More than half my life!
Well, I guess I have to come to grips with the fact that after almost 52 years I have had my last class on bird banding with those interested, absorbed, and beautiful faces hanging on my every word and hoping to be picked to release a bird after banding.
I started at Wilder/Warner when the Junior League of St. Paul recruited members of the community to join their volunteer corps. Little did I know, that I would still be here, 52 years later after starting out trail guiding (and learning all the things about nature that I never knew), then as a "mist-netter" (now called net-runner) and then one of the 5 picked to learn how to do the bird banding demonstrations on a sub-permit from Bernie Fashingbauer, our first director. What a blessing this place has been for me! The staff over the years has been the most supportive of volunteers learning and suggesting new projects (many of them, they did on their own), allowing all of us to make the most of this opportunity to connect with the children and increase our teaching skills.
Warner staff and volunteers would all agree that we are a family and shared many life ups and downs and were always there for each other. I look back at my time at Warner and remember so many special volunteers who are no longer with us and we're all a part of making this the great place it is (or was!)
My heart is full of great memories and much sadness that Manitou Fund has seen fit to negate all the good work that has been done over these 52 years. Why? Don't we at least deserve to have some face to face meetings and conversations? Couldn't this have been done in a better way, like a 5-year phase-out with taking time to discover what is really needed and what Warner staff and volunteers and their suggestions could bring to the table. Again, why??
Greg McNeely - you were a volunteer out here for a few years and worked alongside Bernie and all the volunteers.
How can you turn your back on us? Your father would be ashamed.
The formal school programs are done for now but we are still doing the Owlnet project banding, which is a research project initiated by a small group of banders. They give of their time from 6:00 till midnight and sometimes as late as 3:30 a.m to band sawwhet owls including all the research that goes with that. For more information, see "Living Bird", the magazine of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. But this will end soon, too.
I am concerned that our banding records which could be used for scientific research will have a gap of at least two or three years. Isn't there a way this could be continued, even if you build a new building? There is more than enough property and banding sites that we have used over the years that could be used. This is my frustration that I am sharing with you.
Manitou Fund, I hope you have read the survey results from the teachers to realize what you are ending.. Can't we talk???
Story and request shared by:
Barb Wojahn, Warner Nature Center Bird Bander (up till now)