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Audubon Center of the North Woods

Fall/Winter 2013 Volume 39, Issue 2

A proud leader in environmental education and renewable energy In This Issue An Optimist’s View


Thinking it Through


History of Bird Conservation


Meet Our New Interns


Wish Lists


Meet Our New Staff


Volunteer Spotlight


Spotlight on Schools


Give to the Max


Land Management at the Center 7 Calendar of Events


Upcoming Programs


Alumni News


Volunteer Opportunities


Thank You


Upcoming Events See our website for details Dinner at the Lake October 12, 2013 H-Owl-oween at the Center October 30, 2013 Beaver Moon Sunday Brunches Nov. 10, 17 & 24, 2013 Winter Family Escape Dec. 27-30, 2013 New Year’s Eve at the Lake December 31, 2013 Dinner at the Lake January 18, 2014 Dinner at the Lake February 15, 2014 Maple Syrup Day March 29, 2014 Food & Farms Weekend April 4-6, 2014 Women’s Wellness & Adventure Weekend, May 2-4, 2014

An Optimist’s View

Thinking it Through

by Bryan Wood, Co-Director

by Melonie Shipman, Co-Director

I am aware as anyone else of the monumental environmental problems that we face today. The unprecedented pressures we are exerting on our planet are wide-ranging and complex. It can be easy to depress yourself as you read, hear and watch stories of what is happening to our natural systems. And yet, I am never at a loss for finding inspiration in others who care about the environment and who work to protect, preserve and restore it. Everywhere I look, I see individuals in communities, schools, businesses and governments that are making positive strides and impacts for the environment. There are many things in life that are challenging, but finding others who are committed to making the world a better place is not one of them.

In July, we had the great joy of returning to my home in Homer, Alaska. In the moments when the beauty and the uniqueness leave you awed, you see little elements that reflect that Alaska sometimes has thought through the relationship to the future of the natural environment (and some times, not, another topic for another day).

With great joy, my wife Kat and I, along with our two-year old daughter Maya, recently welcomed our son Henry Camden Wood into the world. And while I do not know what the world will look like when Henry is my age, I am nonetheless grateful for the efforts off others before me who have made possible the enjoyment of natural places that our family will experience together in the coming years. While one can focus on the fact that we have lost large tracts of land across our country to private interests and natural resource exploitation, I instead think it is truly amazing the foresight that committed individuals at every level in our society had to set aside places we can all enjoy and collectively call our own. There are so many opportunities for us to enjoy nature; at our city, county, state and national parks, forests and wildlife areas/refuges, and bureau off land management areas. Added all up, these — continued on page 4 —

Along the Russian and Kenai Rivers, sometimes seen in photos as “combat fishing” for salmon, there are fishing line recycling bboxes at every access point. While working for Anoka County Parks here in Minnesota I tried to have the same thing established. The Parks were amenable to the idea. The challenge was that the recycling containers would have to be bbuilt by someone, someone would need to be in charge of collecting the line from the boxes, and the line would need to be sent off for recycling (seems like this would make a great scout project!). While in Alaska, the importance of this simple act was brought home as I read about two recently rehabilitated bald eagles in Minnesota who were found dead a few weeks later – entangled in fishing line. Even the bits of line snipped off when retying can ultimately be a hazard to wild life. Birds collect these and weave nests. Unique looking? Yes. Warm and secure for eggs and chicks? No. Please help by simply thinking to pick up yours or anyone else’s line and discarding it properly...until we can get those fishing line recycling boxes established in Minnesota. Thank you. I am exceedingly proud of our little town of Homer, Alaska (population 5085) in being jjust the second U.S. community to ban plastic grocery bags. In October, practicing a walking circle talk to discuss troublesome issues, I — continued on page 8 —

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News from the North Woods

History of Bird Conservation by Autumn Henry, former Wildlife Intern

John James Audubon is famous for painting life-like pictures of beautiful birds exhibiting natural behaviors in their habitats. The pictures are so incredible that it is hard to believe that he used dead birds as a guide. In fact, ornithology was ruled by the thought that birds could not be studied unless they were shot and observed while dead. Ornithologists possessed large collections of deceased birds of different species, and within just one species they could have up to 100+ specimens of different ages, sexes, and color morphs. At the same time, the hobby of bird-watching was on the rise, and “Audubonians” as they were called, ironically enough, protested that scientists could learn even more about birds when they were alive if they watched them, including life history. The idea that birds were more important alive than dead grew ever popular as the Migratory Bird Treaty Act sprouted in the ashes of the “Plume Bloom”, where ladies wore feathers, parts and even whole taxidermied birds on their hats. Some birds began to achieve protected status. Even with their new found protection, it was thought that the value of birds had to be justified to people. Birds were given economic values in order to project their usefulness in the eyes of the human

Friend a Wild Critter Help support the care of any of our resident education birds and animals through our “Friend a Wild Critter” program. Your donation goes towards housing, medical care, food and enrichment items, to help encourage natural behavior in our non-releasable birds and mammals. As part of the adoption process, you will receive a 4x6 magnet photo of the animal, an “Adoption Certificate”, a personal and natural history of “your” animal, recognition in our newsletter, and a tour of the ACNW wildlife facility. For more information, please contact Jeff Tyson, our Wildlife Coordinator or visit our website.

population. For instance, sparrows were declared important because they ate weed seed. Ornithologist George Miksch Sutton wrote that only a few birds were truly undesirable from an economic standpoint. Accipiters, a sub-family of hawks including the Northern Goshawk, the SharpShinned Hawk, and the Cooper’s Hawk, were one such group of “undesirables”, as their diet consisted of other birds. They ate the “good citizens” of the bird world, and thus were demonized for their natural history. With their bright red eyes at adult onset, they looked the part. This led to a widespread acceptance of shooting raptors as a sport. In fact, during the Great Depression there were $5 bounties on the heads of Northern Goshawks, a wealth of gold at the time.

