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June 2023 Meeting

DATE: THURSDAY, June 8, 2023
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
PLACE: Fellowship Hall, Park View Mennonite Church

PROGRAM:  Birding Rockingham County and Beyond, June 2019-May 2023, with Diane Lepkowski and Greg Moyers

Join birders/ photographers Diane Lepkowski and Greg Moyers as they share photos, adventures, and experiences of June 2019 through May 2023.  The presentation will feature local area birding and include a few adventures outside the Valley.  Diane and Greg will share not just photos but also their birding enthusiasm, along with site-specific highlights to help new birders and/or birders new to the locale enjoy and appreciate the birds that grace our area.

Diane is RBC’s Vice President of Field Trips, Vice President (and President-elect) of The Virginia Society of Ornithology and teaches birding classes for James Madison University’s Lifelong Learning Institute.   She has offered birding presentations to organizations including the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and Massanutten Regional Library.

Greg is an avid birder, a long-time RBC member, and a regular field trip leader.   Greg keeps especially detailed records and was instrumental in editing “Birds of Rockingham County, 2nd Edition.”   His extensive work on the species accounts included mining all historical Goldfinch Gazettes for sighting reports that were unavailable elsewhere. 

May 2023 Meeting

DATE: THURSDAY, May 11, 2023
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
PLACE: Fellowship Hall, Park View Mennonite Church

PROGRAM: “Eagles in Virginia” presented by Jeff Cooper

Jeff Cooper will present information on Bald and Golden Eagle populations in Virginia, including status, identification, ecology, and recent research.

Jeff is a Wildlife Biologist for the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources and coordinates avian research, management, and conservation programs for the Department focusing on eagles and raptors. 

April 2023 Meeting

DATE: THURSDAY, April 13, 2023
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
PLACE: Fellowship Hall, Park View Mennonite Church

PROGRAM: “Birding in Florida” presented by Richard A. Rowe

Professor Rowe will present a program on his birding experiences in Florida. Sites will include Sweetwater Wetlands Preserve near Gainesville, Fort De Soto Park at the mouth of Tampa Bay, and various county and state parks. His program will focus on overwintering birds, occasional rarities, and the species that are beginning to migrate.

Dr Rowe grew up in Indiana and attended college in Wisconsin (Ripon College) and graduate school in Michigan (Michigan State University).  He has been a college professor since 1985 and has been at VMI for 30+ years.  He coordinates the Lexington Area CBC, conducts two Breeding Surveys, and has served on VARCOM and the VSO Board of Directors.  Dick will share his a passion for birds and photography with the club.

March 2023 Meeting

DATE: THURSDAY, March 9, 2023
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
PLACE: Fellowship Hall, Park View Mennonite Church

PROGRAM: “Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary”
Sarah Cooperman, Executive Director of the Sanctuary, will speak to the club about her organization’s work rehabilitating wildlife in Central Virginia. Sarah will talk about songbird patients and protocols for caring for birds. As a special bonus, she may be able to bring along a couple of critters!

February 2023 Meeting

DATE: THURSDAY, February 9, 2023
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
PLACE: Fellowship Hall, Park View Mennonite Church

PROGRAM: “Birding in Brazil” presented by Sarah Swank
Sarah will talk about birds and wildlife in Brazil including problems and solutions relating to deforestation. She will cover areas from the Amazonian North to the vast seasonal wetlands of the South known as the Pantanal.

January 2023 Meeting

DATE: THURSDAY, January 12, 2023
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
PLACE: Fellowship Hall, Park View Mennonite Church

PROGRAM: Bridgewater College professor Robyn Puffenbarger will present “Beautiful South Africa.”

December 2022 Meeting

DATE: WEDNESDAY, December 7, 2022
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
PLACE: Fellowship Hall, Park View Mennonite Church

PROGRAM: “When Archives Take Flight: The Bridgewater College Birding Journal, 1918 and 1947 – 1950” with Stephanie Gardner
While inventorying treasures of the library vault, Bridgewater College Special Collections Librarian Stephanie Gardner rediscovered a historic birding notebook.  This ledger has secrets to share and a few mysteries to explore.  Stephanie will present a story about bringing modern methods of preservation and access to a historic manuscript, and meet the fascinating people (and the birds) who make it a one-of-a-kind primary source.

