September 2014 General Meeting

The Great Texas Birding Classic

Zach Hutchinson, Field Trip Director of Operations at the Science Zone in Casper, will be our guest speaker for our September program.  In April, Zach and two other team members participated in The Great Texas Birding Classic.Statewide Weeklong Tournament.  Team “Science Zone” Spent six days in the State of Texas while driving over 5,000 miles searching for as many bird species that they could find.  Zach will share the experience with us and let us know how his team fared.

Winning teams (those who see the most species) are awarded conservation grants supplied by sponsors such as Toyota and Swarovski Optik.  Conservation Grants can be awarded to projects anywhere in Texas. The Birding Classic has donated $819,500 in conservation funding to nature tourism and avian habitat restoration, enhancement, and acquisition projects throughout the state!

Great Texas Birding Classic staff will work with winning teams from several tournaments to select conservation project grant recipients. Conservation grant amounts and number of grants awarded is dependent on money raised through team registration fees and sponsorship dollars.

Please join us on Friday, September 12, 2014 at 7 pm at the Oil & Gas Conservation Commission Building at 2211 King Blvd. for this interesting program.  As always, the program is free and open to the public!

May General Meeting – 2014

The Decline and Increases of Bird Species

Studies of bird numbers are used in various ways to help us understand changes in habitats, etc.    For example, the Eurasian Collared-Dove was first counted on the Casper Christmas Bird Count in 2003.  In 10 years this species has gone from a novelty to a very common year-round species.  The Canada Goose, as well as other waterfowl species, are now a year-round species.  American Robins are more plentiful.  Meanwhile, Horned Larks and finch species seem to be on the decline.  While these statements are general and based upon data from Casper Christmas Bird Counts since 1949, they do indicate trends that are worth discussing.

Ted Floyd, Editor of Birding magazine, will be our guest speaker for our May 9 program.  Ted will talk about both declines and increases of bird species, with a focus on Colorado.   Most of the “trend” stories (collared-doves, beetle kill, shrinking glaciers, more Lesser Black-backed Gulls, etc.) noted in Colorado, are also basically true for Wyoming.

Please join us on Friday, May 9 at 7 PM at the Oil & Gas Conservation Commission Building at 2211 King Blvd. for this program.   WE HAVE BEEN ASKED AGAIN TO PLEASE USE THE EAST DOOR – I APOLOGIZE FOR THE CONFUSION.   As always, the program is free and open to the public!

May, June and August Calendar

May 3—Piggery cleanup—9AM—contact Bruce Walgren – (234-7455, bruce_walgren@bresnan.net)

May 8—Bird ID Class—pg. 2 – May’s Newsletter

May 9—eBird Workshop—pg. 2 – May’s Newsletter

May 9—General Mtg. & Election of Officers – May’s Newsletter

May 10—Field Trip—May’s Newsletter

May 14-18—Birding Festival—May’s Newsletter

May 18—MAS Big Day—5:00AM—meet at  Dori Lou’s Place Restaurant—contact Bart Rea or Andrea Trembath—May’s Newsletter

May 26—Field Trip—May’s Newsletter

May 29—Bird ID Class—May’s Newsletter

May 31—Field trip—TBA at 5-29 class

June 5—Field trip—May’s Newsletter

June 5—Bird ID class—May’s Newsletter

June 7—Field Trip—TBA at 6-5 class

June 7-8—Bird Festival—May’s Newsletter

Aug. 12—Annual Summer Picnic—May’s Newsletter

Aug. 18—September newsletter articles due

April General Meeting

Platte RiverPlatte River Revival

Members of the Platte River Revival Advisory Committee including Brian Connely, Jolene Martinez, and Colin Tierney will present and answer questions about the Platte River Revival and how it will improve habitat along the river at our April 11 meeting.

The Platte River Revival, simply stated, is a North Platte River restoration project for the 13.5 miles of river (and its banks) that traverse Casper.  Its mission is to foster a healthy and sustainable river system that is a catalyst for economic development and improved quality of life.  This legacy project, with multi-generational impact, is a project that is, at the same time, an economic development project, a conservation project, and a quality of life project.

