heritage Museum, Sarah Driggs worked with the museum to create a display that let viewers see and hear birds up close; 27 Island photographers shared their stunning images.
We continued to support the long-standing 4th-grade bird program at Chautauqua Elementary. Vashon Nature Center staff member Maria Metler led the program, and six Audubon volunteers—Jody Pritchard, Sarah Driggs, Jim Diers, Steve Hunter, Sylvia Soholt, Branden McGarry, and Laura Bienen helped in classrooms and field trips.
Also for youngsters: We taught Island preschoolers about bird sounds, and partnered with Seattle Audubon’s summer bird camp, contributing $200 to meet costs for some campers.
Led by Jennifer Steele, eight volunteers conducted Climate Watch counts in 12 sites around the Island. The data they collect helps scientists document birds’ response to climate change. Thank you Jon Hoekstra, Virginia Lohr, Mary Fran Lyons, Cheryl Weise, Margie Morgan, Jody Pritchard and Brit Myers.
Another Audubon survey, shared with the Vashon Nature Center, monitors Pigeon Guillemots. These birds are the only nesting cliff seabirds on the Island, and the survey provides data about their breeding throughout the Salish Sea. Participants include Brendan McGarry, Hailey Quackenbush, Sherry Lee Bottoms, Max Moore, Quin Williams, Laura Bienen, Yvonne Kuperberg, Elliott James, and Kallis Jarrahy.
Battling cold and wet weather, 91 hardy volunteers participated in the annual Christmas Bird Count. Ezra Parker once again organized the count circle, which included our Kitsap County Audubon friends as well as Islanders.
Led by our conservation chair, Steve Hunter, and Washington Audubon staff, we continued to work with state legislators on bird-friendly policy. We kept an eye on legislation, informed our members through our newsletter and website, and urged messages to our legislators when appropriate.
This year we used Zoom to inform 34th District Sen. Joe Nguyen about issues important to us. Virginia Lohr’s expertise on climate issues was especially helpful.
Notable successes this year: A bill passed that supports habitat-sensitive siting of solar infrastructure, secures funding for climate-smart agricultural programs, and provides for research into conservation of native kelp and eelgrass.
Next session we’ll work to pass a bill calling for an assessment of shoreline armoring in Puget Sound. Seawalls and other structures can damage habitat that’s vital to birds like the Rhinoceros Auklet and Pigeon Guillemot.
Steve also continued to work with Vashon-Maury Land Trust to find a balance between people’s love for their dogs and the need to protect sensitive habitat. This means monitoring progress at Kneeshaw Pond, helping to improve signs at Fisher Pond and other places, and educating folks about the way dogs—particularly unleashed dogs—can disrupt avian habitat.
Habitat loss and degradation is the main reason we’ve lost 30 percent of North America’s birds since the 1960s. Led by Jim Evans, Vashon Audubon has been partnering with the Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust since 2019 to help care for bird and wildlife habitat in Paradise Valley.
In 2021 we logged 190 volunteer hours, controlling invasive plants like holly and ivy, planting and maintaining bird-friendly native trees and shrubs, inventorying birds and wildlife, and managing a nest box program—and had fun doing it! We surpassed our 2021 volunteer-hour figure this year. Special thanks to dedicated volunteers Fran Brooks, John King, Henry Mustin, Jody Pritchard, Steve Hunter, Sally Friou, and Adria Magrath; many others have also contributed their time, and all are welcome!
Artist Britt Freda completed the mural in Heron Meadow. It will continue to remind viewers that the eight bird species depicted—and many more—are threatened by climate change.
Hunter Davis continued to delight readers of the Vashon Beachcomber with her monthly Bird of the Month feature. We’re grateful to the Beachcomber for publishing other articles related to birds as well.
The photos in our calendar amaze us every year. We’re grateful to all the Island photographers—ranging from kids to seasoned professionals—who contribute their work.
And thank you to Thriftway, Vashon Bookshop, and Minglement for making the calendars available in your stores.
Steve Caldwell and Susan Keats continue to clean and maintain the Purple Martin boxes.
The Audubon Native Habitat Garden—behind the Heritage Museum—is growing. This demonstration garden is a great place to see native plants that attract birds.
We contributed several articles to the Beachcomber, such as one by Sarah Driggs about how to invite more birds to your garden.
As we do every year, we awarded a scholarship to a graduating high school student. This year’s recipient loves trees and nature and plans to study forestry in college. Lindsay Hofman, Katrin Fletter, and Laura Bienen made up our scholarship review team.
Vashon Audubon by the numbers
Membership: 239 households
Finances (January–December 2021)
Operating revenue: $16,640
Operating expense: $16,757
How can i make a donation on line or do i need to send a check via us mail?
Thank you for considering a donation. This link will take you to the “Contribute” page: https://vashonaudubon.org/join-us/contribute/