Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, P.O. Box 46, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170;
Dedicated to the protection of birds, other animals, and their habitats through education and activism



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Latest News
New Stuff Apr 2, 2009.  Venue change for next year's meetings.

Ken Gunn attracted a lot of high-powered talent to give programs last season, but the number of members attending has not kept up with the stature of the presenters.  Many of them were PhD's.  In an attempt to get more members to meetings, I wonder if a change in time and location might be appropriate.

Please help us decide by answering the following questions.  Would you be more likely to attend a meeting if it were cloder to NSB?  Would you be more likely to attend if it were on a different night?  Please send your response in an email to .  If you have any other comments about the club or meetings, please include them. Thanks.  Don
New Stuff Apr 1, 2009.  Field trip schedule for next month.

Ever wanted a guided birding trip to Tomoka State Park, Canaveral National Seashore or the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine?  Those are our next three. Check out the field trips page for more info.
New Stuff Apr 1, 2009.  Bird Migration Workshop.

Join birding enthusiasts Jeff Bouton, Monique Borboen, Roger Clark and Dr. Ken Meyer as they provide insight on the where, when and how of bird migration!  This exciting event is scheduled for Wednesday, April 22 at the Center for Marine Studies located at Whitney Lab in St. Augustine, Florida.
This event is a fundraiser for St. Johns County Audubon Society.  Look here for more information.
New Stuff  Mar 27, 2009.  The April eSkimmer is online.  

Check it out here.
New Stuff  Mar 15, 2009.  Great sighting during the Lake Ashby trip.

We had a great field trip to Lake Ashby.  It started with a large group of Cedar Waxwings seen from the parking lot.  One of the park maintenance staff showed us the location of two three-week old Barred Owl chicks.  That was definitely the highlight of the day.  Check out my pics of the owls here.
  Mar 10, 2009.  Smyrna Dunes Park festival.

There was an interesting event at the Smyrna Dunes Park a couple of weeks ago.  It was a ribbon cutting ceremony highlighting the new rules for dogs using the boardwalk and including dog-related activities.  At the end of the event, we conducted a bird walk of the park.  Mayor McKay graced our booth with her presence.  See my report along with a picture of the mayor and her dog at our booth.  You can also see the email that I sent to Joe Nolin thanking him for the progress on protected nesting and resting shorebirds and giving suggestions on other things that still need to be done.  A special thanks to Nancy and all the other folks who participated.
Feb 25, 2009.  March eSkimmer is online.  

Check it out here.
Feb 15, 2009.  SEVAS to participate in Smyrna Dunes Festival.

The club will participate in a festival sponsored by the Friends of Smyrna Dunes Park on March 7, 2009.  We will have a booth and conduct at least one birding tour for visitors.  Admission to the park will be free on that day.  If you would like to assist, please contact Nancy.  

NOTE:  This will replace the field trip to Orlando Wetlands Park, originally scheduled for that day.
Jan 29, 2009.  The February eSkimmer is on line.

Get it here.  
Jan 28 2009.  Announcing the Great Backyard Bird Count for 2009.

The next big citizen science event of the year is the Great Backyard Bird Count February 13th through 16th.  This one is really as easy as 1-2-3 since it can be in your own backyard.  This is a great way to get your children or grandchildren involved in.  You can also use a park or other area to count birds in.  And don’t forget large store parking areas.  Help the kids learn the names of some species.  Get friends involved, especially if they have yards with good natural areas or have feeders because they enjoy watching birds at the feeders.  For more information, check out the eSkimmer or click here or here.  
Jan 28, 2009.  February meeting details announced.

The February meeting will be held at the Edgewater library at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 4th.  Our speaker will be Dr. Gabriel Vargo, Associate Professor Emeritus at the College of Marine Science, University of South Florida and the Florida’s Seabird Ecological Assessment Network (SEANET) coordinator.  SEANET is a volunteer based program designed to provide information that can be used to assess threats to sea and shore birds and to the near shore ecosystem.  For Dr Vargo’s bio, click here

Come and bring friends.  SEANET would very much like to enlist some volunteers in Volusia County.  Remember – free cookies.
Jan 28, 2009.  Christmas Bird Count results posted.

