This historical account of Grand Lake Audubon Society was written by charter member Ken Adams and appeared in the club newsletter in the fall of 1992.
A LOOK BACK AT THE FIRST 5 YEARS OF THE GRAND LAKE AUDUBON SOCIETY
Our chapter is starting our 6th year, so I thought a little looking back at where we started from might be nice. The Grand Lake Audubon Society (GLAS) really started from a local birding group. The main people in that group were Si & Genny Seibert, Dr. Bland and Carolyn Garvey.
The birding group was a loose knit group of people interested in birding. They held regular monthly meetings and occasionally went on an outing. Apparently this group had thought about becoming an Audubon chapter, but had just dropped it. During the pelican festival in 1965 a questionnaire was passed concerning interest in forming an GLAS.
During this time, Carolyn sent out a note concerning upcoming meetings. Carolyn then took a job in Tulsa and moved, about the time I started regularly attending the meetings, and I agreed to do a newsletter. At each meeting, the idea of becoming a GLAS came up and that was it. We had a few vocal people against it. So in a newsletter I laid down the gauntlet and said we will try and if we don't get the numbers needed. So be it. (To become a new Audubon chapter. you need to get 35 NEW members within 6 months.)
I called up and talked with Ed Pembleton from the regional National Audubon Society (NAS) office who sent me the information needed. We set up a meeting with Ed to come down and talk to our group and that 1st night we signed up 12 people. One of the first problems was getting our territory since we are bordered on all sides by other chapters or state lines. It took several letters to Indian Nation AS (Audubon Society) and we finally were locked in to the areas from Kansas, OK drawing a line to Spavinaw. Then going north. We lost the original idea of using 412 as the southern border - that would have given us Pryor also.
Another problem we had at this time is Ed left for Washington DS to work on the water projects of NAS. This left us basically on our own. But we did get signed up to become the 506th NAS chapter formed and the 8th one in Oklahoma (hence the reason for our number T08). After looking at several other chapters’ bylaws. I made up our Constitution and By-laws, which was approved by NAS.
Our logo was designed by, then local artist Jerry Yarnell. The bird was decided by several people which included Dr. Bland and Genny Seibert. He also gave a program and gave away a painting, which was won by Mrs. Schaefer of Ketchum.
We had 39 charter members sent in but they were not the first members in our chapter. (Just to digress a bit, we get members by signing them up ourselves or when someone in our area subscribes to the Audubon Magazine. So our first few members, due to the fact they subscribed to the magazine before we sent our charter members were Lorene Micka, Mr. Victor Dennis, both of Miami; and Margie Baker of Grove. Lorene is still a member…
A very big help those first few months, until we started receiving our dues split, was the donation of postage by Dr. Bland. For a few newsletters we were sending out almost 200 letters to prospective members and those in our area that belonged to other chapters. They had to fill out a form requesting their membership to be transferred to the GLAS.
Our first nominating committee met at Leong's and with the work Dr. Bland did in the birding group, we let him be the first President. The other officers included VP: Me (Ken Adams); Secretary: Shirley VanLear; Treasurer: Mike VanLear. Our directors included: Cheryl Adams, Dr's Fred and Marguerite Baumgartner, Si Seibert.and Bob Uttley. It's worked out that the present committees were chaired by the same people as today minus Audubon Adventures (AA), Adopt-A-Highway, Birdseed sale, and Birdathon. All of which came later.
After 2 years of being President (the President is elected for a single 2-year term) I took over and last year Carrie Smith was elected. Our VP, after me. was Genny Seibert and last year Ellie Womack was elected. Our other Treasurers included Dr. Eve Cohn. and presently Genny Seibert. Our Secretary's included Genny Seibert and presently Beverly Haeberle.
One funny note is that at the end of Dr. Bland term. I round out that he was not even a member of NAS or our chapter. Very quickly we got a new member.
The middle of our first year saw the formation of the Oklahoma Audubon Council (OAC), a coalition of Audubon chapters in the state. Our first representatives were Dr. Bland and myself. We have been well represented on the board as I was elected the first secretary and after 3 years, I became the Chairperson. I am just finishing my last term of that office. (For the last 2 1/2 years. I've been the only person going. So if someone else would like to help represent our chapter, please let me know.) Starting our second year, I wanted a brochure so we could do more "advertising" of our chapter. I looked at about 15 different brochures and came up with our present format and design.
Our second year also saw our first real help with the Pelican Festival. (Collimating in next year our chapter being the main host for the nature parts.) We also had our first bird seed sale. The sale, until last year, was in cooperation with Tulsa AS (Audubon Society). The sale was mainly one big day with some brought to the meetings. Cheryl and I picked up the seed in Dr. Bland’s 3/4ton truck and would carry back from 3,000 to 3,800 pounds of bird seed in one trip, which we would unload ourselves at Dr. Bland’s office. His office would smell like birdseed for several weeks. To make it more interesting, one year we traveled back from Tulsa with 3,800 pounds of birdseed and no brakes. What fun!