November 2022 Meeting

DATE: Thursday, November 10, 2022
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
PLACE: Fellowship Hall, Park View Mennonite Church

PROGRAM: “Northern Saw-whet Owls in Western Virginia” with Clair Mellinger
Our November program will welcome back our beloved club member, Clair Mellinger. He will share his experiences documenting the migration and wintering status of Northern Saw-whet Owls in western Virginia.

Clair’s strong interest in birds began on excursions with his older brother in Lancaster County. His graduate training is in plant ecology and he has taught ecology, environmental science, botany and ornithology courses at EMU for over 35 years. Over the years Clair has served as President of the Virginia Society of Ornithology, held various positions in the Rockingham Bird Club, and been involved with many bird surveys. Clair and Charles Ziegenfus banded over 2000 Northern Saw-whet Owls and recaptured many birds banded at other stations in northeastern North America.

October 2022 Meeting

DATE: Thursday, October 13, 2022
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
PLACE: Fellowship Hall, Park View Mennonite Church

PROGRAM: “Hoots and Hives” with Tom Knapp
October’s program will highlight two great topics of interest. Tom Knapp will share fun facts and
photos from his nine years of monitoring Eastern Screech Owl nest boxes in the City of Harrisonburg.
He will also talk about the Honeybee, which he has raised for the past 10 years. The program will
include the basic biology of Honeybees, threats they face, and Honeybee rescues.

Tom Knapp is a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison in Natural Sciences and received his
graduate degree from University of Minnesota-St. Paul in Reproductive Endocrinology and Avian
Physiology. An avid birder, he has been monitoring nesting Eastern Screech Owls for many years with
a recording wireless infrared camera. He started keeping bees 10 years ago and focuses on Honeybee
rescues and education.

September 2022 Meeting

DATE: Thursday, September 8, 2022
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
PLACE: Fellowship Hall, Park View Mennonite Church

PROGRAM: “Northern Bobwhite Recovery Initiative” with Tiffany Beachy

The Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) is often referred to as an “edge” species, seeking habitat where crop fields intersect with woodlands, pastures, and old fields. Historically, land use favored Bobwhite, but changes in land use and how lands are managed have caused the bird’s numbers to dip by more than 80 percent over the last 60 years. Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) offers technical and financial assistance to help landowners manage for early successional habitat. This assistance helps producers plan and implement a variety of conservation activities, or practices, that benefit the Bobwhite and many other game and non-game species.

Tiffany Beachy is a Private Lands Wildlife Biologist based in Verona. She writes early successional habitat management plans and provides technical assistance for private landowners interested in managing their lands for wildlife. Before her current position, Tiffany worked for an environmental learning center inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park and as the Golden-Winged Warbler Partner Biologist in West Virginia.

May 2022 Meeting

DATE: Thursday, May 5, 2022
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
PLACE: Rockingham County Fairgrounds in the Horticulture Building

PROGRAM: “Bluebirds in Virginia” by Valerie Kenyon Gaffney

Our speaker will be Valerie Kenyon Gaffney, President of the Virginia Bluebird Society. She will give us an overview of bluebirds in Virginia and what the VBS does. She will also touch on the actual bluebird nest box monitoring that provides data on each breeding season. Our Club established and monitors a trail of 10 nest boxes on the Fairgrounds.

April 2022 Meeting

DATE: Thursday, Apr. 7, 2022
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
PLACE: Virtual via Zoom

PROGRAM: “The Kirtland’s Warbler: From the brink of extinction to a new model for endangered species conservation” by William Rapai.

The Kirtland’s Warbler is an iconic species in Michigan, nesting primarily in the jack pine forests of the northern Lower Peninsula. As recently as 1987 there were fewer 400 birds in the entire population. Today, there are more than 4,000 birds, and the population continues to grow to a point where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined its population is now at a level to be considered “recovered.” In October 2019, the Kirtland’s Warbler was removed from the Endangered Species List.