Photo compliments of Hawk Mountain Archives

Hawk Mountain, a point along the Appalachian flyway in Pennsylvania where birds migrate by the thousands during autumn migration, used to be a place where gunners could shoot such raptors from a good vantage point. In 1931, an amateur ornithologist by the name of Richard Pough visited and witnessed gunners shooting hundreds of birds of prey down from the skies as they migrated. He gathered the bodies of the downed birds together and photographed them in morbid rows. His photograph was seen by the conservation activist Rosalie Edge, who was determined to do something about the slaughter. In 1934, Edge arrived at Hawk Mountain and immediately leased 1,400 acres, beating a local gun club to the punch. She hired a warden to patrol the area, and the shooting stopped. The next year, Edge opened the land to the public so

Fall/Winter 2013

Owl Pellets Now Available Sterilized owl pellets produced by ACNW education owls now for sale. Pellets should contain one mouse skeleton and either rat, chicken, or quail bones as well. Kits include a bone identification diagram. Proceeds go towards care towards the education owls. Order forms is available at

that they could see birds of prey in the wild. She eventually purchased the land and then gave it to the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, a non-profit dedicated to raptor education since 1938. Even Hawk Ridge, another area well known to Minnesotans situated in Duluth, was once an area where people used migrating raptors for target practice. Raptors have been persecuted for a long time, and only received legal protection in the 1970s. Most people now see raptors as an important part of the ecosystem. While raptors do have an economic value to people, it is irrelevant to protecting them. They have their own intrinsic value for existing, and are a beautiful, precious part of our ecosystem that humans need to protect.

Learn more about Rosalie Edge and her efforts to stop the slaughter of raptors in the 2010 book “Rosalie Edge: Hawk of Mercy” by Dyana Furmansky.


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News from the North Woods

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Meet Our 2013-2014 Advanced Naturalist Interns Megan Cook:

Wildlife Apprentice and Advanced Naturalist

I am from Carroll, Iowa. I graduated from Simpson College; a private 4-year college near Des Moines, Iowa in May of 2011 with a degree in environmental science. I really enjoy going to concerts, hanging out with friends, and spending time with my family. Prior to ACNW I worked two summer seasons at Swan Lake State Park, in Iowa, as an associate naturalist. I also worked for a non-profit bird of prey rehabilitation and education organization called Saving Our Avian Resources (SOAR); both of these jobs together furthered my interest in environmental education and the well-being of raptors which lead me to the Advanced Naturalist (Wildlife Focus) Internship here! I was an intern in the 2012/2013 school year and was offered to stay another year as the Wildlife Apprentice; I loved the experience, animals, and staff here so much that I couldn’t say no! I am looking forward to meeting the new advanced naturalists this year, continuing to gain education experience, maintaining work with the birds and learning more about overseeing animal collections. ☺ Oh yeah the lovely bird in this photo is Ms Thora, a lead poison survivor that is a teacher for SOAR.

Haley Appleman:

Advanced Naturalist Intern/ Wildlife Focus

I grew up in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. On a visit to Como Zoo in high school, I looked on enviously as a keeper cleaned the flamingo exhibit. Upon the realization that most people would rather not come in close contact with animal scat, I figured my relative indifference meant I was cut out to be a zookeeper. I went on to study Biology and Environmental Studies at St. Olaf College and have been accumulating animal care experience along the way. Through multiple internships I’ve worked with hoofstock, primates, cranes, and rehabilitated Minnesota wildlife. I love the challenges of working with animals, but hope to learn more about environmental education. It wasn’t until college that I started spending significant time outdoors - bird watching, skiing, hiking - and I would love to share how I discovered nature’s alluring qualities with others. I visited ACNW as a 6th grader and I am looking forward to returning - this time as a naturalist. I’m excited to help bring the north woods experience to many more students!

Hannah Blanke:

Advanced Naturalist Intern / Wildlife Focus

I’m from La Crosse, Wisconsin, which is right on the Mississippi river, surrounded by bluffs. I traveled to Madison, WI where I studied Wildlife Ecology and Folklore at UW-Madison. After my undergraduate education was done, I did a brief summer internship working at a wildlife rehabilitation center before heading to Florida, where I was an environmental educator. The combination of these two internships made me realize I am passionate about teaching environmental material, and working with animals. I’m excited about the internship here because I will be able to teach people about nature and train raptors, since I am something of a bird nerd. I’m glad to be in such a beautiful area in Minnesota, because while in Florida I missed having seasons, especially winter. In my spare time I am a fervent reader and read pretty much whatever I can get my hands on. I enjoy exploring the outdoors in most any way (ex. hiking, canoeing, and bike riding) while bird-watching. Some of my other interests include cooking, crocheting, practicing guitar/viola, having board game nights with friends, and practicing martial arts. Recently I received my scuba certification and am excited to dive wherever I can!