One of the most important things we do as Auduboners is citizen science, and the biggest event of the year is the Christmas Bird count, which was just completed.  As we joined tens of thousands of other enthusiasts in counting and reporting birds, we participated in developing a huge database of information which scientists around the world can use to determine the health of bird populations and, indirectly, of our environment. 

All in all, Southeast Volusia Audubon volunteers reported over 38,000 individual birds covering 131 species.  Dick and Gail Domroski coordinated the our CBC and also compiled the data into the National Audubon database.  Our thanks to Dick and Gail for their hard work and to all the volunteers who gave their time and energy and gas to support this program.

For a summary of our efforts and those of the other Volusia and Flagler clubs, check out this link .
Jan 7, 2009.  The January 2009 eSkimmer is online.  

Check it out here.
Jan 7, 2009.  Happy New Year.

Your executive committee wishes you and your loved ones a happy and prosperous 2009.  Make a New Year's resolution to become more involved in the chapter's activities and conservation issues in general.
Dec 15, 2008.  January meeting set.  NOTE change in Venue.

The January meeting will be held at the New Smyrna Beach Utilities Commission offices at 200 Canal Street in New Smyrna Beach.  Entrance is through the rear door and via elevator to the third floor. Date and time are January 7 at 7:00 PM. 

Our featured speaker will be Karyn Hoffman, Co-President and Conservation Chair of the West Volusia Audubon.  She will discuss water conservation and show a film entitled “Gimme Green,” an amusing and thought-provoking documentary that examines the American obsession with our residential lawn.  Ellen Fisher of the Utilities Commission will also discuss how the utility handles our water treatment and irrigation needs.  Check out her bio here.
Dec 15, 2008. Mytopia Café article.

Check out the nice article by Barbara Salter Nelson on the CBC.  She interviewed key people in the Southeast Volusia, Halifax River, West Volusia and Flagler Audubons for the piece.  To see it, click here.
Dec 15, 2008.  Christmas Bird Count details

The Christmas Bird Count will be held on January 3d, 2009.  Meet at 7 a.m. at the Brannon Center for team assignments.  Contact Dick or Gail at 428-0447 to volunteer.  Bring snacks, water, lunch, binoculars and field guides if you have them.  There will be a post-meeting party at a time and place to be determined to review the day’s sightings.  A $5.00 charge is assessed to participants over 19 to help defray the costs of the National Audubon database maintenance.
Dec 15, 2008.  Updates to by-laws

At the November meeting, the members voted to change the by-laws.  As a result of the changes, meetings are now set at the discretion of the membership rather than being specified in the by-laws.  There is also a new type of membership called the ‘chapter-only” membership.   People now have the opportunity to join only the SEVAS and not be members of National Audubon or Audubon of Florida.  They will be voting members of SEVAS and will receive our newsletters and alerts but not the publications of the National Audubon or of Audubon of Florida. 

To see a copy of the updated by-laws, click here.

To join us, click here or the link at the right.
  Nov 30, 2008.  December meeting announced.

The next meeting is December 3, 2008.  The guest speakers are Dr. Roger Reep and Dr.  Peter McGuire from the University of Florida who will speak on  their research on the Florida Manatees.  The meeting is open to the public.  For more info check out the Meetings link at the left menu.
Nov 30, 2008.  December eSkimmer is online.

Check it out here.
Nov 19, 2008.  Field Trip schedule.

The full field trip schedule for the year has been posted. Note there are two or three field trips per month, some on Saturdays and some on weekdays.  Check the Field Trips link in the left side menu.  We may also be starting surveys at Longleaf Pine Preserve.  Check the site for updates.  
Nov 11. 2008.  In Memoriam.

