by Jim Gast

For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve been birding and a member of Columbia Audubon since the early 1990s. I worked at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park for 24 years in a variety of positions, including park superintendent, and retired in 2016.

I had an English Literature professor who divided his class into “need to know” and “nice to know” items. The “need to know” items would be on the exams. One of my duties as the new president is to keep you informed of the activities of the Columbia Audubon Society. This would be the “need to know” (Don’t worry, there won’t be a test). I’d also like to provide you with some “nice to know” tidbits.

Please welcome Brooke Widmar as our new Conservation Committee Chair. Brooke moved to Columbia earlier this year for her work with the Missouri Prairie Foundation. We still need a Membership Chair, so if you are interested, contact me at The duties include sending out renewal notices for membership dues, maintaining the membership roster, attending monthly board meetings and recruiting new members.

There’s still time to donate to the Motus tower in memory of Brad Jacobs. Go to and complete the form. Be sure to put “Brad” or “Motus” in the “donation info” field. I would also like to suggest that you join Columbia Audubon as a local member. You can do that by filling out the information at

Bill Mees, Edge Wade, and Eric Seaman are looking at our bylaws to see what revisions need to be made. Eric Seaman, Greg Leonard and Jean Leonatti comprise this year’s Auditing Committee. A big thanks to these individuals for donating their time.

John Besser, Bill Mees, and David Neely stabilized the shelter house at Widlhaven Nature Area and worked on exotic species removal and sprucing up the trails. Work is underway to convert the old fescue field to prairie on the west section at the Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary. John Besser, Bill Mees, David Neely and I cleared brush at the Albert Children’s Wildlife Area. Read more from Nature Areas Chair, Bill Mees, about all of the activity the society has accomplished during quarantine to keep our nature areas in prime shape not only for birds and other wildlife, but for our visitors.

Ebird is a wonderful tool to help you track your bird sightings. One of the items you can create is a yard list. To do so, log into your account on a computer (not the app) and select “Explore” at the top of the page. Scroll down the page and select “Yard Totals” and then click on the “Add a Yard” button. Give the yard a name and then choose the correct location. Be sure to click “Save Yard.” Go back to “Yard Totals” to see the number of life, year, and current month birds you’ve recorded for your yard.  Pete Monacell, Lottie Bushmann and John Besser will be discussing more about eBird at our September 16th online meeting beginning at 7:00 P.M. I hope to see you there!