The project began in 2007 with a volunteer day in conjunction with National Public Lands Day where citizens performed hands on restoration work, like removing Russian olives, planting native species trees, and removing debris from the river and banks.  A master plan was completed in 2012 and is guiding the second phase of the Revival, which will be in-river construction at seven sites, vegetation restoration along the banks in selected areas, and the annual volunteer day.  Construction will begin in October 2014 and be completed in November 2014 for two of the seven sites.

Please join us on Friday, April 11 at 7 pm at the Oil & Gas Conservation Commission Building at 2211 King Blvd. for this program.  As always, the program is free and open to the public!

Submitted by Jolene Martinez.

BRUCE WALGREN—PROGRAM CHAIR

November General Meeting

Volcanoes and Life:  Agents of Destruction and Creation

Our November program will be presented by Karl Osvald, geologist with the Bureau of Land Management in Casper.

We may think of volcanic eruptions as infrequent, sometimes deadly, events, but volcanoes have played a major role in shaping the Earth and maintaining the conditions for life that lives on and in it from this planet’s very beginning.  They are agents of both destruction and creation.

Karl will speak about the influences of volcanism on our planet; the surface, temperature, weather, as well as global climate.  He will also speak of the responses to these influences in the evolution of animals and plants, ecosystems, and biological diversity. We are part of nature, but even now we can’t defy the destructive forces or long term influence of volcanoes.

Please join us on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 7 PM at the Oil & Gas Conservation Commission Building at 2211 King Blvd. for this program.  As always, the program is free and open to the public!

Program Chair—Bruce Walgren

October General Meeting

Tracking the Brothers Murie: On the Trail of Olaus and Adolph

Olaus J. Murie (1889-1963) spent 26 years with the US Biological Survey and its successor, the Fish and Wildlife Service; his brother Adolph Murie (1899-1974) spent three decades with the National Park Service. Their seminal studies of elk, coyotes, wolves, grizzly bears, and other mammals helped shape the emergence of wildlife research as a practice, and wildlife management as a profession. Yet surprisingly, given the Murie brothers’ contributions, no full biographies exist for either, and key aspects of their careers remain largely unexamined. In this presentation, historian Dr. John C. Rumm traces his ongoing efforts to track the Murie brothers, and shares some initial findings from his current research.

As Senior Curator of Western American History at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Dr. John C. Rumm recently oversaw a major reinstallation of the Buffalo Bill Museum.

Dr. Rumm came to the BBHC from Philadelphia, where he held senior-level positions with several museums. Prior to that, he spent 11 years with the Smithsonian Institution, and consulted on heritage for corporate and non-profit clients.

Dr. Rumm received his B.A. in the History of Science and Technology from Ohio State University, and did his graduate work at the University of Delaware, receiving a Master’s and a doctorate in American History. He was a Fellow in the Hagley Graduate Program at the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware, where he also worked as an archivist.

Since 2009, Dr. Rumm has been vice-president and newsletter editor of Meadowlark Audubon Society. A lifelong birder, he also has deep interests in environmental and natural history.

Dr. Rumm’s research on the Murie brothers is supported by grants from the University of Wyoming, the Wyoming Historical Society, and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

Please join us on Friday, October 11, 2013 at 7PM at the Oil & Gas Conservation Commission Building at 2211 King Blvd. for this program about a very influential conservation family and our Chapter’s namesake.  As always, the program is free and open to the public!  Program Chair—Bruce Walgren

 

September 2013 General Meeting

A Murder of Crows

Our first program of the year will feature a film originally shown on the PBS show Nature in 2010.  A Murder of Crows covers some of the most recent studies of Crows that reveals their intelligence. Crows, as well as other corvids or jays, do not have the best of reputations.  They are usually portrayed in movies and folklore as sinister or as nuisance birds.  New research has shown they are among the most intelligent animals in the world, able to use tools, to recognize each other’s voices and 250 distinct calls.  They are very social, mate for life, and raise their young for up to five years. In addition, they are able to recognize individual humans and pick them out of a crowd up to two years later.  Crow experts from around the world sing their praises, and present us with captivating new footage of crows as we have never seen them before.