Geri Muller: Advanced Naturalist Intern / Adventure & Maintenance Focus I hail from La Farge, Wisconsin - a small town in the southwestern region called the Driftless (where no glaciers passed through!). I am a recent graduate of Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I obtained a degree in Humanity & Nature Studies and Environmental Education. Between the dramatic ridges and valleys of the Driftless and the wondrous shores of Lake Superior, I have focused much of my energy and passion into place-based education because the places I’ve called home in my life have had transformative effects on my being. This means living, breathing, working, and playing whole-heartedly where I place my feet every day. Biking, paddling, hiking, and camping are some of my favorite outdoor activities; but when I’m not exploring outside, my indoor adventures include chatting, drinking coffee, telling jokes, playing ukulele, and reading. I’m excited to work at the Audubon Center because it will provide me with opportunities to continue my existing passions of sharing nature with people young & old, connecting to new places, and pushing my skills and comforts wonderful!

Ellen Gawarkiewicz: Advanced Naturalist Intern / Curriculum Development Focus I hail from the sandy shores of Falmouth, MA. I’m freshly graduated from Bates College, in Lewiston, Maine where I discovered my passion: inspiring a sense of wonder in children regarding the natural world around them. I’ve worked with children and young adults on the beaches of Madagascar, the salt marshes of Cape Cod, the lakeshores of New Hampshire, and the forests of Maine. This past year, I had the pleasure of connecting Somali immigrants to a nearby nature preserve. I enjoy invigorating my own sense of wonder by going on long wandering walks, following animal paths through the snow, kayaking through marshes, investigating the wrack line of beaches and paddling around ponds, sneaking up on unsuspecting turtles! I thrive on exploring new places and am thrilled to set off to new midwestern horizons!

Martin Tow:

Advanced Naturalist Intern / Business, Marketing and Development Focus

I graduated from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN with a degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in Pre-Professional Business. I chose to work at the ACNW because I knew there were people there who would help me achieve my career goals, and more importantly, loved the environment as much as I do. I think I am unique because I come from a background of business and environmentalism. This internship will help me understand the mind frames held by each area, and consequently help me pair them together. I hope someday I can make a difference in the environment and the business world, and I thank the Aududon Center for believing I can accomplish that.

Kyra Thurow:

Advanced Naturalist Intern / Wildlife Focus

I am from Holly Springs, North Carolina. I have grown up in the outdoors, mostly at camp Agape in Fuquay-Varina, NC, as my parents have worked and played there for most of my life. My passion for all of nature, especially birds, developed when I was around four years old and has continued to grow ever since. I especially enjoy birding, hiking, looking for reptiles and amphibians, and just plain exploring in the woods. I decided to continue my education in the field of Environmental Education and Religion at Catawba College in Salisbury, NC. Through the honors program there, I was able to study in various places such as Italy, Nicaragua, and Chicago. I feel as though I have been called to the Audubon Center to further grow in my understanding of everything about the outdoors and to be able to share that love with all those who may visit. I also love movies, travel, and just plain having fun!

Nicole Frymier:

Advanced Naturalist Inter / Wildlife Focus

I am originally from Yakima, WA. I graduated last year from Washington State University. I have had two internships with education departments in zoos in Pennsylvania and Oregon where I worked with a variety of animals and programs. Most of my experience working with kids however comes from many summers as a camp counselor and naturalist for YMCA Camp Dudley in the Cascades. I am excited to work at ACNW because I feel like I’m going to be able to gain a lot of valuable experience and knowledge while getting to work with animals and students in a beautiful environment. I love meeting new people and have never really been described as shy. If I have free time and energy to spare I really like to just be outside, hiking or running around somewhere. I also like yoga and try to read as much as I can. Oh and a random fact: I can solve a rubix cube.


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public lands make up over a quarter of the land acreage of the U.S.A., offering never-ending possibilities for family trips, journeys and memories. At one point during those first few days as I held Henry in my arms, I felt incredibly lucky to know these places have been set aside and that we would be able to share them with him and Maya over the coming years.

ACNW Wish List Bryan - do you happen to have a photo (preferably from behind) of your whole family hiking - if not, I’ll grab one from the web

As a residential environmental learning center, the Audubon Center of the North Woods is a nature sanctuary and a place where hands-on education takes place. We exist for people to experience, enjoy and learn about nature in a multitude of ways. Just this summer, we had several new experiences that connected people to the outdoors. In June we offered a wonderfully successful Birding Bonanza Weekend which filled to capacity. With excursions led by outstanding guides, delicious scratchmade meals and entertaining evening presenters, it was a great time and we look forward to offering it again June 6-8, 2014. This June we also partnered with the Will Steger Foundation to host their annual Summer Teachers’ Institute. With their focus on energy education, we served as the setting for teachers to come and learn about energy efficiency, conservation and renewable production, and were delighted to host Will Steger and Jay Drake Hamilton from Fresh Energy for a special Dinner at the Lake. We are looking forward to having the Institute back August 4-6, 2014 for another great learning experience. This July saw us offer our first Scenic Minnesota Natural History Motorcycle Tour. From July 8-12, our group of nine took in breathtaking views along some of Minnesota’s best roads and byways of state parks, national forests and wildlife refuges, traversing the state east to west and back again, covering three biomes and scores of beautiful scenes. With great feedback and interest from our inaugural group of participants, we look forward to offering more of these tours in the future. The backgrounds of the people I got to meet and visit with through these programs was as wide-ranging as it was exciting. They were a mix of ages, coming from all parts of the state (and country), from different professions and with various beliefs, interests and attitudes. But one thing that I found as a commonality amongst all of them was a basic goodness and a desire to want to help the environment and do the right thing. For these reasons, it never fails that when I head home after one of our Audubon Center programs, I leave more inspired than when I came in. I meet people at every one of our programs who are making a difference for the environment through their energy choices, the food they purchase/grow/raise, the land management efforts they are undertaking, the convictions they hold and the influence they are making at our local, state and national levels. I am so fortunate that in my position I get to visit and learn from them. It is because of these individuals like yourself, that I feel optimistic about our planet’s future and why it is my pleasure and privilege to serve as Co-Executive Director of the Audubon Center of the North Woods. I look forward to the next time our paths cross.

