4th grade birding program inspires young artists

For nearly 25 years, Vashon Audubon has participated in Chautauqua Elementary School’s 4th grade birding program, contributing presentations about birds and field trips on the island.

The Vashon Center for the Arts also participates through its artist-in-the-classroom program. In 2018, artist Bruce Morser led the students in drawing and painting birds. The kids’ work was displayed in the VCA breezeway during the summer. This video captures some of their delightful work.

Protecting the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

The National Audubon Society has assembled a coalition of more than 500 conservation groups and other organizations to defend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which has protected North American birds for 100 years. Vashon Audubon is participating in this effort.

In November 2017, Rep. Liz Cheney introduced a measure to gut the MBTA as an amendment to H.R. 4239, a bill written to weaken environmental protections in order to facilitate oil and gas drilling. Soon after, the Office of the Solicitor within the Department of the Interior released an opinion saying it will no longer enforce the MBTA in cases of incidental bird deaths, effectively giving a blank check to industry to avoid gruesome and preventable bird deaths.

Congress passed the MBTA in 1918 in response to public outcry over the mass slaughter of birds. The law prohibits killing or harming America’s birds except under certain conditions, including managed hunting seasons for game species.

Today, this law protects birds from 21st-century threats by bringing together industry, government and conservation organizations to implement best-management practices. Commonsense solutions like covering oil pits and flagging transmission lines protect countless birds each year from otherwise needless deaths.

A top priority for Audubon this year is to make sure that no bills weakening the MBTA become law.

Purple Martins photo by Ray Pfortner