Audubon annual meeting in Blowing Rock
The weekend of May 20-22 will be a busy time for members of the High Country Audubon Society, as the local chapter hosts the annual meeting of Audubon North Carolina at the Blowing Rock Conference Center.
There is also an opportunity to register for the event a day early to spend time exploring the area before the event officially begins on Friday.
Members of all of North Carolina's 10 Audubon chapters and friends have been invited to participate in the activities, which begin bright and early Friday morning with birding field trips that include Elk Knob State Park and Valle Crucis Park, followed by a Friday afternoon presentation by Nina Fischesser, director of the Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute (BRWI).
The BRWI cares for large numbers of injured and orphaned wild animals in this area every year. Fischesser will be bringing some of her non-releasable birds that serve as ambassadors and educators for her programs all over the state.
Cecil Gurganus and the Laurel Creek String Band will be performing at the evening reception and, after dinner, there will be an owl prowl.
Saturday begins with more birding field trips to Grandfather Mountain, Meat Camp Environmental Studies Area and Shady Valley in Tennessee to name a few. The afternoon symposium, "Protecting Birds by Protecting Habitat," will focus on land conservation and how it works.
Keynote speaker Mike Leonard of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Price PLLC, has helped preserve nearly 300,000 acres throughout the southeast, either by helping with the purchase of land or through conservation easements.
Merrill Lynch, the conservation practitioner for the Northern Mountains office of The Nature Conservancy and Walter Clark, executive director of the Blue Ridge Conservancy and co-founder of the UNC's Coastal Resources Law, Planning and Policy Center, will also speak.
Audubon North Carolina (ANC) will host a reception and awards banquet Saturday evening at which ANC staff will be presenting special awards, including Volunteer of the Year. Sunday will feature more morning field trips or birding on one's own and ANC's board meeting with new executive director Heather Starck.
There will be a silent auction featuring many items of interest, which range from a Hugh Morton print to day trip packages to gift baskets and bird feeders that were donated by local businesses. Local organizations related to land conservation will be setting up displays at the event. The High Country Water Media Society will be displaying art relating to birds, and some will be available for purchase.
Blowing Rock has declared May 2011 Birding Month in Blowing Rock, and High Country Audubon (HCAS) is pleased to have been a part of that process, as May is the month many bird migrants return to the area to breed.
HCAS includes the five counties of Watauga, Wilkes, Avery, Ashe and Alleghany with eight Important Bird Areas , 250 different bird species, and 20 sites listed on North Carolina Birding Trail.
HCAS invites anyone interested in birds and the environment to attend the organiation's monthly meetings, which are usually held in the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Conference rooms on the third Tuesday evening of every month.
For more information on the High Country Audubon Society or the annual meeting of Audubon North Carolina, visit highcountryaudubon.org.