In the bright fall sun on the 10th of November at 11 a.m., a small group of friends gathered to remember Donnadine’s life of service to our community.  They remembered the Corridor 44 fight, the mapping of the canals of New Smyrna Beach, the greyhound retired track dogs, and of course the books to schools.  more..
Nov 6, 2008.  Conservation wins in election.

Florida Amendment 4 Conservation Lands passed by an overwhelming 68%. The amendment exempts lands with conservation easements from property taxes and allows lands managed for water and wildlife benefits to be taxed according to use.  In Edgewater, voters decided to reject the city-backed proposal to do away with the charter restriction of 35 foot height in dwellings. 
Nov 5, 2008.  Donnadine Tree planting set.

We will have a tree planting ceremony in honor of our dear friend Donnadine Miller in Riverside Park, New Smyrna Beach, on Monday, November 10 at 11 a.m.

Donnadine passed from this plane into the light on April 7, 2008.  She was an Audubon member (SEVAS), a community activist, a lovely friend to those who knew her, and a loving wife.

Please join us in this tribute.
Nov 2, 2008.  ECARD says city is too close to developers.

The issue is building height.  Check out the article in the Sunday Daytona News-Journal here, and then vote.
Nov 1, 2008.  November meeting set.

The meeting will held on Wednesday, November 5 at 7  pm at the Edgewater Library.  Samantha McGee, Park Environmental Specialist at St Sebastian River Preserve State Park will talk about Red-cockaded Woodpeckers.  To see her bio, click here. The field trip will be to DeLeon Springs State Park and will depart from the Market Square parking lot in Edgewater at 8 am.  See the eSkimmer for details.  Meetings and field trips are open to the public.
Oct 31, 2008.  November Skimmer is online.

The November issue of the eSkimmer is online.  To see it go here.
Oct 31, 2008.  State concerns over Restoration.

The state of Flolrida is expressing concerns over the expansive Restoration development in Edgewater.  They are the same concerns we have raised.  To see the article in today's issue of the Daytona News Journal, go here.
Oct 26, 2008.  Daytona News-Journal articles on Spruce Creek Preserve.

To see the articles, go here, here, here, and here.
Oct 23, 2008.  Birds in Decline.

BirdLife issued a new international report entitled State of the World's Birds that reveals precipitous declines in populations of many of the world's most familiar birds.  This comes on the heels of the Audubon's 2007 Common Birds in Decline analysis.

The BirdLife report highlights avian losses worldwide. A staggering 45% of common European birds are declining and more than half of the bird species that breed North America and winter in the Neotropics show declining populations over the past 40 years.

To read more of the Audubon report, go here.  To read the entire BirdLife report, go here.  
Oct 22, 2008.  Miami Corporation Farmton Tree Farm.

If you like Restoration and Reflections, you’re going to love Farmton.
Farmton Tree Farm is a 58,000 acre property located west of I-95, starting at Restoration and running south into Brevard County.  It is owned by Miami Corporation and has been managed mainly as a timber operation for over 80 years.  Of note is the fact that Miami Corporation planted the trees on mainly open ground to create the forest that now exists.  As timbering is no longer economical in East Central Florida, the company is looking for other income.

The first of two meetings of the Farmton property “stakeholders” took place Thursday, September 25 at the Brannon Center.  Ken attended the meeting along with Karyn from West Volusia Audubon.  To read Ken’s report, check it out here.
Oct 5, 2008.  You are invited!

Audubon of Florida invites you to join the Climate Action Network.  Receive emails about important legislation on climate change and take advantage of the opportunity to write your legislators aboout your feelings.  For more info, go here.
Oct 4, 2008.  Fall Migratory Bird Count results.

The tally sheet for the count is here.  It is one of a series of citizen science activities we participate in that helps scientists assess the health of the bird population and the environment.  Thanks to all who participated.
Oct 3, 2008.  Changes to by-laws.