We are in need of the items below. Remember, your ‘in-kind’ donations are tax-deductible. Additional ‘wished for’ items can be found by visiting our AmazonWish List – simply log into with your email address and select “Find a wish list or registry” from the dropdown menu (upper right).Type in ‘Audubon Center of the NorthWoods’ in the wish list search box and click ‘Go’

utility trailer reliable, fuel-efficient car for interns 3/4 ton pick-up truck for snowplowing canoe trailer chainsaw industrial-size washer & dryer pressure sprayer twin mattresses in excellent condition handheld GPS units firewood cross country skis & snowshoes for very small kids backpacking expedition packs sleeping bags in excellent condition ice machine large mixing bowls vacuum cleaner in good working order table lamps large stock pots cultural site items (glass bead necklaces, flints, non-working flint-lock rifle, replica leather clothing, leather and hides) bobcat/skidster electric golf cart ATV riding mower/tractor lawn sweeper Montreal Voyageur Canoe

Wildlife Barn Wish List We have compiled a list of the following items that would assist us in the care of our educational animals or enhance the visit of those who come to learn about Minnesota’s wildlife. If you have or would like to purchase one of the following items it would be greatly appreciated. Rope comes on 100’ or 600’ spools, donations should be in whole spools. Raptor food is special ordered; the cash donation will go towards food purchases. Many more items can be found on our wish list – search “Audubon Center of the North Woods” under wish lists.

¾” Manila Rope (Available from wish list) ½” Manila Rope (Available from wish list) ¼” Manila Rope (Available from wish list) Raptor food for a month $150 Parrot/dog toys (new or gently used) Potted evergreen trees (less than 3’ tall) Bird/wildlife art work Gift cards to Petco or Petsmart


Fall/Winter 2013

News from the North Woods

Meet Our New Staff Walt Seibert:

Development Coordinator... It is with gratitude and humility that I have the pleasure and privilege of joining the Audubon Center of the North Woods staff as Development Coordinator. It is as if this position was specifically created for my skill set, and I was pleased to get started on August 30. My 19 years in Courage Center’s Development Department, specializing in major and planned gifts afforded me a wide range of experiences in helping donors crystallize their philanthropic goals and matching donor interest and intent with organizational mission and priorities. I have always worked with the belief that a gift is good for the organization ONLY if it is good for the donor. It all starts with the donor and her or his compatibility with the mission as it relates to their values. I look forward to working with the ACNW family with the goal of providing the resources for an even greater ACNW mission.

Timi Tingle:

Cook.. I live in nearby Finlayson and my love of animals is evidenced by my 4 dogs and 2 cats. Although I work two jobs, both in food service, I enjoy the beautiful nature setting of the Center and the many different people, of all ages and walks of life, who cross my path and make every day interesting. Not only is the Center’s mission very near and dear to my heart, but I love learning so this job was a perfect fit for me. In my precious free time, I enjoy being active and love belly dancing, kickboxing, and softball. I also have an interest in American Sign Language and Spanish.

Volunteer Spotlight

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Did you know we rent out our facilities for retreats, conferences and banquets? We offer substantial discounts on facility rentals and package rates in November & December!

Have you booked your holiday party yet? Beautiful year-round location on 535 acres with over 7 miles of trails A green conference center with many renewable energy systems Lodging capacity for 160+ people Wonderful meal service in our large lakeside dining hall Classrooms and large meeting spaces with WiFi and AV capabilities Add a new dimension to your event with our team-building, challenge, and naturalist programs

As a non-profit organization, we depend on volunteers for help with everything from routine maintenance to special projects. Our board members are also volunteers who selflessly dedicate their time and talents to helping us succeed – a very special group of people who we deeply appreciate. The following is from Don Janes, one of our board members who also generously volunteers time and in-kind items to the Center... THANK YOU Don!

Although I live in the Twin Cities with my wife Marilyn, we have owned an old 80acre farm near Finlayson for many years. We came to know the Audubon Center of the North Woods by attending Dinners at the Lake when we were ‘up north’. I am a 3M retiree and feel privileged to serve on the ACNW board which I joined about 5 years ago, where I’ve served as Treasurer and am currently Vice President. Both my wife and I enjoy volunteering at various Center events such as Open House. I’ve always felt strongly about environmental stewardship and have worked to restore the old pasture land around our old farm back to woodland. Both Marilyn and I appreciate and value ACNW’s mission and commitment to environmental stewardship. I would encourage others to contribute to the Center through volunteering and financial donations. If you are interested in volunteering some of your time and skills, please contact us. We are interested to hear about your areas of expertise and we have a growing list of specific jobs we could use your help. We do not have a minimum hour requirement – any amount of time would be a great asset and much appreciated.

