Our Mission: To preserve and protect the animals, plants, and natural communities
in Indian River County through advocacy, education, and public awareness.
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The President's Hoot by
Richard H. Baker, Ph.D.
October 2013

Jane Schnee, PIAS Board Member to receive the USFWS Regional Director’s Conservation Award

Congratulations to Jane Schnee who will receive the Regional Director’s Conservation Award from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region, October 30, 2013 in Atlanta They recognize her commitment and dedication and extraordinary contributions to fish and wildlife conservation. Jane deserves this national award for her many conservation activities:

  • Restoration of a 10 acre Scrub Jay Habitat.  Two years ago, Jane purchased with her own money ($100,000) a 10-acre scrub habitat in Sebastian that has a producing Scrub Jay family.  She along with PIAS and USFWS volunteers removed hundreds of pine trees to improve the habitat and gave them away for a donation during the holidays.  We produced many “Charlie Brown” Christmas trees in our community and raised some funds for restoration.  Jane herself and sometimes with volunteers found and marked Gopher Tortoise burrows and removed invasive plants.  Eventually, she also hired a company to get rid of all the tall slash pines and purchased and planted Scrub Oaks.  Jane Schnee has encouraged many PIAS and community volunteers to help in these restoration efforts.  Anytime Waste Systems provided the dumpsters pro bono. 
  • JayWatch.  Jane monitors the Scrub-Jays at:  Sebastian Airport, North Sebastian Conservation Area, Pelican Island Elementary School Preserve, Wabasso Scrub, and even on private property at Broxton & 66th Ave. her Bristol/Barber property, and Vero Lake Estates.  She also helped trap-train the Jays that had no bands and helped band them. Thanks to Jane, we now have over 80% of the Jays in Indian River County banded.
  • PIAS Boy Scout Merit Badge. Following a request from a parent at our Audubon meeting, Jane became a “qualified” Boy Scout Counselor and got scouts out into the natural world, helping them with conservation projects, and working on their Nature and Bird merit badges.  Three scouts completed the Bird Study Merit Badge, and one scout was awarded the Nature Merit Badge.  Eight more scouts continue working on them.
  • Former chair and member of the City of Sebastian Natural Resources Board. Jane has made a number of presentations to the Sebastian’s City Council to protect their Scrub Jay habitats.

Jane received the PIAS Environmental Citizen award last year, and the USFWS award justifiably recognizes her nationally for her great work to save our environment and birds.  Wonderful, Jane!

Boots on the Ground: Audubon Assembly 2013-Oct 25-26

Why is it good for PIAS to be a part of Florida and National Audubon?  Have you ever attended one of the best state meetings on the environment and had a really good time with great guest speakers, one of a kind field trip experience, and opportunities to socialize and network with other hard working conservationists who want to make a difference? I find it very inspirational.   This is an opportunity to learn new conservation, educational, and advocacy techniques in hands-on workshops.  You too can attend.

This year the 2013 Audubon Assembly Oct 25-27, at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor is a celebration of people like you who put their “boots on the ground” for conservation.  This meeting and one other, the Florida Folk Festival at Stephen Foster State Park where folks celebrate Florida and its environment in song, get me motivated, energized, and enthusiastic to participate in Audubon every year, and I try to make a difference in our community.  You should join us, too.

Audubon Florida’s signature conservation event brings together representatives and dedicated volunteers of Audubon’s 44 chapters that include conservation leaders, scientists, educators and policy makers.  Through nature-inspired walking workshops, speakers, and thought-provoking learning sessions to help us with Grassroots Advocacy, Citizen Science, and Habitat Stewardship. 

The following choices of beautiful Field Trips with great birding in Pinellas County:  Honeymoon Island, Brooker Creek Preserve, Anclote Gulf Park, Wall Springs Park, Possum Branch Mitigation Area, John Chestnut Park (now reporting warbler migrants). Field Trips details can be found at fl.audubon.org/field-trips-2

Dr. Reed Bowman, Director of the Avian Ecology Program at Florida's celebrated Archbold Biological Station, will be the Friday night keynote speaker. PIAS will have an exhibit at the Assembly and show videos of the square foot garden project and the QR codes project at the refuge. 

For more information see: http://fl.audubon.org/audubon-assembly-2013-boots-ground

Come join us!

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