At the next meeting we will recommend a couple of changes to the by-laws of the club.  One wil be to change the meeting time and place to "as determined by a vote of the membership" .  We don't need the time and place specified in the by-laws.  In fact, we haven't changed them to reflect our current meeting time and place.  We  will also formalize a policy for including a club only membership so people will have the option of joining just the club or the club through National Audubon.  Check out the current by-laws here.  If you have any other suggestions, please contact me at   
Oct 3, 2008.  Need help with Cracker Creek festival.  

The festival will be held at the Gamble property in Port Orange.  They asked us if we could have folks to lead group bird tours on the 175 acre nature conservancy land in Spruce Creek.  If you are interested, please contact me at .
Oct 3, 2008.  October Skimmer is online.

  Check it out for the club's goals for 2008-09.
Sep 15, 2008. Check the Of Interest link for NEW posts!
Sep 13, 2008.  Hometown news article on Edgewater visioning.

There is a pretty complete article in this week's edition here.  
Sep 10, 2008.  Amendment 4 on November ballot.

Save Land.  Save Wildlife. Vote Yes on 4. Audubon of Florida's Board of Directors voted to endorse and support Amendment 4 relating to conservation lands. It is on the November ballot. If approved by 60% of the voters, will do two things:
    ● Give property tax exemption for land placed in permanent protection.
    ● Direct the Legislature to pass a law to allow land managed for conservation to be taxed according to use.

I urge all our members to support the initiative.  Check out the link in the image for more information.
new stuff  Sep 10, 2008.  Report of Edgewater Visioning meeting.  

The city of Edgewater had a visioning session on Saturday, 6 September at the community center.  The vision was for what Edgewater should look like in 20 years. The folks who are bringing you “Restoration” sponsored it as a freebie to the city.  Check out my report and the challenge to us here.  
Aug 22, 2008.  Dogs at Smyrna Dunes Park.

Today's issue of the Hometown News carries a story about the new Friends of
Smyrna Dunes Park .  It talks about the group educating visitors to the park
about dog etiquette and new rules governing the times when dogs are allowed
on the boardwalk.  The city council is expected to vote on it during the Aug
26 meeting.  There is no mention of the dissent from the Audubon Society.

Here is a link to the article.
Aug 22, 2008.  Edgewater city council approves Restoration.

As noted in the Aug 20 article of the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the Edgewater city council unanimously voted to start the process of permitting the Restoration development.  Most people who spoke supported the development for its ability to energize the city and about its new vision.

Kathy and I presented against the development but we were outnumbered. 

Kathy focused on the fact that the wetlands altered by silviculture are already in use by animals such as bears, deer and bobcats by the tracks they saw.  She also reiterated our request that the conservation village be deleted or sent to phase III. I focused on the impacts of the development on the current citizens of Edgewater. 

Note how the title of the article calls it a "Green Project"!
 Aug 12, 2008.  Dogs at Smyrna Dunes Park update.

The committee that formed after the 2007 decision to close the boardwalk to dogs finished its work and produced it's final report to the city.  It was supposed to be brought up by the mayor in her Mayor's Report at the city commission meeting tonight.  However, because of information received from Audubon, it has been deferred tot he Aug 26 meeting.  It seems that the city and County attorneys need to get together before they proceed.  Check out our email to them here, and the presentation I would have given it it were discussed is here.
Audubon of Florida also weighed in with this letter.
  August 9, 2008.  Conservation Village in Restoration.

One of the 'features' of Restoration is that there will be a 'Conservation Village' in the western portion of the development which will be in closest proximity to the major wildlife, like bears.  The developers promise a program  to educate potential residents about living with bears and how to keep their homes bear safe.  Kathy sent a letter to the developers and to the City of Edgewater expressing our concern about the Conservation Village in Phase I and asked that it be removed totally, or at least moved to phase III.  The August 9, 2008 edition of the Daytona News-Journal carries an article about, and picture of a black bear at a deer feeder near I-95 and State Rd 442.   So yo don't have to go too far into the woods to find bears.  See our letter here.
August 9, 2008.  War brewing between Enviros and Common Man.

