Wednesday, September 17, 2008
RAVEing about GOAS
My son and I became involved with the Greater Ozarks Audubon Society (GOAS) in the early to mid 1990's. We have come to know the individuals involved in our Audubon chapter as a group of movers and shakers unlike any other in the Springfield environmental scene. These people are leaders in the community, and coalition formation has always been at the top of the club's priorities, second only to the birds of our region.The history of GOAS is relayed to current members through oral traditions. Names like Nathan Fay, Leonard Confer, Rebecca Matthews, Betty Dyer, Kay Johnson, Betty Johnson, Jan Horton, Dorothy Thurman, Sue Schuble, Charley Burwick, Dave Catlin, and Lisa Berger echo from the past and shout into the future.
A new page has turned in the tradition of "moving and shaking" for GOAS, and this page emcompasses a much wider radius of influence, and thus, leads us into new frontiers of discovery. Things started moving fast when the Toyota Corporation donated $20 million over the next 5 years to the National Audubon Society for use on "green" ventures. The win-win collaboration has resulted in the TogetherGreen project. This project is now awarding grant money to innovative groups and chapters that organize green partnerships to educate and shape the public's view of conservation and bird ecology.
Thanks to the lightning quick reactions of Charley Burwick, Lisa Berger, and Dr. Janice Greene, our local chapter has received two grants, one for Green Volunteer Days and the other for Green Innovation Projects. Today, I'll address our $7000 Volunteer Days grant. More later on the cool innovation grant!
The volunteer grant requires that GOAS organize and coordinate six volunteer work days in the coming year. We have partnered with Springfield Parks and Recreation to carry out our projects.The first Volunteer Day will occur this Saturday, September 20, at the Valley Water Mill Park, the home of the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks and the future LEED certified Watershed Education Center.Our green partners include the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks, who will host the many groups and the Springfield Plateau Master Naturalists, who, along with GOAS, will coordinate the volunteers. The local Sierra Club will work in the Rain Garden, while the Ozarks Greenways Project will work on linear parks and trails in the area. All participants will receive a free T-shirt, will be assigned to one of the many groups of workers for the morning, and will join with others for a combined lunch.To me, GOAS, has the most fun project for the day. Of course, as a child and adult, I've always been thrilled when I ran into a snake, frog, toad, lizard, or other animal along the way. So, for all of those volunteers so inclined, we are conducting a R.A.V.E., Rapid Assessment Visual Exploration, which will provide us with a four hour plant and animal inventory, a mini-BioBlitz. Teams formed will inventory all birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, insects, aquatic species, herbaceous plants, and trees/shrubs at Valley Water Mill Park in that four hour window. Many university and MDC experts are acting as team leaders for each group.
Videographers will be brought in to make a 3-4 minute video of our day, and our event will serve as an example to others with TogetherGreen projects awaiting completion.Here's me, looking forward to a grand Volunteer Day. Hope this weather holds!
Of course, I'll have a follow up entry soon.