Open year-round, the beauty of nature and range of facilities and offerings at the Audubon Center of the North Woods makes us the ideal location for a variety of conferences, meetings and gatherings, large or small, including: y Business meetings & conferences y Staff retreats & seminars y Company picnics y Banquets y Family and class reunions y Seasonal and holiday celebrations y Wellness, artistic and spiritual retreats y School and youth group field trips Call or email Wendy for rates and availability: 888-404-7743 or 888-404-7743

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Spotlight on schools The Audubon Center presented programs for 78 K-12 public and charter schools in the 2012-2013 school year. Helping students and teachers to see the natural world with new eyes spurs them to further environmentally-focused actions in their schools. We celebrate this seed sprouting into a world in which we all live in balance with nature. If you know of a school that attends programs at the Audubon Center, and is to be celebrated for its science and/or environmental actions, please let us know so we can turn the spotlight on them in future columns. Congratulations to science teacher Sam Macklay and the Environmental Science class at Discovery Public School,an ACNW-authorized charter school in Fairibault, MN, for building hydroponic ‘window farms’ on southfacing windows of the school. They have been very successful in producing a variety of flowers and edible crops such as beans, peas, cilantro, lettuce, Swiss chard, cucumbers and basil. LOTS of basil! Now everyone in the class knows how to make pesto. The other science classes at the school are now requesting to build planters also. Using what they learned from the prototypes, they now are installing improved ‘second generation’ hydroponic window farms.

Kudos to Riverway Learning Community who held their first Go Green Festival in January. The secondary science classes at this ACNW-authorized charter school in Minnesota City, MN planned and organized the festival to help them better understand recycling, as well as teach the primary students how to recycle properly. Activities included: recycling games, recycling art with items such as old shirts, doors, CD’s, paper bags, plastic bottles, pop tabs, and cardboard. Anne Morse the Winona County Recycling Coordinator kicked off the event by talking to all of the students about recycling at home. The Go Green Festival was so successful that Riverway plans on making it an annual event.

Two Environmental Science students at Discovery Public School making notes on the progress of their hydroponic window farm.

Below: Discovery science teacher Sam Macklay with his Environmental Science students in front of their hydroponic window farm.

Above: Riverway 3rd-grader Serena Foss tosses plastic bottles into a recycling bin while competing in a recycling relay at Riverway Learning Community’s Go-Green Day. At right: Riverway 2nd-grader Senora Spaag glues pieces of recycled compact discs to a mural during the event’s recycled art activity.

Interested in creating your own hydroponic window farm? It is relatively easy to grow lots of edible plants in very small spaces all year round with hypdroponic window gardens. Hydroponic gardening uses no soil; rather, plant roots are suspended in clay pellets and bathed with liquid nutrients. This keeps roots tightly compacted, which allows you to hang dozens of growing plants in a single window. Because the roots are so compact, a hydroponic system is a much more efficient use of space — perfect for an urban farmer. The simplest window farm system is a column of upside-down plastic bottles connected to one another. Plants grow out of holes cut into the sides. An air pump is used to circulate liquid nutrients that trickle down from the top of the column and make their way to the plant roots. You can build your own hydroponic garden using recycled plastic bottles or purchase a kit. There are numerous online sources for both do-it-yourselfers and those who want to purchase a kit. Good places to start is YouTube,, and


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GIVE TO THE MAX!! PLEASE include the Audubon Center of the North Woods in your giving on GIVE TO THE MAX DAY, November 14. Your support is deeply appreciated and crucial to our ability to continue to serve more than 10,000 participants through environmental literacy programs, demonstrate renewable energy sources that make a difference in the lives of humans and animals by eliminating carbon footprints, and help people enhance the richness of their lives through a closer connection to the environment.

Retreat Conferences Discounts

YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!! Thank you for remembering the Audubon Center of the North Woods!! Please visit us in person or at

Land Management at the Audubon Center by Bryan Wood, Co-Director

Over this summer, we have worked on two important land management projects at the Center. On June 7, with funding from the Donald Weesner Foundation, we initiated the process of creating an oak savanna by planting 16 bur oaks (3.5-4.5� in diameter) on a 10-acre tall grass prairie tract on the east portion of our land. The process started three years ago with funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) when we prepared a fallow field for transformation into a native prairie. This required pulling out old stumps, disking the soil, waiting a few weeks for non-native grasses to shoot up, spraying them, and then disking in several dozen native prairie forb and grass species. We have since mowed the prairie the previous two summers to knock back non-natives whose shallow roots allow them to outcompete the deeper-rooted native grasses and forbs. By mowing the first couple of years, we give time for the natives to establish their complex fire and drought resistant root systems and not get drowned out by non-natives. This summer was another step in establishing a threatened native plant community. Oak savanna once occupied millions of acres of Minnesota, and tens of millions of acres of the Midwest. The historic border between the western prairie and the eastern deciduous forest, oak savannas were an ideal landscape for settling with their interspersed

shade trees and fertile, easy to plow prairie soils. For these highly sought after reasons, very little oak savanna remains in the U.S today. We are pleased that we can do our part in helping to bring back a piece of oak savanna on our property. It will serve as another educational tool for us, and provide habitat for several threatened bird species that are specialized to oak savanna, such as the redheaded woodpecker. When people think of Minnesota’s North Woods, many picture a forest of tall, majestic white pines reaching up to the sky, towering over everything else around them. While small groves of old-growth white pines do still exist in Minnesota at places like Itasca State Park, Scenic State Park, the Lost Forty and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, they are extremely rare. A combination of intensive logging during the mid 1800s-early 1900s, poor pine regeneration due to fire suppression and white tailed deer browse, and a non-native, lethal fungus called blister rust has made these trees even more endangered. At the Center, we are fortunate to have dozens of old growth white pines around Schwyzer Lodge, along our Grindstone Lake shoreline, and scattered throughout our hardwood forest. Some of these individuals have been aged at over 230 years old. But these pines are not immune to the effects of blister rust, either. Brought over from tree nurseries in Europe in the early 1900s, white pine blister rust

