North Coast Audubon Society in full flight, to build viewing platform at Terra Mar

<I>KEVIN HEIMBIGNER/Chinook Observer</I><BR>Members of Discovery Coast Audubon Society take a field trip to Terra Mar near where they will be building a viewing platform by year's end. From left is Bjarno and Mike Guglielmetti, Marcia Thorniley, Mary Atherton, Mike and Dee Snider, and Mike Carmel. Pacific County's is the only new Audubon charter in the past 25 years.

TERRA MAR - Pacific County's North Coast Audubon Society (NCAS) is alive and fluttering with activity and founder and president Patricia Cruse is inviting any and all to attend a monthly meeting, go on an outing or join the only new Audubon chapter to come into existence in the U.S. in the past quarter century.

NCAS became an official Audubon chapter in June 2007, but Cruse and three other people began meeting as early as 2004. Now the membership has grown to at least 106 and meetings are held the second Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. at the PUD Building except for November and December. "When we received our charter we didn't change a thing that we had been doing," Cruse states of the active group.

At the meetings there is always an entertaining and educational program, including guest experts in birding. Last month people from COASST (Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team) came and presented information on adopting a kilometer of beach and systematically reporting on what types and how many bird carcasses wash ashore.

An active project NCAS is pursuing is obtaining land in Terra Mar, an area of land that is low-lying and thus unbuildable and located north of Oysterville. NCAS has obtained 15 lots from 12 donors to date and is actively seeking more landowners to give their property over to NCAS in order to keep the area pristine and natural. The county also owns a great deal of the property in Terra Mar. NCAS land stewards Bjarno and Mike Guglielmetti keep an eye on the properties and the local Audubon chapter will aid in making the transfers a tax-deductible gift.

PRESERVING TERRA MAR

Member Marcia Thornily says, "It is so beautiful (in Terra Mar) and there just isn't much untouched land like this around anymore. That is why it is so important to keep this area the way it is." By the end of the year NCAS is planning to build a viewing platform accessible to all, with a road, parking lot and trail for members. Terra Mar is posted and closed to the public, but it is possible to call Cruse at 642-1310 to arrange a visit.

Mary Alice Atherton is NCAS's education committee chair and she gives talks to school children and birding groups. She also guides tours and helps supply Audubon kits for schools and other organizations. She has spoken to international groups who have come to the Peninsula. Member Mike Carmel says, "It would be nice if the Peninsula became more of a tourist destination for birding and other ecological pursuits."

Terra Mar offers more than just bird watching as there is unspoiled plant and wildlife in the area. Cruse and the Guglielmettis are currently working on having Washington and the National Audubon Society name Terra Mar as an important bird area, further advancing its attraction as a tourist destination. See sidebar below right.

The local Audubon chapter also helps with injured birds. They will make emergency calls and NCAS members work closely with the Wildlife Rehab Center of the North Coast and Sharnelle Fee. To report an injured bird, she can be reached at 503-338-0331.

CONNECTING WITH NATURENCAS's purpose is to involve citizens in protecting the natural world and quality of life by connecting people with nature. Audubon supports environmental education while members enjoy discovering and sharing the delights with others and working together to sustain the quality of life with the community. Bird watching ethics include respect for private property, observing and photographing birds without disturbing them, and not using recorded sounds to attract birds.

NCAS says birding sharpens your sight, encourages you to explore the natural world, meet friendly people, become politically active and be an authority in your neighborhood on the wingspan of an eagle among other things. As Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has."

Advice is to study bird books before going out in the field and once there look at the birds and not your book. Walking and talking softly is a must, as is stopping often to observe. Use your ears to locate birds as much as your eyes. Atherton says, "I saw a rare Eurasian collared dove that is native to California in Terra Mar." Watching a swallow-tailed kite bird eat a dragon fly and then seeing the dragon fly's wings flutter down or sighting your first ruby-crowned kinglet swoop by at 40 miles per hour are all part of the fun of bird watching according to NCAS's Web site, (www.discoverycoastaububon.com).

Anyone interested in joining the North Coast Audubon Society or going on an educational tour is urged to call Cruse at 642-1310. Donations are also welcome and are tax-deductible.

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