Oklahoma Audubon Council meeting, 16 July 2011

Notes taken by Donald Winslow for the Deep Fork Audubon Society

On 16 July 2011 the Audubon Council met at St. Gregory's University in Shawnee. In attendance were Donald Winslow (Deep Fork Audubon Society), John Fisher (Tulsa Audubon Society), Jim Demming (Indian Nations Audubon Society), Jay Pruitt (Tulsa Audubon Society), Br. Damian Whalen (Deep Fork Audubon Society), Martin Brown (Tulsa Audubon Society), Mary Jackson (Tulsa Audubon Society), Les Imboden (Payne County Audubon Society), and John Kennington (Tulsa Audubon Society). Representatives described each chapter's activities over the last six months. Jane Cunningham emailed in a report from the Audubon Society of Central Oklahoma.

Donald reported on Deep Fork. Our chapter has not held any meetings or outings since the last Council meeting. I have had some correspondence with the National Audubon Society since then. National sent our chapter a check for $200.75, baseline payments based on our membership. Unfortunately, we do not have a bank account, so the check remains in my Audubon file. Chapter Services at National also asked me who our Treasurer is, but we have no treasurer.

Brother Damian described the bluebird nest boxes that the monks of St. Gregory's Abbey have built and placed behind the Monastery. Several individuals present expressed that a good project for Deep Fork would be to help the monks with the bluebird boxes. Br. Damian mentioned that there are other areas on campus where avian conservation efforts could be directed.

John Kennington updated us on this last April's Lesser Prairie-Chicken Festival. It was a successful event, but we have yet to fully recover expenses. We discussed possibilities to fund future chicken festivals. We will solicit substantial contributions from the energy sector.

Audubon Council Treasurer Mary Jackson updated us on the balance sheet from the chicken festival and our remaining Collaborative Funds. Martin Brown updated us on the Important Bird Areas (IBA) program in Oklahoma. We no longer have funds for a staff member to coordinate the program. We have need for an individual with organizational skills to coordinate statewide efforts and a need for volunteers in various regions of the state to do fieldwork and interact with landowners.

We decided to allocate remaining Collaborative Funds toward the IBA program, with the caveat that money may be shifted toward the chicken festival if it becomes necessary. This means that there is no longer money earmarked from the Council for Deep Fork Audubon start-up funds.

The next meeting of the Audubon Council will be on 21 January 2012 at the Oxley Nature Center on the north side of Tulsa. John Kennington will organize a birding trip before the meeting.

After the meeting Br. Damian took several of us to see one of the bluebird boxes behind the Monastery. An adult bluebird flushed from the box on our approach. The box is fashioned from a section of cedar log and a piece from a mop bucket (to prevent House Sparrows from widening the hole), with a hubcap for a predator guard. We discussed other areas on campus where bluebird boxes could be installed. Brother Damian also mentioned that we could erect a Purple Martin house by the pond behind the monks' shop.