The mission of the Highlands Plateau Audubon Society is to provide opportunities to enjoy and learn about birds and other wildlife and to promote conservation and restoration of the habitats that support them.
" On May 20, Michelle Styring and Ann Campbell went to Cullowhee to participate in the International Migratory Bird Day Festival that was sponsored by Balsam Mountain Trust. Our exhibit included information and brochures about Native Plants for Birds as well as our display board explaining our nest box experiment. Kim Brand from ANC brought a migration game for children to play that explained the hazards that birds face while migrating. We enjoyed networking with other environmental organizations and also with Barbara Balentine and Jeremy Hyman from WCU."
Three students preparing to play a migration game.
Ann explaining the material in the booth.
Over 700 people attended the 14th Annual Mountain Wildlife Days weekend in Sapphire Valley July 14-15. The first event (see photo 1) was a bird walk at the Cashiers Commons led by Russ who seemed to attract birds to come in for a close-up view for the participants.
On Friday evening Bill Lea shared his incredible bear photos and discussed this misunderstood gentle giant. Russ was the master of ceremonies for the Saturday line-up of wildlife experts showing animals such as birds of prey, reptiles, a wolf, a ground hog, as well as some exotics. Photo 3 captures an image of WCU natural resource management major, Brooks Churn, receiving a Harris's Hawk that was being flown by Peter Kipp-DuPont, falconer. HPAS had an exhibit table all weekend featuring our nest box experiment, native plants for birds, and a new interactive feature with a microscope for viewing a bird feather and a dragonfly wing. Photo 4
MOUNTAIN WILDLIFE DAYS
Bill Lea with the event organizer, John Edwards.
Bird walk with Russ
Brooks Churn, receiving a Harris's Hawk that was being flown by Peter Kipp-DuPont, falconer.
HPAS Exhibit Table
Dr. Olga Milenkaya, assistant biology professor at Young Harris College and valuable Audubon board member, presented a fabulous CLE course entitled "Dead As A Dodo" on September 8 in Highlands. It was our pleasure to have the sophomore biology class from Highlands High School as guests for the presentation and everyone was thoroughly engaged and asked good questions. It was considered their first college lecture! Our collaboration with community organizations and schools enhances experiences for everyone involved. Thanks again, Olga!
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On the afternoon of September 8 the Franklin Bird Club invited HPAS to join them at the Highlands Biological Station for a walk with the director, Dr. Jim Costa, for a "Wings Walk" to look for butterflies. The weather was fabulous and we spotted numerous butterflies, moths, caterpillars, and host plants. Other curious finds were the leaf miners, a snout-nosed moth, and a crab spider. Lots of bird food! Thanks to Renee from the Franklin Bird Club for organizing this event.
Painted Lady Butterfly
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Photos by Peter Hall
Founders' Day for over 100 third and fourth grade students at the Cashiers Historical Society on September 28 was a huge success! HPAS partially funded Balsam Mountain Trust for an animal presentation which included a barn owl and American Kestrel.
Photo by Ann Campbell
On October 3 we visited the fifth grade class at Blue Ridge School in Cashiers with a program, "Introduction to Birds". We quizzed them to see how much they remembered about the April 20 "Wings to Soar" presentation and were amazed at the details they remembered. We also presented a copy of Jeremy Hyman's new book, Bird Brains, to the class as a thank you for their help in monitoring the Audubon nest boxes on their campus.