quickly spread into forests, decimating white pine populations. A fungus who finds a host in the root systems of the native members of the Ribes genus (gooseberries and currants), its spores travel through the air, and when they land on the branches and trunks of white pines, create large-scale blistering and oozing of resin, killing the distal portion of that branch or trunk almost immediately, then slowly working its way through the proximal side of infection. If detected earlyon, one can cut behind the effected portion to remove the fungus and halt its spread. We recently did this with eight old-growth white pines on our property, six of which tower above Schwyzer Lodge. By cutting one foot below any sign of infection on the trunk, we hopefully removed in entirety the blister rust, protecting the tree from its fatal effects. We will be crossing our fingers that we were successful and that we can look forward to another 200+ years out of these beautiful pines. We encourage you to stop out and see for yourself our newly created oak savanna, and take in the wonderful pines around and above Schwyzer Lodge. 888-404-7743

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chose my frustration of well-educated friends who still don’t think and act through simple environmental stewardship elements such as saying “no” to plastic grocery bags. When asked, the response is usually: 1. “I always forget them in the car.” Put the cart to one side, go out and get them, then check out. 2. “I recycle them.” GREAT! The first step of stewardship is not recycling, it is precycling – thinking through whether the element needs to be put into use at all. 3. “Trees have to be cut down for paper bags.” True. Single use paper and plastic shopping bags both have huge impacts on our environment (see sidebar). But this is one environmental dilemma that has a fairly easy solution: BYOB (bring your own bag). Make a small investment in reusable bags and keep them in your home, your car, and/ or your office. Of all the curriculum that I have developed in decades as an educator, the program that has made the most known impact is on “Marine Debris”. Showing how simply thinking through the choice to collect fishing line, not use plastic bags, and not let plastics, in particular, go into waterways helps save the lives of 2 million seabirds and over 100,000 marine mammals and turtles a year is very empowering. School groups visiting our store and seeing unneeded plastic packaging, launched a campaign, and the company changed the way they did business. An elder from a Russian fishing village jumped up in the middle of my program and directed the students that I was talking to then about their future economic viability as millions of dollars and time are lost in marine equipment entanglement. Having a positive impact takes all of us, everywhere, thinking through our small choices for all things in nature are interconnected. If it lands up in a water way in Minnesota it can be carried by wind or water or animals to areas thousands of miles away and be causing the death of wildlife we love for years.

Paper or Plastic? Plastic grocery bags are cheaper to produce and are easier to store and transport than paper bags. Over 100 billion per year are used in the U.S. alone. They are typically made from oil and byproducts from the petroleum refining process. It takes the equivalent of over 12 million barrels of oil to create the annual U.S. supply. Add to that the estimated 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and over 1 million sea birds that are killed each year by plastic bags and clearly their use has huge environmental consequences.

Above: Fishing line recycling collection box in Alaska Below: (top) Sea turtle with partially swallowed plastic bag; (middle) Pelican entangled in fishing line; (bottom) Stomach contents found in a baby albatros

Well meaning people think that tossing biodegradable “garbage” out on land is not a problem for wildlife. The fish guts bring in animals that would be fun to see…along with the skunks who spray your dog and the raccoons that knock over the garbage can when you leave the lake. A neighbor puts out sandwiches that he doesn’t want to eat (for which our black lab is grateful) and then is unhappy because there is a rat living directly under his deck. Even that biodegradable apple core tossed out the window has consequences. When the owl comes down to catch the rodent dining on our leftovers, the owl gets hit by a car. If it is a lucky bird it is able to be rehabilitated but never able to live wild again. Three of the four education (non-releasable) owls we have here at the Audubon Center were likely injured by vehicle impacts. This is one of many ways we educate learners to think through their choices. We know that we are molding the decision makers of tomorrow in all we do at the Center. From thinking through how to manage if lost in “Survivor” Class, to placing a quality arrow shot in Forkhorn II Camp, to not discarding food along roadsides, to teaching about owl injuries, to removing bottled water from our store sales, we try to “walk the talk.” Please think through how the messages continue to be reinforced in your area. You are the most important post-lesson students have.

The same number of paper grocery bags uses five times as much total energy. Paper bags comes from trees – an estimated 14 million trees to meet our current use of about 10 billion paper bags. Logging can cause land fragmentation, habitat destruction, soil compaction and long-term ecological damage. The logging large machinery requires fossil fuel to operate and roads. When done unsustainably, logging even a small area can have a large impact on the entire ecological chain in surrounding areas. It takes about a gallon of water per paper bag to clean the pulverized cellulose fibers. Once manufactured, paper bags are bigger and heavier than plastic ones so take significantly more energy to transport. Manufacturing 10 billion paper bags with one-third post-consumer recycled content requires petroleum energy inputs equivalent to over 1.5 million barrels of oil plus additional inputs from other energy sources. The production of paper bags creates 70 percent more air pollution than plastic, but plastic bags create four times the solid waste – enough to fill the Empire State Building two and a half times....and they can last up to 1000 years. Clearly the only choice when asked ‘paper or plastic’ is ‘Neither, thank you, I’ve brought my own bags”! Sources:,,,,,,

CALENDAR OF EVENTS Send an email to to receive our calendar of events brochure

2013 Sep. 21 .............. ‘Autumn at the Audubon’ Open House Sep. 21 .............. Renewable Trail Run/Walk Oct. 4-6 ............. Women’s Wellness & Adventure Weekend Oct. 12 ............... Dinner at the Lake ‘Golden Eagles’ Oct. 30............... H-Owl-oween Climbing Wall & Owl Program Nov. 10, 17 & 24.. Beaver Moon Sunday Brunches Dec. 27-30 ........ Winter Family Escape Dec. 31 .............. New Year’s Eve at the Lake ‘MN Weather Stories’