That’s a reason to celebrate, but it doesn’t mean we can wash our hands and walk away because conservation of the Kirtland’s Warbler has special challenges. Unlike every other animal that has been removed from the Endangered Species List, the Kirtland’s Warbler will require continued human intervention to ensure its survival.

William Rapai is author of “The Kirtland’s Warbler: The story of a bird’s fight for survival and the people who saved it.” He is the executive director of the Kirtland’s Warbler Alliance, a nonprofit created to support Kirtland’s Warbler conservation.

March 2022 Meeting

DATE: Thursday, Mar. 3, 2022
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
PLACE: Virtual via Zoom

PROGRAM: “Colonial Nesting Waterbirds in the Hampton Roads: Reflections on birds, bridges, politics, journalism and environmental activism” by Dr. Sarah Karpanty

Dr. Karpanty is a Professor of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech. She will speak to us about the history of colonial waterbirds nesting on the South Island of the Hampton Roads Bridge tunnel, their temporary re-homing to Fort Wool/Rip-Rap Island and barges, and what the future may hold. She will also emphasize the important role that bird conservation groups played in the successful interim resolution and hopefully will play in the successful long-term resolution. She has studied shorebirds on the Eastern Shore barrier islands since 2005 and can answer your questions about those topics as well.

Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Seabird Conservation

February 2022 Meeting

DATE: Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
PLACE: Virtual via Zoom

PROGRAM: “Native Plant Conservation is for the Birds” by Matt Bright, Conservation Manager at Earth Sangha

Earth Sangha works to conserve native plant communities and rare plant species both in the Northern Virginia region and in the rural Dominican Republic. Matt will talk about the many ecological connections between our native birds and native plants. Increasingly, we understand how human disturbance and climate change is upsetting those relationships in ways that are detrimental to both flora and fauna. Matt will wrap up with some practical advice about how to better manage human landscapes in ways that maximize ecological benefits for birds. Matt Bright is the conservation manager at Earth Sangha where he has worked since 2011. He helps operate the Wild Plant Nursery, the DC region’s largest collection of exclusively local-ecotype native plants for restoration purposes. Matt and the team at Earth Sangha work closely with ecologists and park managers to conserve and restore native plants across the Northern Virginia region.

December 2021 Meeting

DATE: Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
PLACE: Virtual via Zoom

PROGRAM: Chile for Thanksgiving with Robyn Puffenbarger

In 2018, Robyn Puffenbarger traveled with her husband Bill Benish and dear friend Lucie Fritz to Chile for Thanksgiving. In this first trip to South America and besides sightseeing, Robyn and Bill planned three day trips with Birdwatching Chile and Rodrigo Reyes. More guides will do day trips, so international travel, even for work or with non-birders, can incorporate a chance to enjoy the natural world and bird watching. This travelogue will take us from sea level to high elevations, from sunny beaches with penguins to the cool Andes with a condor! Robyn has a B.S. in biology from Virginia Tech, and a Ph.D. at the Medical College of Virginia. She is a professor in the Department of Biology and Environmental Science and teaches ornithology some spring semesters as an elective. She enjoys gardening and volunteering as a Virginia Cooperative Extension certified master gardener.

November 2021 Meeting

DATE: Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
PLACE: Virtual via Zoom

PROGRAM: Twenty Years of Species Recovery – What to do with what we’ve learned with Dr. Chris Parish

The near extinction of North America’s largest flying land-bird and attempts to recover the California Condor is known to many. The trials and tribulations of endangered species management offer landscape-scale insights in an ever-changing arena of conservation. Should we succeed in recovering this species, it will stand as a testament of our abilities to observe, study, and respond accordingly to better manage preventable impacts to ecosystems and its species. Lead poisoning remains the single greatest threat to recovery and implications for other less studied species is equally important. Science alone does not make conservation. How we proceed has as much to do with success as the foundations of science we depend upon to detangle these complex issues. Dr. Chris Parish is the President/CEO of The Peregrine Fund. He did his undergraduate and doctoral work at Northern Arizona University. His interest in wildlife started growing up in the San Joaquin Valley of California with hunting and fishing, then he went on to an athletic scholarship, obtaining a B.S. in Biology with emphasis on Fish and Wildlife Management. Chris and his wife Ellen, have two beautiful daughters, Emma and Anna who are now grown and entering their own careers, taking with them the love and passion of the outdoors and conservation. His work includes Director of Global Conservation for The Peregrine Fund with a primary focus on recovery programs for Aplomado Falcons, California Condors, and the establishment of the North American Non-Lead Partnership.