A Rant in the Edgewater Hometown News last week talked about a war brewing between the environmentalists and the 'Common Man.'  The writer talked about environmentalists as being obstructionists in the fight to control gas prices and save the economy as if we did not understand the pain the 'common man' was feeling at the pump and in the grocery store. I responded and so did Ken and our rants should appear in the August 15th edition.  This link is to the original rant, my response and Ken's all in the same page.  I encourage you to read the whole page and shout back against these folks.  You don't have to be an environmentalist to see that offshore drilling and drilling in ANWR only serve the politicians and the oil companies.
August 9, 2008.  Update: Edgewater Scrub Jay Habitat at YMCA.

The city of Edgewater promised a controlled burn of about one acre on Sunday, August 2.  There was no fire.  Nor was there an reason given.
August 9, 2008.  Volusia County Public Lands.

Remember Volusia Forever, the program where Volusia County buys lands to keep in trust for us, like LongLeaf Pine Preserve?  Well they really want us to take advantage of them and they are providing guided programs again.  Bonnie Carey, enviromentalist with the County Land Acquisition and Management division sent us an email with the list for  August and September.  

There was also a in a recent issue of the Orlando Sentinel.
 August 9, 2008.  Great News about the Commercial Launch Facility.

All the press reports indicate that our protests were heard.  Kennedy Space Center is in talks with the US Air Force's Canaveral Air Force Station to use their unused sites for the Commercial Launch Vehicle Facility instead of the two environmentally sensitive tracts of land on the Kennedy Space Center.  Congratulations to all who partcipated with their letters and emails as well as their presence at the two "workshops".
July 22, 2008.  SEVAS publishes policy statement on Restoration.

As everyone knows by now, there is a big (with a capital B) development in the works West of I-95 and North of US 442 in Edgewater called “Restoration”.  It will be on a four mile by five mile tract of land and will contain homes for 15-18000 new residents of Edgewater, doubling its current population in just one development.  The policy statement acknowledges the progress made towards making the development "environmentally friendly" but expresses reservations about the impact of such a development on the current population of Edgewater and New Smyrna Beach as well as the loss of habitat and wetlands that will ensue.
July 22, 2008.  New Issues and Projects pages.

Check out the new Issues and Projects pages (links at left).  They provide an executive summary of our projects and issues and provide links to more information.
June 6, 2008.  Longleaf Pine Preserve update.  

Ken sent the report of the final survey for the season and Fern Murphy sent the previous one. They final report is avaiable here.  The final count was 61 species.  It gives us a good start for the next season. Thanks to all who participated.
June 6, 2008.  Scrub Jay habitat update.

Kathy has updated status on the prescribed burn and other maintenance actions on the habitat behind the YMCA.  Follow the link on the new Issues page.  She and her volunteers have also conducted two environmental education sessions at the habitat, one with a second grade group and one with a scout group.  I will post more details subsequently.
May 4, 2008.  Swallow-tailed kite survey reminder.

Help join in the continuing Swallow-Tailed Kite nesting surveys at Restoration DRI !!

When we last visited Restoration about 3 weeks ago, we identified an active nest & sited many other birds.  We anticipate that it is likely a majority of nests may have completed incubation, making it easier to find the nesting areas.  We will be breaking up into teams so as to cause less stress & noise to STK neighborhoods when we find them.  We are pleased to once again have the assistance of Breedlove, Dennis & Associates for mapping, guidance & transportation.

We will meet on Monday, May 12th at 8am just west of the I-95 Edgewater Exit (please BE PROMPT)
We will then continue to Restoration gate & park the cars inside gate.
Bring water, binoculars and be aware that you may be walking in water or thick brush so dress accordingly.