Please join us on Friday, September 13, 2013 at 7 pm at the Oil & Gas Conservation Commission Building at 2211 King Blvd. for this interesting film about crows.  As always, the program is free and open to the public!

PROGRAM CHAIRMAN—Bruce Walgren

(Ed.’s Note: “A Murder of  crows”  dates back to the 15 century and refers to a group of crows.)

General Meeting Oct. 14, 2011

Bolton Creek Riparian Restoration Initiative

Al Conder, Regional Fisheries Supervisor with the Wyoming Game and Fish Casper office, will be our guest speaker at our next monthly program where he will tell us about the ongoing Bolton Creek Riparian Restoration project.

This project will restore the riparian (cottonwood, willow and riparian grass) communities within the Bolton Creek watershed, southwest of Casper. There are remnant cottonwoods and willows, but head cuts within the stream have drained the adjacent floodplains, which have left several reaches of these communities high and dry. The Bureau of Land Management has excluded from grazing a stretch of Bolton Creek to determine cottonwood and willow response, which has been extremely favorable, but these communities are still at risk due to the lowering of the water table. Game & Fish currently assists the beaver with dam building materials and food sources in order to increase their activity in the watershed.  Beaver dams will gradually raise the water table and prevent further head cut events. Over time beaver dams will raise the stream bed to a point where the disconnected floodplain will once again become reconnected and serve as a fully functional floodplain that will dissipate energy during flood events. Later evaluation will be made to determine if the cottonwoods and willows will naturally propagate the riparian area, or if it will be necessary to augment the cottonwood and willow restoration with some plantings.

Restoring a riparian corridor back to cottonwood, willow and riparian grass will provide food, shelter, and water for wildlife, especially during drought years. Furthermore, this project will improve the hydrologic functions of Bolton Creek, which will reduce sediment loads into the North Platte River, thus improving trout habitat. Moreover, the cottonwood-willow community will provide improved habitat conditions for neo-tropical migrants (songbirds), cavity nesting birds, non-game mammals, non-game fish, amphibians, and potentially trout. In addition, sage grouse late brood-rearing habitat will improve due to the raising of the water table, which will increase native riparian herbaceous plant species, such as Nebraska sedge and basin wildrye.

Please join us on Friday, October 14, 2011 at 7 pm at the Oil & Gas Conservation Commission Building at 2211 King Blvd. for this very interesting presentation.  As always, the program is free and open to the public!  Al Conder and Bruce Walgren

General Meeting

WATER AND WATER STORAGE IN THE WEST

John Lawson, Area Manager for the Wyoming Area of the Bureau of Reclamation, will be the guest speaker on September 9, at 7:00 at the Oil & Gas Conservation Commission Bldg. at 2011 King Blvd.

The Wyoming Area office administers several multipurpose projects to the region by supplying water to 43 irrigation entities which collectively serve more than 580,000 acres of land and 8 municipal and industrial contractors, as well as providing hydroelectric power, flood control, fish and wildlife habitat enhancement and recreation.

Snowpack in the upper North Platte drainage basin above Seminole and Pathfinder Reservoirs stood at 150 percent of normal as Wyoming entered the spring runoff season.  In addition, Seminole, Pathfinder, Glendo, and Guernsey Reservoirs were at unseasonably high levels.  The efforts to draw down the reservoirs in anticipation of heavy runoff began last fall, when irrigation districts questioned the risk of letting so much water go downstream.  River flooding did not reach the maximum forecast levels due to several factors including water storage strategy, lack of heavy snowfall, and cooler temperatures which slowed the rate of snowmelt.  Large amounts of snow across the upper Great Plains this year further complicated the operation of the overall system of water management of the river basins under the control of this area. 

The program is free and open to the public!