November 4, 2008

Grassland Birds the Focus of Central Region Meeting

On Saturday, November 1, Michigan Audubon Chapter leaders, members, and Michigan Audubon staff gathered at the Dahlem Center in Jackson. The agenda for the meeting included two talks on grassland birds and an update on the organizational structure and happenings at Michigan Audubon.

Michigan DNR's Dan Kennedy presented an over view of Michigan’s grasslands, savannas and fens. Dan highlighted the dramatic change of Michigan's landscape, most notably the loss of native grasslands. He described what caused the changes and how Michigan Audubon and its chapters can assist with managing, restoring, or recovering grasslands.

Bobolink - Photo by: Corey Gildersleeve

Dea Armstrong made a presentation on two sites in the City of Ann Arbor where grassland management has been successful: the airport and a capped landfill. She spoke of the effect that mowing late in the season had on the success of nesting Bobolinks and other birds. The group learned the importance of convincing landowners and other stakeholders to mow fields after mid-July. Late mowing results in increased success of nesting grassland birds. Dea made available Management guidelines for grassland birds. To receive a copy, contact Mike or Nancy Boyce.

Lastly, Jonathan Lutz spoke about the changes taking place in Michigan Audubon. The major change has been moving from a volunteer managed organization to a staff operation with board governance. He spoke of how chapters, regions and the state office can assist each other in achieving a common goal: greater awareness and protection for Michigan's birds. In addition, Michigan Audubon will be publishing an updated list of membership benefits, as well as offering local Chapters financial assistance by offering dual memberships to new Michigan Audubon members. You can view these changes in the January/February 2009 issue of the Jack Pine Warbler.