Our third year found many firsts for us. I got excited by what I saw in Audubon Adventures (AA) and the membership agreed to sponsor 7 classes. Shirley VanLear was the first chairperson and got us going. This year we are sponsoring 17 classes. Presently Beverly Haberle is in charge of AA. (FYI: NAS sends information to the teacher on various subjects and the students get a newspaper concerning that topic. This occurs every other month. The other months I "interview" an animal in a humorous way so as to teach the students something about our animals. We had a drawing by Dr. Eve Cohn with each interview.)
Another first occurred as I went to a meeting and signed us up for the Adopt-A-Highway program. The success of this program belongs to Bob Uttley. He broke down our 2-mile area into 1\3 mile sections and families signed up for the area. This program is now being chaired by another Uttley, LeRoy. We were the first Audubon Chapter in the state to have an Adopt-A-Highway section and one of the firsts in the region.
During this time I got up involved in the Acid Rain National monitoring program. Marguriete Thompson did our sampling for the 1½ years until the project was completed.
April 1990 found several of us handing out over 1,000 loblolly trees at the Wal-Mart in Vinita, Miami, Jay, and Grove. The 20th anniversary of Earth Day found the Bland and VanLear family, Dr. Eve Cohn, Marquiete Thompson, and Cheryl and myself at the Wal-Mart. Many thanks go to Cheryl for wrapping over 3/4 of the trees.
In the summer of 1990, the Oklahoma Audubon Council (OAC) sponsored an Audubon Regional Conference in Tulsa. The main speaker was actor Dennis Weaver. Cheryl and I got our picture with him. Cheryl hosted the hospitality room for 1 day sponsored by the GLAS. We have several very good birders in our group: Si & Genny Seibert, Dr. Bland and Ellie Womack come to mind who have helped many of us to be better birders. At the beginning we all were blessed to have as “support personality" of Dr.’s Fred & Marguerite Baumgartner. To the surprise of many of us they transferred their membership to the GLAS. We had several outings at their place as well as the Christmas Bird (CBC). Their book was finally published and they are to have a signing party at the fall 05 meeting
For the first few years we "helped" with the CBC. The last year we helped with their CBC it really snowed. Several of us met at Dr. Bland’s office and decided it was too bad to go out. Well, Dr. Bland went home and got his 4-wheel drive truck and a few people went out for count. Genny Seibert said it was something to experience Dr. Bland's driving in the snow!
Two years ago we started doing our own CBC of the Grand Lake area. Last year we started, I hope a tradition of a warm potluck dinner after the count at the Seiberts. It was a good time for a lot of us.
TheBirdathon was started 3 years ago as a way of getting money for AA (Audubon Adventures). In the 3 years it has made us almost $900. Our problem has been lack of people doing the birdathon. The first year we had 4 people and the last two years have seen only Cheryl and I doing it. Hopefully, this year will bring a lot more people so as to increase our sponsorship of AA.
One area that has been pretty constant has been our good programs. The first 2 years Dr. Bland got all the programs. The last few years several of us have gotten programs from friends, family or from a program elsewhere. Except for a few outings, our attendance for outings has not been the greatest. This year we are having specific people sponsor outings. Our first one was in August and was done by Ellie Womack, which attracted 19 people and 3 hummingbirds to be banded.
Last January our Eagle outing had over 20 people and over 50 Bald Eagles. The outing to the Sutton Research Center in 1990 drew over 20 people. Our biggest field trip involved Grand Lake boating graciously donated by the DeBois family where we had over 35 people.
Well there was probably a lot more that happened, but this should slight glimpse of our beginning. We have a long way to go, but had a good start and appear to be heading in the right direction.
(Elsewhere in the newsletter were listed the charter members: Ken & Cheryl Adams, Donna Bennett, Jim & Betty Beview, Blue Heron Bay, Roger & Wilma Bogle, Treva Bowman, Billy Brown, Hazel Buster, Sarah Cope, Norma Corn, DeAnn Durrett, Ruth Flood, Nancy Gee, Judy Gray, Alliene Holcome, Jack Hinds, Mr. R. King, Charlotte Layman, Alyce & Cleo Lile, Pat & Chet Long, Mr. & Mrs. Earl Love, Jim Marris, Vernon Miller, Annetta Moore, Frankie Redfoot, Ann Rich, Wand Sample, Si & Genny Seibert, Susan Sharp, Karen Shepherd, Maxine Smith, Mark Stowell, Claudine Stumbo, Bob & Donna Townsend, B.L. Uttley, Mike & Shirley VanLear, Patricia Williams, Raymond Wolter, and Lee Anna Woodruff.)