|The President’s Hoot|
Richard H. Baker, Ph.D.
Two years ago, the board and I wrote down some goals for PIAS to achieve. I want to review these with you. Some have been met, but others still need attention.
Strengthen the County’s Tree and Landscaping Ordinances. The tree ordinance was revised due to PIAS’s recommendations. A positive success. Thanks to the leadership of Debby Eckerand David Cox and many others including Jean Catchpole, Billi Wagner, Diane Macgowan, Janice Broda, and Bonnie Veron we now have a much stronger ordinance that protects our trees. The cities in the county are now examining their tree ordinances as well.
Efforts are now being made to strengthen the landscaping ordinances, which will promote the use of native plant buffers and discourage the use of cypress mulch and reduce irrigation in Indian River County. By giving the tree saving award we initiated Kevin Doty’s suggestion of having PIAS landscaping awards for those who set the example, and we need to expand it to true environmentally protective landscaping.
Improve Field Trips That Can Bring in New Members. Ellie VanOs organized a series of excellent field trips to various places both inside and outside the county. For example, the field trip led by Bob Adair to Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge gave us an important look at sustainable agriculture in a wild life refuge, and by Roy Book to the TM Goodwin Wildlife Management Area where we saw large numbers of birds on managed lands. Alice Rowe continued to co-lead PIAS monthly canoe trips to ORCA and to Blue Cypress Lake.
Have Fun. As supreme socializing facilitator, Melissa Tripson spoiled us rotten with homemade cookies and organizing our December Holiday Party. I would like to expand this to include a summer picnic and other fun socializing activities in the coming year. Some have also suggested providing babysitters and nature activities for young ones for our monthly meetings.
Renovate Library and Audubon Office. Bob Bruce provided the funds for the new carpet. Tina Marchese, Robert & Judy Treloar, and Roberta Cannon have reorganized our library and what a library it is on books related to birds and nature. Sandy and Gabe Campbell gave it a thorough cleaning.
Improve our Image. Our publicity chair, Pat Sawyer, has done an outstanding job in publicizing all our projects and successes, which has resulted in greater public awareness of PIAS and its accomplishments. She was a most important person on the board, and I appreciated and respected her ideas and opinions so very much.
Pass the Environmental Bonds. Many on our board and also in our community contributed to getting the new bond issue passed for $50 million to preserve environmental lands. This is a key to keeping Indian River County’s environment beautiful and productive.
Have a Webpage. Patrick Pitts, Tim Pinion, and Jonathon Saint from Harbor Branch originally set up the PIAS webpage. Recently Bob Montanaro, our new office manager has brought it to a new level in providing information about our chapter and our community.
Begin Birding Courses at the ELC. Last year in collaboration with the Environmental Learning Center, Janice Broda organized a beginning birding course. We would like your assistance to continue this annually.
Expand Our Youth Scholarships. Susan Boyd has taken over our high school graduate scholarship committee. We thank the major contributions of Ruth Moore in supporting this important gift we give our youth. This is a way to raise awareness of PIAS’s activities and goals.
Increase Fund Raising Efforts for the chapter have greatly improved. Thanks to Joe Carroll and Tina Marchese, the Reflections of Blue Cypress book has brought in over $26,000 in profits. Joe Carroll has also continued his bird-a-thon, and just recently Jens and Melissa Tripson organized a tremendously successful bird art show, which brought in over $7,000 for PIAS. We appreciate Nancy Irvin, Jens Tripson, and others for working the PIAS popcorn booth at Downtown Fridays and other events. Soliciting individual donors for specific projects would be valuable. Each dollar can further our mission.
Modernize Our Accounting System. Accolades to Bob Smith, Cyndie Delstanches, and Andrew Barr for reorganizing our accounting system making it much more understandable and easily accessed.
Keep PIAS informed. Kudos to Darlene Halliday for taking our minutes and devising our phone tree, and Kevin Doty and Lynne Larkin for keeping us on track on the important issues.
PIAS moves forward with each individuals contributions. Important growth and environmental issues are still here, and so we need all the help we can get for the next two years. Unfortunately after their fine contributions, Pat Sawyer and Ellie VanOs will be leaving the board, and we are actively needing publicity and field trip chairs as well as other needs. Please call me at 567-3520 if you are interested in joining our board or helping out on any of these or your own projects.
Photo by Richard H. Baker