What we accomplished this past year and our plans for the future

By Krys Hammers,
President
Desert Rivers Audubon

Dear Desert Rivers Audubon Members and Friends,

Krys Hammers (l), President, Desert Rivers Audubon, with Greg Clark of Wild at Heart and feather friend.

At the end of each year, we assess what we accomplished in the past year, and make plans for the future. We also make this appeal to our friends to consider giving Desert Rivers a special gift above and beyond your membership dues.

Since membership dues do not begin to cover operation costs, we depend upon corporate gifts, book sales, recycling of aluminum cans, raffle income, and our year-end appeal to help keep Desert Rivers financially healthy and moving forward. In these tough economic times, charitable giving for conservation is on the decrease, and yet the needs remain.

Desert Rivers has continued to actively work to fulfill our mission: to educate and inspire our community on birds, wildlife and their habitats.

Last year, Desert Rivers engaged the public and its members with the following programs, all of which are free.

We received a Together Green grant to partner with Wild at Heart to build 100 burrows for Burrowing Owls at Zanjero Park. The burrows were built in Oct, 2011 and 10 owls were released in April. Again this spring we will build a tent to temporarily house another 10 owls. After 30 days they will be released to the area.

We’ve recently hosted our first annual Tour de Bird, a tour of urban bird habitats that demonstrate how everyone can help birds in their own backyard.

The Field Trips program had over 400 attendees to locations around town and the state. These trips are an important way we introduce new friends to birding and the conservation message.

Thanks to volunteers, who donated almost 600 hours, we’ve continued our monthly public birdwalk programs at Chandler’s Veterans Oasis Park and the Gilbert Riparian Preserve. These birdwalks help engage our community with an appreciation for Arizona birds and conservation message. Every child leaves with a gift to help them continue to appreciate the birds around them.

Joy Dingley hosts her Early Birds Club for children 7 – 13. These enthusiastic children have not only watched birds, they have drawn birds, listened to them, and studied their habitat and diets.

With our preserve partners, we hosted field trips for a group of blind children who learned to appreciate nature by hearing, touch and smell. We also provided a special morning program for the Hope Kids, a charity for families with children dealing with life-threatening conditions.

Our regular monthly programs at the Gilbert Community Center have attracted and inspired members and guests on a variety of topics of concern and interest.

Our top-notch newsletter highlights the happenings at our chapter, as well as provides in-depth information about conservation and wildlife topics.

This season, from September 2012 through May 2013, we will continue with these programs. We will also offer additional educational materials, and enhance our Audubon at Home Award Program, which recognizes people who have created healthy bird habitats. At this time we are specifically in need of a utility trailer where we can store and transport all of our equipment to events.

We truly appreciate your support to ensure Desert Rivers continues to offer these programs.  All of your gift will be used locally by Desert Rivers and is tax-deductible. Thank you.

Chandler Family Birdwalks Resume November 3rd

Chandler Family Birdwalks resume this Fall!

Bring your Scouts out to our Birdwalks. Contact Joy Dingley for more info: joy.dingley@cox.net.

Every first Saturday of the month, November through April, come out with the kids to walk around the water recharge ponds at the City of Chandler’s Veterans Oasis Park at 4050 E. Chandler Heights Rd in Chandler (NE Corner of Chandler Heights and Lindsay Rd).  This birdwalk is sponsored by Desert Rivers Audubon, and The City of Chandler.

We provide loaner binoculars, Bird Bingo Cards for kids, and expert leaders to take you around the ponds at both locations. We also have field guide books and other nature items for sale at our display tent. Walks leave every 15 minutes or so and last about 45 minutes.

Free. Visit our mobile bookshop before or after your walk to check out nature guides, kids wildlife books, birding supplies and green living guides.

We’re an all-volunteer nonprofit and have many opportunities for adults, families and students to help us with our education & conservation efforts. Ask our volunteers for more information.

Dine Out for Birds Fall Fundraiser October 27th

Join us a Rubio’s Chandler, 5055 W. Ray Rd. (Ray & Rural Roads), Saturday, October 27, 2012, 11am to 10pm, and Dine Out for Birds.

Print this flyer, give it to the cashier and a percentage of your purchase will go to Desert Rivers Audubon’s education & conservation projects.

This Rubio’s location is right around the corner from the Hummingbird Habitat at Desert Breeze Park, the Will Call stop on our Tour de Bird on the same day.

Join us at The Hummingbird Habitat, Chandler, Second Saturdays

Desert Rivers Audubon continues a second year in the Hummingbird Habitat at Desert Breeze Park, 660 N. Desert Breeze Parkway, Chandler, as part of the City of Chandler Park & Recreation Department’s Adopt-a-Park program.

Volunteers with Joe Tyler’s sculpture at the Hummingbird Habitat at desert Breeze Park, a Recognized Bird Habitat.

Every second Saturday of the month, volunteers gather to tend the Hummingbird Habitat (contact Anne Koch, Volunteer Coordinator, for seasonal morning hours, atredray@yahoo.com). Our next date at the Habitat is Saturday, October 13, 2012, 8-10am.

The Hummingbird Habitat, established in 1999 from a water retention area in the back corner of Desert Breeze Park, was designed by Landscape Architect Dennis Peltz. It features art installations by Joe Tyler and the Chandler High School ceramics class.