October 2021 Meeting

DATE: Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
PLACE: Virtual via Zoom

PROGRAM: Setting the Record: The Virginia Big Year with Wes Teets

How many birds can one person see in Virginia in one calendar year? In 2020, Wes Teets set a new record. Learn about the journey from Wes with his strategies, experiences, and challenges. Wes has lived in Virginia all his life with 15 years in Northern Virginia, 12 in the Roanoke Valley, and 6 in the Richmond area. He received his bachelor’s from Longwood University, and his Master’s from VCU, where he currently works. He has been birding seriously for over 13 years and is currently the field trips chair for the Richmond Audubon Society.

September 2021 Meeting

DATE: Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021
TIME: 7:00 p.m.

PLACE: Virtual via Zoom

PROGRAM: Raptor Migration at Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch with Vic Laubach

How do you define “raptor” and what is “migration?” Vic will take us up in the air and across the continent to learn more about these incredible species. Then he will take us into the history and data for a hawk watch with some specifics about Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch, our local spot for raptor migration at Afton just off I-64/Rt 250. We will learn more about each of our raptor species for identification, migration, and population status.
Vic is originally from central Pennsylvania with a B.Sci. in biology (Penn State University) and a Ph.D. in genetics (George Washington University). He is a life-long birder, a hawk-watcher for over 20 years, and is the Coordinator at Rockfish Gap Hawk Watch since 2016. Vic started with the University of Virginia in 1996 and he currently is a tenured professor conducting research on acute lung injury and lung transplantation. He has lived in Waynesboro since 2002 and loves birding in the Valley all year long!

May 2021 Meeting

DATE: Thursday, May 6, 2021
TIME: 7:00 p.m.

PLACE: Virtual via Zoom

PROGRAM: Election of officers for next year.

April 2021 Meeting

DATE: Thursday, April 1, 2021
TIME: 7:00 p.m.

PLACE: Virtual via Zoom

PROGRAM: In Search of the Great Gray Owl presented by Kyle Dudgeon
Of all the birds and wildlife that call the forests and mountains of Montana home, one species in particular leaves an impression – the Great Gray Owl. Join us as Kyle takes us through his experiences with dozens of Great Gray Owls over two years in Montana, as well as the story of protecting a nest from logging interests. Kyle Dudgeon is a 23-year-old nature photographer and writer based in Bozeman, Montana. He spent several weeks studying, photographing, and advocating for a family of owls in the Bridger Mountains.
A New York native, photography has led Kyle’s journeys across North America, capturing wild moments in incredible places. With his photographs and writing, Kyle strives to share the power and emotion that the natural world possesses, to encourage conservation of species and environments at risk. In 2019, Kyle Dudgeon Creative was founded on an idea to translate a passion for wild things and wild places into visual storytelling. A project involving Great Gray Owls in Montana was Kyle’s first foray into what he hopes will be a long career in conservation.

March 2021 Meeting

DATE: Thursday, March 4, 2021
TIME: 7:00 p.m.

PLACE: Virtual via Zoom

PROGRAM: Web-footed Waterbirds presented by Bob Schamerhorn
As our seasons pass, the winter brings an amazing assortment of water birds into our lakes, rivers and wetlands. This program shows that diversity in all their splendor. Includes all of our wintering Ducks, Mergansers, Geese, Swans, as well as our resident waterfowl and more. Enjoy the beauty of this diverse group of birds and see what makes each species unique. Bob is a Virginia native, who has had a passion for both the outdoors and art since childhood. In his youth, participation with several nature and birding organizations nurtured his enthusiasm. After high school, he studied Art and Design at Virginia Tech and has worked in art related fields ever since. Photography is an extension of the skills he uses in his vocation as a graphic artist. Advances in digital technology enticed his reconnection with nature photography. Since then, he has been blessed with many opportunities to capture and share nature’s beauty and to improve his photography skills technically. National Award Winning Photography by Bob Schamerhorn