Audubon chapter completes nesting boxes, plans April events

Saturday morning, the Weminuche Audubon Society completed another of six planned Volunteer Days projects at the Pagosa Springs Community Center. With some 45 participants on hand, the group assembled nearly two dozen bluebird nesting boxes for distribution throughout the Pagosa Springs area.

Generously donating his time, Steve Mckain of Pathfinder Construction pre-cut and drilled the materials, so attendees needed only hammers and Phillips screwdrivers to complete the work. The actual labor took little more than an hour.

The affair was the fifth of six scheduled events made possible by a generous $7,000 grant awarded the chapter by TogetherGreen (TG), last June. Announced in March 2008, TogetherGreen is an environmental alliance between the National Audubon Society and Toyota Motor Corporation.

A $20 million Toyota grant — the largest Audubon has received in its 104-year history — will support TogetherGreen for another four years, which, in turn, will continue to fund conservation projects, train environmental leaders and offer volunteer opportunities to significantly benefit the environment, nationwide.

Following nesting box construction, the chapter provided lunch and refreshments, as Durango Bird Club member Susan Allerton discussed the importance of nesting boxes and how best to mount and monitor them. Once the boxes were complete, volunteers took them home to hang and regularly observe their use throughout the summer months.

Tonight, meanwhile, Audubon Colorado Executive Director Gary Graham will offer one of a series of Conservation Education Programs scheduled in Pagosa Springs during the month of April. Entitled “Birds of the Manu Rainforest, Peru,” the 90-minute discussion will be at the community center and begins at 7 p.m. Graham will present colorful slides and fascinating stories of these South American residents.

Other April programs are scheduled as follows:

• Owling Around Pagosa; Tuesday, April 7, 6:30 to 10 p.m. Sponsored by the Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas, Lynn Wickersham will lead an indoor slideshow at the community center, followed by an outdoor field trip in search of owls.

• Willow Planting along Mill Creek; Saturday, April 18, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The last of Weminuche Audubon Society’s six TogetherGreen Volunteer Days projects, participants will join the chapter and U.S. Forest Service staff in cutting and planting willows along Mill Creek (CR 302) to improve riparian habitat.

• Tracking, The Language of Nature: Sunday, April 19, 2 to 5 p.m. Join Audubon Colorado Southwest Regional Director Becky Gillette and tracker and educator Jason Stuck at the Hershey Four Mile Ranch. Advance registration is required. An Earth Week celebration sponsored by the Southwest Organization for Sustainability, Habitat for Humanity and the Southwest Land Alliance.

• Celebrating Birds: Wednesday, April 22, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Hershey Four Mile Ranch. Join Durango Bird Club’s John Bregar and Audubon Colorado Southwest Regional Director Becky Gillette in celebration of birds for Earth Day. An Earth Week celebration sponsored by the Southwest Organization for Sustainability, Habitat for Humanity and the Southwest Land Alliance.

• Birds of Archuleta County: Saturday, April 25, 10 to 11 a.m. at the Pagosa Springs Community Center. Join Weminuche Audubon Society Past President Susan Halabrin for a discussion of local bird species. An Earth Week celebration sponsored by the Southwest Organization for Sustainability, Habitat for Humanity and the Southwest Land Alliance.

• The Language of Nature and the Art of Tracking: Sunday, April 25, time to be announced. Join tracker and educator Jason Stuck at the community center. An Earth Week celebration sponsored by the Southwest Organization for Sustainability, Habitat for Humanity and the Southwest Land Alliance.

Audubon Colorado will hold at least three additional birding events in May. For more information on them or the above listed, contact Audubon Colorado Southwest Regional Director Becky Gillette at (970) 883-3066, or e-mail her at rgillette@audubon.org.

Unless otherwise noted, all meetings, field trips and events are free and open to the public. These programs are sponsored, in part, by the Audubon Colorado “Southwest Colorado Initiative for the Environment, Conservation and Education (SCIENCE)” and the Weminuche Audubon Society.

chuck@pagosasun.com


SUN photo/Chuck McGuire
An attentive crowd of bluebird lovers listens, as Steve McKain of Pathfinder Construction explains nesting box assembly instructions. The group gathered for another Weminuche Audubon Society TogetherGreen event Saturday, to build nearly two dozen of the houses for distribution around the community.