PLEASE RSVP to me if you're coming at this email address.
Please call us if you're running late that morning or change your mind about coming -- my CELL#  is 386-956-1097.  Email is .

All nesting information & coordinates will be passed along to Dr. Ken Meyer at the Avian Research Conservation Institute.

This is a great opportunity to observe & learn about STKs as well as contributing to research about these amazing birds.  Hope to see you there!
April 11, 2008.  Requiescant in Pace, Donnadine Miller.

Dear Friends & Family,
Donnadine passed from this plane into the light at 11:50 Monday morning, April 7.
She was totally at peace. I was holding her hand. Her breathing became shallow and finally she gave up her body and let her soul be taken into the light. I could feel the presence of the angel in the was viable and real.
Her job here is finished and she now has the peace she truly deserves.
I'm sure she will hover nearby until my time has come. Since I'm receptive to such things, I will continue to feel her soul's influence. Lord knows I'll need it.
Donnadine is dead. Long live Donnadine!
Today, to me, April 7, 2008 will be the anniversary of Donnadine's birth.
We will celebrate her life with a service in New Smyrna Beach ( at The Night Swan) and a Requiem Mass in Baltimore at St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church (we were married there).
Everyone will be informed as to the details when plans are finalized.
We thank you all for your kind prayers, thoughts, and attention to us in this very trying journey. You have made this almost unbearable odyssey, bearable.
Let the blessings flow,
Gil Miller

Editor's Note:  Donnadine's spirit lives on in the hearts of the people she touched.  Long live Donnadine!
April 10, 2008.  Pulling water from the St. John's River.

The plan is to pump as much as 262 million gallons of surface water out of the St. Johns River a day during peak flow. The St. Johns River Water Management District claims that it is safe to remove that much water from the river and its tributary, the Ocklawaha River.  To read the full editorial from the Daytona Beach News-Journal, click here.  If you are appalled, go to and sign their petition.  I did.
April 3, 2008.  Longleaf Pine Preserve update.  

Because we don't have anyone available to coordinate the planned April trips, they are cancelled.  The next scheduled trip will be May 9th.
April 2, 2008.  SEVAS election of officers.

The officers were elected for the next year.  President: Don Picard, VP:  none, Treasurer: Bill Cox, Secretary: Jean McNeil, Conservation: Kathy Booth, Publicity: Marsha Cox, Programs: Ken Gunn, Field Trips: Gail Domroski, Membership: Dick Domroski, Newsletter Editor: Gil Miller.  
April 2, 2008.  April eSkimmer is online.

The April eSkimmer is now online.  Get the PDF version here.
March 27, 2008.  Longleaf Pine Preserve Survey conducted.

On March 27, nine club members assembled at the K-Mart lot on SR44 in New Smyrna Beach at 8:00 A.M. and traveled to the west parking area of the preserve.  There they met Richard Harris, Volusia County Environmental Specialist, who opened the access gates to allow vehicle entry to drop off and pick up the birders.  Only the west side of the preserve was worked, partly because of a shortage of people. Their sightings are incorporated into our summary.  The adventure ended about 11:30 A.M

Twenty seven species were identified during this morning and are incorporated in the report. Six more species were added.  The “best” new sightings were the overflight of two Swallow-tailed kites and an Anhinga.
March 24, 2008.  Volusia County wants to manage spoil islands.

In case you hadn’t noticed, Volusia County has surveyed over 200 islands in the Halifax River and Mosquito Lagoon.   You can find the articles from the Dayton Beach News-Journal here and here.

Now they are wondering what to do with them and how to manage them.  It reminds me of the city councilman from Edgewater who wanted to get the spoil islands across from Kennedy Park in Edgewater and put them into the city’s control so they could become part of the city parks system.  According to the councilman, the islands were "mostly uninhabited, save for the occasional camper or sea-bird."

