president’s Message

Presidents Message August 2018

With this president’s message, we begin a new season of Audubon in the Northern Neck of Virginia.  I’ve been ‘in charge’ for a year now, and it seems I did OK, as I was voted to continue. I must admit, there was no opposition. As I said when I first took this duty on, I’ve never led an organization of any substance before. I have learned quite a lot this past year, from how to write an agenda to some of the snazzy details of holding land easements. Some of it has been fun and interesting, some of it has been challenging in both positive and negative ways.

Photo by Melissa Gross

Photo by Melissa Gross

This new season brings some major changes to the NNAS board: not only do we have our ‘class of ‘21” consisting of Porter Washington, Joe Cooney and Betsy Washington, we have a new Vice President – Kevin Howe, a new Treasurer – Sandy Dodge, and a new Secretary – Alice Stieve. I’m excited to have some brand spanking new people who have a lot of energy and ideas.

Kevin Howe, who is also the president of the Northern Neck Native Plant Society, has been motivated enough to step in as our Vice President. He will chair the Property Management committee to assist with inspections of properties we own and hold in easement, and is going to beef up the bluebird nesting box building program.

Sandy Dodge moves from Vice President to Treasurer. In addition, he and his wife Edie manage the membership piece of the NNAS, and Sandy keeps me straight when I lose my train of thought at our board meetings. So, basically, he’s a very busy guy, and good at what he does.

Alice Stieve joins us as our Secretary, replacing Paula Boundy, who is retiring from a long term of loyal service as secretary. Alice brings energy, enthusiasm, attention to detail, and ideas! She’s a great “outside-the-box” thinker, and has already come up with some significant suggestions.

Those are just the changes on the Executive Board. Our newest board members will be additional assets. Porter Washington, a retired teacher has a passion for teaching and is the perfect person to lead our Outreach Committee. She has already begun the process of beginning an “Audubon at Home” program tailored for the Northern Neck, and has spearheaded outreach that will encourage younger children to love and appreciate birds.

Joe Cooney joins us from the west coast, and is an avid birder and photographer. Joe will be replacing Jeff Wright as the chair of the Conservation and Citizen Science Committee, and just might lead a bird walk or 3. He’s also knowledgeable about how meetings should be run, so he is going to join Sandy in keeping me in line when I forget Roberts Rules of Order. He doesn’t know this yet……

Betsy Washington is also involved in the Northern Neck Native Plant Society, and will be joining Porter administering the “Audubon at Home” program and other outreach activities. She brings energy and enthusiasm also. I know that sounds redundant, but it’s true.

Photo by Melissa Gross

Photo by Melissa Gross

Now, to get to work! We have our first bird walk on Monday at Christchurch. Our true season kickoff is our picnic on Monday, Sept. 10 at Belle Isle State Park. Anyone can join us. Following the 5 pm feasting we will embark on an evening birdwalk. We are working on a boat trip to Smith Island, possibly Tangier Island, and an excursion to the Rockfish Gap Hawkwatch. Member or not, please join us! Check out our website, take our survey (the opening splash page) if you haven’t before, and remember….it’s about the birds.

Melissa Gross - President