Desert Rivers Audubon volunteers, recognized by the City of Chandler for donating

Victor Peterson (r) instructs Ryan in proper pruning technique to keep branches out of the Habitat pathway. The Hummingbird Habitat is Ryan’s national Junior Honor Society project.

over 100 hours of work in the habitat in one year, replace specimen plants, weed, water, prune and mulch this small walled garden. Long-time as well as volunteers completely new to Desert Rivers have taken over tree trimming from the city in order to promote a shade canopy attractive to birds. Volunteers also harvest and reuse mulch in the habitat to promote Abert’s Towhee habitat as well as restore nutrients to the soil and prevent irrigation evaporation. The Hummingbird Habitat is part of Desert Rivers Audubon’s Bird Habitat Recognition program.

Desert Rivers Audubon is seeking donations of native wildflower seeds.

A key bird-friendly garden on the Tour de Bird October 27, 2012, volunteers will add more hummingbird-attracting plants as well as seed wildflowers for spring blooms this fall in the Habitat. Donations of Chuparosa, Desert Milkweed, Wooly Butterfly Bush (Buddleta marrubifola) and wildflower seeds from Desert Marigold, Penstemon species, Desert Bluebell, California/Mexican/Arizona Poppies and Desert Lupine would be appreciated. Contact Krys Hammers, krys.hammers@cox.net , to arrange delivery.

Tour de Bird Volunteer Orientation October 17, 7-9pm, Bass Pro Shops, Mesa, #TourdeBird

Join us at Bass Pro Shops, Community Room, 1133 N. Dobson Rd., Mesa, October 17, 2012, 7–9pm for our Tour de Bird Volunteer Orientation.  Tour de Bird is Desert Rivers Audubon’s wildlife habitat garden tour. It highlights both private backyard ecosystems designed to benefit birds and other wildlife, as well as public gardens demonstrating support of our bird habitat recognition program and migration corridors. Tour de Bird is made possible by a grant from Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Heritage Education Fund in partnership with the City of Chandler.

Fairy Duster attracts hummingbirds

We’ll go over the tour in general & locations specifically. We’re meeting in the Community Room.

We need:

Garden Guides: Guide visitors through public & private gardens (orientation/documentation provided). If you love gardening, we’ll give you a description of the garden you choose to volunteer in Chandler, Gilbert or Scottsdale. The garden owner will be there to help you, too.

Ticket Takers: Take & sell garden tour tickets (instructions & support provided).

Older children may volunteer with their parents.

We have Service Learning credits for Maricopa County Community College Students. Check with the Mesa Community College Service Learning and Chandler-Gilbert Community College Service Learning Center for details.

Older children are welcome to volunteer with a parent, guardian or responsible adult.

National Honor Society and other High School Service Program volunteers also welcome.

Contact our Volunteer Coordinator Anne Koch, atredray@yahoo.com or sign up here.

Thank you for your support–we can’t do it without you!

“Guide to 101 Birding Sites – Phoenix” App Launch Party Saturday, Sept. 22nd, 2-4pm, Wild Birds Unlimited, Mesa

Desert Rivers Audubon’s mobile birding sites app in development.

Join Desert Rivers Audubon and business member Wild Birds Unlimited, Mesa, for our App launch, Guide to 101 Birding Sites – Phoenix, Saturday, September 22, 2012, 2-4pm at the Wild Birds Unlimited store, 2110 E. Baseline Rd. Suite 1, Mesa, AZ 85204. This event is free with light refreshments served.

Guide to 101 Birding Sites – Phoenix features:

The Birds-Eye Guide to 101 Birding Sites: Phoenix is now a smartphone app, Guide to 101 Birding Sites – Phoenix.

The Guide to 101 Birding Sites – Phoenix app is the the updated version of author Mike Rupp’s book, The Birds-Eye Guide to 101 Birding Sites: Phoenix.  The valley is divided into four quadrants to help the user decide where to go, and make the most of your time when you do. Urban sites are listed, as well as more rugged and remote sites outside the valley, with exact driving directions, and an index to all sites. Some sites may be familiar to local birders, but undoubtedly there are many new ones to explore.

Desert Rivers Audubon mobile birding app includes site descriptions highlighting birds likely to be seen.

The app will cost $9.99. It will be available for both iPhone and Android smartphones through the respective app marketplaces.

Volunteers Needed for Backyard Habitat Garden Tour

Tour de Bird is Desert Rivers Audubon’s wildlife habitat garden tour. It highlights both private backyard ecosystems designed to benefit birds and other wildlife, as well as public gardens demonstrating support of our bird habitat recognition program and migration corridors.

It takes place Saturday, October 27, 2012, 9am-2pm. The tour features gardens in Chandler, Gilbert and Scottsdale. This event is made possible by a grant from Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Heritage Education Fund.

Volunteer guided tours, plant lists, amd onsite ticket purchases available.

Tickets: $ 10, children 16 and under free. Will Call & map provided. Ticket purchases available online.  Backpack with children’s wildlife education materials and bird guides included with each ticket purchase. Additional backpacks available for a fee.

We need volunteer garden guides and ticket-takers, half or whole day shifts. Volunteers receive exclusive Tour preview. Contact Desert Rivers Audubon’s Volunteer Coordinator Anne Koch, atredray@yahoo.com. Training provided. This is your opportunity to learn about or enhance your knowledge of bird and pollinator-attracting landscaping as well as fall blooming plants.
This event made possible by a grant from the Arizona Game & Fish Department’s Heritage fund.