2014 Jan. 18 ............... Dinner at the Lake ‘Last Keeper at Split Rock’ Feb. 15 .............. Dinner at the Lake ‘Full Length Mississippi’ Mar. 29 ............. Maple Syrup Day & Pancake Brunch Apr. 4-6 ............. Food & Farms Weekend Apr. 19............... Dinner at the Lake ‘For the Love of Lakes’ May 2-4............. Women’s Wellness & Adventure Weekend May 11............... Mother’s Day Brunch w/ entertainment June 6-8 ............ Birding Bonanza Weekend June 15-20 ........ Road Scholar® ‘Family Camp ‘Woods, Water , Wisdom’ June-July........... Summer Camps Sep. 27 .............. Autumn at the Audubon’ Open House Sep. 27 .............. Renewable Trail Run/Walk Oct. 3-5 ............. Women’s Wellness & Adventure Weekend Oct. 18 ............... Dinner at the Lake Dec. 27-30 ........ Winter Family Escape Dec. 31 .............. New Year’s Eve at the Lake 888-404-7743


Fall/Winter 2013

News from the North Woods

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Dinners at the Lake Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. with Jennifer Drayna, National Eagle Center - ‘Golden Eagles’ The focus of this program is on Golden Eagles. Jennifer Drayna, from the National Eagle Center, will talk their natural history and give tips on how to properly identify the 2 species of North American eagles. Once thought only a rare or accidental visitor to Minnesota and Wisconsin, we now know these elusive raptors can be found in the winter months in the bluff s and valleys along the Upper Mississippi River Valley. The National Eagle Center’s Golden Eagle Project conducts annual survey and uses satellite tracking to better understand the migration patterns, habitat use and needs of these wintering golden eagles. Learn more about this project and meet a live eagle ambassador during this program.

New Year’s Eve at the Lake (special pricing*) Tuesday, December 31 2013 at 6:00 p.m. with U of MN Professor Mark Seeley - ‘Minnesota’s Weather Stories’

Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. with Mike Roberts - ‘Last Keeper at Split Rock’

Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. with Mike Link & Kate Crowley - ‘Full Length Mississippi’

Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. with Darby Nelson - ‘For the Love of Lakes’ (rescheduled from 4/13) Early Bird reservations / Week of event reservations: $20/$25 adult, $10/$15 child age 5-12 yrs NEW YEAR’S EVE: Early Bird reservations / Week of event reservations: $25/$30 adult

Reservations are required & space is limited, so reserve early!

888-404-7743 or

Brunches at the Lake November 10, 17 & 24, 2013 Beaver Moon Sunday Brunches 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Adults: $12.50; Children ages 5-12 yrs: $7 Reservations Suggested

Sunday, May 11, 2014 Mother’s Day Brunch

with entertainment (tbd) 11:30 a.m. Adults: $25; Children ages 5-12 yrs: $15 Reservations Required

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News from the North Woods

Alumni News Congratulations to... ...former intern Tim Whitfield who recently became Herbarium Collections Manager and Research Faculty Member at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. If you are an alumni and have some news to share about your life, please send an email to us at – we’d love to share the info with our readers.

Peace be with you, Ray The Center lost a long time friend and neighbor in August with the passing of Ray Marcotte. Ray and his wife Sylvia live just across the road from the Center’s restored prairie and over the past two decades, they have supported the Center and many, many interns, both international and U.S. Ray was a gifted wood carver who shared his talents with all who showed interest. In that sense, Ray’s spirit is scattered across the world, by the many small carvings that interns took home with them. Some of Ray’s work has been shown in the display cases in the Blandin Dining Hall, including a beautiful showy lady slipper that can still be seen and enjoyed by all.

Maple Syrup Season Help Every spring, usually starting sometime in March (depending on what Mother Nature throws at us weather-wise), the hundreds of maple trees here at the Center start to flow with sap. That means it is maple syrup time! Last season, we were able to produce over 120 gallons of delicious maple syrup, with the help of volunteers who assisted in tapping trees, hauling sap buckets, clean-up, etc. We once again will be seeking volunteers for our 2014 spring syrup season. If you would like to get out in the woods early this coming spring (it’s a great way to cure cabin fever and get a little exercise), just call or email Sandy (320-245-2648 or audubon1@audubon-center.,org) to get on our volunteer list.

Fall/Winter 2013

Why Volunteer? There are many benefits to volunteering your time and talents. You’ll meet new people, gain experience, build your skills and resume, while making a big difference to a non-profit like Audubon Center of the North Woods. Not only that, but you will also get to know us better and be able to enjoy the beautiful lakeside surroundings here at the Center.

General Volunteer Opportunities SPECIFIC- ongoing • Grant Research and Submission Assistance – search/research and apply for potential grant opportunities • Online Marketing Assistance - regular posting of events to online calendars, press release generation and distribution • Occasional Saturday front-desk and/or Dinner at the Lake host/hostess GENERAL HELP -ongoing • On-call teacher for EE programs • Belay climbers on climbing wall • Care of barn and wildlife • Transport orphaned/injured animals BUILDINGS & GROUNDS - ongoing • Groom ski trails • Rake, weed whip, mow • Fill bird feeders • Cut/split firewood ON-SITE EVENTS • Kitchen assistance • Prep and clean up • Assist with event and conference logistics

Adopt an Intern...

