Our 2019 Audubon Heroes

The President’s Hoot
by Richard H. Baker, Ph.D.
April 2019

Many folks contributed to the success of Pelican Island Audubon this year.  Volunteers participated in our events, developed courses, led birding field trips, helped with landscaping, grew trees, taught kids, wrote grants for funding, welcomed visitors, and continued our ongoing projects at Audubon House.  At our annual meeting on March 18, 2019, we recognized the special outstanding contributions individuals have made not only to our chapter but also to our community.  These awards highlight our activities and inspire us all to work together to improve our quality of life and make Indian River County a sustainable, environmentally, and happy place to live.

Phyllis Stockburger Award: to Ruth Moore longtime PIAS member who, at 98, is so generous with her financial support of our Chapter.

Board Member of the Year: to Dr. William Loftus for his great editing skills of PIAS publications, organizing new field trips and speakers at meetings, and facilitating our Osprey and Spoonbill citizen-science programs.  
Maggy Bowman/Conservationist of the Year: to Dr. Grant Gilmore, world-renowned Fish expert for helping us protect the fish nurseries at the Oslo Boat Ramp from a dredge-and-fill project.  A great lecturer: “Did You Know Fish Talk?”  He teaches us that fish are like birds in that you can identify them by their sounds and gain so much information on their mating and nursery habitats.  He’s published over 70 papers on fish ecology and life histories of the spotted seatrout, snook, groupers, and sharks.
Environmental Educator Award: Katheryne Nix, who has done a terrific job in providing  an environmental awareness for our  After School Program, the Audubon Advocates, summer camps, and spring breaks.

Environmental Citizen: to Wayne Mills, who served as Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, got the EPA to enforce the Clean Water Act and provide a blue print to reduce nutrients and sediments to restore the Chesapeake Bay. He has brought this mission to Florida by organizing the Brevard Clean Water Coalition and now the Indian River Clean Water Coalition with 50 partnering organizations.

Conservation Journalist: to Tyler Treadway. We are so lucky to have Tyler Treadway, environmental journalist for TC Palm newspaper, spreading the word about the terrible environmental problems in our Lagoon and Blue Cypress Lake.

Environmental Landscaping: to Terry Greene who not only keeps our Audubon House native gardens and Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area landscape beautiful, and is redoing his own yard in Collier Creek with native plants, setting a great example for all his neighbors and HOA.  

President’s Award: to Steve Palmquist. New on our board, Steve has nicely taken leadership of our Trees for Life Project.  We now have around 1,500 Live Oaks in pots and 4,500 acorns planted in trays for germination.  One hundred free Live Oaks are available for planting now.

Eleanor & Bud Kleckner Award: to Carla Hahn for her generosity.  Before the Intensive Beginning Birding Class started, I showed her our greenhouse and the Live Oaks in pots.  After the class, she gave Juanita an envelope saying it was a donation for the PIAS tree project. Not hundreds, thousands! When I told her I wanted to give her an award she said, “I do not need any recognition. I just love trees and your project is so wonderful and needed.  I am so happy to contribute because of all the great programs you are doing.” She agreed when I encouraged her to be an example to others.

Environmental Youth Award: to Will Johnson wholed our warbler field trips for adults, joined us on the Christmas Bird Count, and had an art exhibition of his beautiful bird paintings.

Outstanding Service by an Elected Official: to Bob Solari, Chair of the Indian River County Commission who, more than anyone else, stopped further deposition of human sewage sludge (euphemistically called biosolids) being deposited in Indian River County.  He also successfully made a motion to stop a dredge-and-fill project the Oslo Road boat ramp that passed 4 to 1.

Special Recognition: to David Simpson, Meri Beck, Carolyn Cimino, Becky Loftus, Felicity Rask, John Ericson, Jim Shea, Douglas Sutherland, George Thomas for helping with the Intensive Birding Class, and to Alexis Peralta for teaching about Stormwater to our Audubon Advocates for the last two years and leading field trips to Egret Marsh, Indian River County’s stormwater facility.

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