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ASO News

Eastern Kingbird by Mike Benkis

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Mark your calendar for 6 p.m., Thursday, October 13, to take advantage of a golden opportunity to celebrate Audubon Society of Omaha’s 50th anniversary at Lauritzen Gardens with Neal Ratzlaff, past ASO president and director, and Bird Seed Sale co-founder. Neal will focus on “The Birds of Lewis and Clark,” recounting the explorers’ ornithological achievements and touching on the convoluted, almost tortuous, nearly 100-year trek the expedition’s journals took to publication.

Enjoy tours of the Gardens, starting at 6, and peruse ASO scrapbooks from 50 years of birding, but be in your seat by 7 for Neal’s enlightening look at the Lewis and Clark expedition’s impact on ornithology.

As we prepare for the 50th anniversary celebration of Audubon Society of Omaha, I would like to thank two specific groups of volunteers that have given so much to the organization over the years.

Over the years, birding has inspired Neal to migrate from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Maine to Louisiana. He has flown to New Zealand, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago (whose Main Ridge Forest Preserve shelters hummingbirds). Closer to home, Neal has swooped across North Dakota, the Sandhills, Pine Ridge and Indian Cave State Park – not to mention Nebraska’s sewage treatment plants, where “waterfowl” takes on a whole new meaning. “It’s been a great ride,” he says.

OVER THE PAST 50 years, countless volunteer hours from members who are passionate about our mission, have allowed our nonprofit organization to thrive. As we look back at our history and accomplishments, we can find inspiration to achieve our vision: We strive to appreciate, learn, and conserve our region’s unique biodiversity. In doing so, we will help our community appreciate nature and understand its importance. Ultimately, we aim to inspire others to join us in actively protecting our native ecosystems and restoring nature-friendly environments in the greater Omaha area.

Great numbers and varieties of our favorite migrating birds return from their winter retreat. Be prepared to be patient and persistent, and embrace a sense of adventure to find these treasured migrants.

To ensure your tiny feathered tourists (and, of course, honorable residents) are convening at disease-free feeding zones, you’ll need to make cleaning your feeders a routine occurrence.

Just how dry is it? At the end of February, 98 percent of Nebraska was officially in drought, up from 33 percent at the beginning of this winter. These U.S. Drought Monitor figures, published in a recent Omaha World-Herald article, underscore the seriousness of the situation.

Audubon Society of Omaha’s Winter Bird Seed Sale is providing more than 10 tons of seed (that’s 600 bags across 153 orders totaling 21,300 pounds) to area birds. Revenue from this major fundraiser supports ASO’s local conservation and education programs.

2021-2022 has been a year of learning, changing and growing for Audubon Society of Omaha. While we are still holding board meetings and monthly programming via Zoom, we’ve seen a return of our in-person group field trips, the collective for youth after-school programs, and increased interest in our bird seed sales and Student Art Contest and online show.

Each year Audubon Society of Omaha elects or re-elects officers and directors. Here are the results for the term that starts July 1, 2022:

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