Whether home is an hour away or half the world away, it is a treat for our interns to have a closer “family” to spend some time with. Though they have great meals, live next to the lake, and form a family with our staff, it is a welcome change to be off the Center grounds on occasion. If you are interested in matching up with one of our interns (meet them on page 8) for a home cooked meal, evening fish, relaxing at your house, puppy sitting for you, or whatever simple activity you like, then please let us know and we will send you their contact information. Call us at 320-245-2648 or email if interested. Thank you!


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News from the North Woods

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Ways you can support the Audubon Center of the North Woods • Planned Giving and Bequests • Volunteer • Help us market our programs. If you have outlets where you can put up a flyer or share information on any of our programs, let us know. Participate in our programs, our special events, and our courses. Visit us, bring others and introduce your friends to us.

• Become a member • Friend a Wild Critter program donations • In-Kind donations - See our current ‘Wish Lists’ on page 4 for items we need. • Memorial donations • Scholarship donations • ‘Give to the Max’ Day matching grants • Legacy gifts and IRA transfers

Thank You!

For more info on how you can help, visit the support page of our website or give us a call

We would like to acknowledge and thank all those individuals and companies who have contributed to the Audubon Center of the North Woods (since our last newsletter) as well as the schools who visited us this academic year. Through your support and patronage, we are able to provide the best environmental education opportunities for people of all ages.

Donations, Memberships & Memorials Osprey y Greystone Foundation/Walter McCarthy & Clara Ueland y Donald Janes

Moose y Becky Lourey

Loons y Marilyn Thompson

Otters y Donna Bremer/215 Wabasha Properties, Inc. y Joe & Deb Kubes & Family y Sharon & Antoni Lewandowski y Debora McCabe y Charles & Diana Moore y Charles Sprado y Superior Power Systems y Sue & Don VanGorden y Paul Vartanian & Joanne Smyth

Cranes y Anonymous y Dale Hammerschmidt & Mary Arneson y Kristin Jamison y Gina Pockrandt y Kathleen Spong

Owls y Elizabeth Artmann y Debra Beck y Lance Beuning

ACNW Core Values

y Debra & Jeff Bracken y Mike & Debra Curran y Gavin Gowdy y David Heupel y Dania & Adam Kamp y Maggie Kozak y Elizabeth Larson y Al & Darlene Lohse y Joan Mc Clay y Dana Randall y Annette Strom y Daniel & Owen Walsh y Hyon Wilson y James Zaun

Friends y Ellis Delany

In Memory of: In Memory of Henriette Nieboer Fey

y Judy & Steve Seidmeyer In Memory of Dennis E. Johnson

y Mary Lou Fink In Memory of Ray Marcotte

y Lloyd & Joan Erickson y Steven & Kathy Frick y Scott Larson y Debra & Edgar LeBlanc y Linda Marcotte y Sylvia Marcotte y Ricky & Sharon Polzin y Ed & Loretta Tobeck

See the next page for member benefits Memorial Scholarship-In Memory of Mitsu Naqashima Chambers

y Maureen Borell

Grants y EcoLab Foundation y Richard & Joan Newmark

Friend a Wild Critter y 2nd Grade Class of Holy Trinity/ Beaufort SC y Sarah Parsons y Laura Ryner y Women’s Debate Institute

Employee Matching y Bud Turner/Norfolk Southern Foundation y Ameriprise Financial/Jennifer Weglarz

In-Kind y Gary & Sandy Kispert y Camille Parker y Pamela & Duane Schroeder y Melonie Shipman y DeeDree Stukas y Bobby Trexler You can make easy, secure online donations and memberships on our website - REMINDER: Please include us in your Give to the Max Day giving on November 14!

We demonstrate respect, care and passion for the earth, all people and all living things We strive for excellence in everything we do through integrity, open communication and teamwork Individuals are valued, engaged and appreciated for their unique contributions We believe in life-long learning through positive shared experiences with the natural world Our efforts encourage others to recognize their interconnectedness with the earth through their actions 888-404-7743

Audubon Center of the North Woods A proud leader in environmental education and renewable energy P.O. Box 530, Sandstone, MN 55072 Phone: 888-404-7743 or 320-245-2648 Fax: 320-245-5272 Email:

If you would like to save resources and would prefer to receive this periodic newsletter electronically (PDF) via email instead of US mail, please send an email to

Visit our website! News from the North Woods Volume 39, Issue 2窶認all/Winter 2013 Melonie Shipman and Bryan Wood, Co-Directors Laurie Fenner, editing/layout Published periodically by Audubon Center of the North Woods Mail, call or email us your inquiries and ideas.

Printed with soy-based inks on carbon-neutral paper containing 100% post-consumer waste

Join Us...Become a Friend to the Audubon Center Friendship Categories By becoming a member of the Audubon Center of the North Woods, you provide the essential support we need to continue to provide quality environmental educations to thousands of people every year. Membership Benefits





CRANES $50-99



OTTERS $100-249

OSPREY $1000+




All Members receive: 10% discount off merchandise in our store 10% off youth and family camps 10% off Schwyzer Lodge A gift membership to give to a friend Our periodic printed newsletter Our e-newsletter (optional) Invitations to special events


To instill a connection and commitment to the environment in people of all communities through experiential learning.

Fall 2013 Newsletter "News from the North Woods"  

Online version of our periodic print newsletter

Fall 2013 Newsletter "News from the North Woods"  

Online version of our periodic print newsletter