-by Eric Reuter
CAS celebrated its 60th birthday through a series of fun events during the last weekend of April, made possible by the hard work of committee chair Jan Mees and members Nancy Bedan, Lottie Bushmann, Lori Hagglund, Judy Lincoln, Doug Miller, Lori Turner, and Allison Vaughn.
Many CAS members convened at the Boone County Historical Society for an evening reception celebrating the group’s 60 years of advocacy and education. Among the flock were multiple generations of past and present board members and other folks who have been integral to CAS’s longevity and success, receiving a well-deserved ovation. Current president John Besser displayed a slide show of images from CAS’s history, and co-presented (with past president Kris Hagglund) congratulatory proclamations from the State of Missouri and the City of Columbia.
Committee chair Jan Mees gave a short summary of CAS’s activities over the years, highlighted by:
Many attendees gathered around a Barred Owl and Peregrine Falcon, enjoying the rare chance to see these beautiful birds up close. Overall, the evening was an enjoyable, laid-back chance to reflect on CAS’s mission and catch up with friends old and new while tasting good food and Missouri wine; it was a lovely way to celebrate CAS’s past, present, and future.
The next day featured three programs led by special guest Brian “Fox” Ellis, who personifies John James Audubon “to bring history, ecology, art and literature to life”.
“Bird Walk With Audubon”
First, he led ~20 people on a walk through the Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary on a comfortable and birdy morning. He emphasized the value of going beyond identification and listing to really study and appreciate the context of birds, noting that Audubon paintings are known for surrounding birds with elements of their natural habitat rather than presenting them in isolation. He recommended the 1975 book “Reading the Landscape of America” by May Theilgaard Watts, which the Daniel Boone Regional Library does not have but which is easily found through online shopping. Of the 32 species observed on this walk, such highlights included American Robins building nests using newly collected dry grass, Blue Jays occupying a nest, Cowbird courtship, and Red-Bellied Woodpecker territorial drumming near a nest site (possibly in response to an encroaching Downy Woodpecker).
“Audubon’s Birds” & “Birds’ Tales”
-by Dave Bedan
16 Audubon members attended a wonderful presentation at Fairview School, where Monsieur Audubon recounted his life story and how he came to the United States and launched his magnificent project of painting all the birds of America. He then used about a dozen full-sized prints of his paintings to discuss how he painted them to show not only the anatomy but also the lifestyle of the birds. After he concluded, CAS member Edge Wade presented him with several prints of paintings of Missouri birds by David Plank, sometimes called the modern day “Audubon of Missouri”.
Next, at the Columbia Public Library, approximately 10 family units were engaged by Monsieur Audubon as he related Native American folktales explaining various aspects of nature, such as the size of eagle’s wings. His engaging presentations had the children (and adults!) responding to verbal prompts to encourage audience participation.