Tampa Audubon honored two of its long-time leaders for their many contributions to Tampa Audubon at its April meeting. In addition, Ann Paul was honored by the USF Osher School of Lifelong Learning for teaching in the OLLI program.
Mary Keith, past-president and Conservation Committee chair, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Mary is best known for serving as president for many years and for planning and leading local and international field trips. Mary has also been actively involved in Colony Watch, Eagle Watch, Jay Watch, education, tabling, merchandise, and conservation committees. She was also a Christmas Bird Count leader for two areas! Mary now serves as the Southwest District director on the Florida Audubon Society Board of Directors. Mary has certainly earned her Lifetime Achievement Award.
Sandy Reed was honored with a Special Conservation Award for her successful efforts to establish the Hooked Bird Initiative in collaboration with FWC and FDEP. Her efforts have resulted in widespread education regarding what to do if you hook a bird while fishing. Most importantly, the FWC is now proposing rule changes to current fishing regulations at the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park. The proposed changes will reduce hooked bird injuries and mortalities, if they are passed at the July meeting of the FWC Commission.
Sandy also established Project Bur-O to encourage the re-establishment of Burrowing Owl populations in Hillsborough County. Sandy and her team have installed artificial burrows at several sites in Hillsborough County over the past 2 years. Project Bur-O was the recipient of a Tampa Bay Estuary Program Mini-Grant in 2023. Sandy now serves as co-chair of the Bird Protection Committee and Project Bur-O.
Ann Paul was recently honored by the USF Osher School of Lifelong Learning (OLLI) for teaching in the OLLI program for over 10 years. Ann was inducted into the OLLI Faculty Honor Roll, along with 5 other honorees for 2023. OLLI Program Director Joseph McAuliffe states that Natural Hillsborough is one of the most popular OLLI classes each year. The Natural Hillsborough class will begin its 20th year in January 2024.