Monday, December 3, 2007

OOS Donates $10 K to TNC

For me, one of the highlights of last weekend's Ohio Ornithological Society Bird Conservation Conference was the formal donation of ten thousand dollars to our partner the Ohio Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Nobody does land conservation better than TNC, and no issue is more pressing than the need to protect land if we want to protect birds. It was a good feeling to know that, even with only 3 1/2 years under our belt, the members of the OOS could come together to raise enough money to provide this important match grant to TNC.

The $10K is a necessary match for Clean Ohio money that enables TNC to buy a very significant 24-acre parcel adjoining the 14,000-acre Edge of Appalachia preserve in Adams County. Known as the Conrad tract, this 24 acres supports mixed mesophytic forest, upland oak-hickory associations, and exposed dolomitic limestone outcrops with rare White Cedar trees. A number of neotropical breeding birds nest here, and the acquisition of this property is another key in the jigsaw puzzle of Edge inholdings and adjoining properties.
Birders are a huge potential force for conservation. And many of us already do a lot to help. Many of us belong to clubs and organizations such as the OOS or TNC, and our membership dollars help with special projects. However, something that has not happened very often is birders joining together to raise money specifically targeted for acquisition of critical landscapes for birds. That's why I view this donation as a milestone of sorts for our group, and am deeply appreciative of the many people who made it possible. While $10,000 may pale in comparison to a $250,000 check that can be written by the Ohio Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, or the millions of dollars that Ducks Unlimited has been funneling into wetland acquisition for decades, it is a positive step.

I see no reason why ornithological societies and bird clubs can't engage in conservation efforts, especially when excellent partnership opportunities with land-owning/managing groups like TNC exist. The OOS will always be very engaged in more traditional ornithological society pursuits, such as publishing articles and bird records, making ornithological information available to interested parties, holding conferences and symposia, sponsoring survey efforts like the Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas, etc. But in order to engage in those activities into the future, we have to have birds. That means protecting their habitats. I welcome your feedback on our efforts, and the OOS welcomes your support.

Presentation of the ceremonial check to TNC. From l to r: OOS board members, Ned Keller and Marc Nolls, Pete Whan and Lucy Miller representing TNC, and your blogger. Photo by Hugh Rose.

Here are some more of the all volunteer cast of characters that make the OOS go. From l to r: Peter King, OOS financial officer; Tom Bain, chair of the OOS Conservation Committee; Greg Miller, OOS board member; Cheryl Harner, member of the OOS Conservation Committee; Jen Sauter, OOS executive secretary; Jim McCormac, OOS president; Ned Keller, OOS board member; Marc Nolls, OOS board member; and Pete Whan and Lucy Miller of TNC. Photo by Hugh Rose.

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1 comment:

Colleen Kammer said...

I believe that we need multiple organizations working together on conservation. Congratulations to the OOS in donating $10,000 to TNC. That is a very impressive sum of money and speaks to the dedication and passion of the OOS leadership and membership. Thank you so much for doing this to conserve the important habitat of the Edge of Appalachia!