By Jennifer Lazewski
Wisconsin Society for Ornithology
Happy New Year! I am looking forward to sharing 2022 with you in my first full year as WSO’s executive director. While my first few months have been spent mostly working with WSO leaders and getting to better know others in the Wisconsin birding community, I am ready for outreach and action now. We will be discovering your interests and connecting you with other birders for education, planning and volunteering.
During the next year, we want to help our members and others become educated and engaged conservationists. As much as we enjoy learning about birds (which will certainly continue), we also need to understand and help protect their habitats. This can be as close as your backyard or in natural areas farther away. It requires studies by those conducting scientific research but also removing invasives so that native plants can flourish. Replacing fashionable landscaping and sterile lawns with layers of native trees, shrubs and plants to shelter and feed birds. I have spent years practicing and teaching these things and it can be a revelation!
Bird conservation connects to larger conservation efforts and collaborative work. Think about where you enjoy birds and how you can help improve and conserve those areas with others. For example, the widespread popularity of pollinator gardening benefits birds also. Blooms for pollinators mean berries and seeds for birds. More native plants and less lawn means more shelter and nesting areas for birds. No longer using pesticides provides caterpillars for baby birds and brings in insect-eating birds who snub your birdfeeders. Bird conservation efforts multiply when we join forces with naturalists, gardeners, land trusts and others working to protect our lands and waters.
We want the focus to be on Wisconsin—the entire state and its habitats. This will take all of you and recruiting others to WSO and birding. Our regional coordinators will contribute to these efforts and guide local activities. Nature and birds help us feel better and make life more interesting. We can help others understand this also.
Birds are special. We know this. Our mission is promoting the enjoyment, study and conservation of Wisconsin’s birds. Be ready to use your skills and talents to volunteer and fund our efforts. If you want to enjoy birds, we will continue to provide you with interesting information about birds. If you want to do more, however, we will also be looking for volunteers to engage in outreach and conservation.
I can’t wait to meet you! There will be lots of opportunities. Join a virtual meeting or join a field trip. Answer a call to volunteer, join a committee or notify us about a local conservation issue. Seek a position on our Board of Directors or send some thoughts and ideas by email. Let’s make 2022 a year to remember for Wisconsin birds and birders!
You can contact Jennifer at: firstname.lastname@example.org