In my response which appeared in the Jan 10, 2005 edition of the News-Journal I said that this is a bad idea which will cost the city a lot of money, and not give a return. People who want to use these islands already do, and the city has no responsibility for them. Let's keep the islands pristine for the "occasional camper or seabird."

To see the full text of my response, click here
March 20, 2008.  Swallow-tailed Kite survey at Restoration DRI.

Karyn Hoffman from West Volusia Audubon is announcing a survey at the DRI on Monday, April 14th at 8:30am (usually lasts til about noon when kite activity dies down).  She asks you to RSVP to so they know you'll be joining them.  Please be PROMPT in your arrival.
We meet just off the Edgewater exit on I-95 (CR 442).  Go west and you'll see our cars on the side of the road. 

For more info and to see her entire email, click here.
March 18, 2008.  Low Impact Development Workshop.    

Kathy has been working with the West Volusia Audubon as they sponsor a Low Imapct Development (LID) workshop for developers and city planners. LID is a method of platting developments which demonstrates sensitivity to the environment. Kathy has invited our elected officials to attend the workshop in Ormond Beach on Monday, March 31st, 8-noon at the Performing Arts Center Blue Room, Second Floor, 399 N. US Highway 1. It would be good for SEVAS members to attend so that we have a good showing of support for our County and City officials who do attend. Send registration of $15, which includes continental breakfast, to Citizens for Ormond Beach, P.O. Box 31, Ormond Beach, FL 32175.  For more information, check out the flyer here.
March 18, 2008.  KSC-CVLC update.

Kathy offers this letter to her congressmen regarding the Kennedy Space Center Commercial Vertical Launch Facility.  She also offers other thoughts which occurred after writing the letter.
March 17, 2008.  Bird inventory of Longleaf Pine Preserve.

County naturalist, Bonnie Cary, asked us if the club would be interested in helping to inventory the bird life at the park.  We agreed that it would be a good idea if we could get sufficient volunteers. The county has bought thousands of acres of lands to keep them in preserves.  It is useful to use them as natural areas and show our appreciation to the county for the purchases and management of them.  Six of us participated in the first survey on March 14th. We, and the West Volusia folks who were conducting a birding tour on the same day, found 45 species.  More surveys are scheduled.  Check out the plan for details and the March 14 report and checklist for results.
March 16, 2008.  Myrtle Park butterfly garden.

On Tuesday, 22 Jan 08, several of us met with members of the NSB Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), and Lindley’s Nursery at the park at the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Canal Street. The purpose of the meeting was to brainstorm ideas for developing some type of ecological area at the park.  The city is rebuilding Canal Street on the West side of U.S. 1 to the intersection of Myrtle Avenue.  The CRA members wanted to include the park in the rebuilding scheme.  We agreed to spearhead the project and get other groups involved.  We have had several meetings since then.  So far, the NSB Middle School science club is eager to participate and we have leads to FFA groups, scouts and others.  This will involve planning this spring with planting and long term maintenance starting in the Fall.  Contact Don or Ken if you are interested  in  helping. 
March 15, 2008.  Scrub Jay habitat school tours.

Kathy is heading a group of volunteer members to survey the Scrub Jay habitat behind the Edgewater YMCA for use as a field trip opportunity for local schools.  They identified and tagged trees and plants and discussed best ways for presenting the information to elementary and middle school students.  This is a first step in what we hope will become a valuable resource for schools in environmental education. Perhaps the City of Edgewater will be encouraged to restore the scrub jay habitat.  If you are interested in helping, please contact Kathy.
March 11, 2008.  Longleaf Pine Preserve.

We had a great time at the Longleaf Pine Preserve. In case you did not see it, there was a fine article about the preserve in the Daytona News-Journal. See it at

The naturalist, Bonnie Cary, asked us if the club would be interested in helping to inventory the bird life at the park.  We agreed that it would be a good idea if we could get sufficient volunteers. The county has bought thousands of acres of lands to keep them in preserves.  It is useful to use them as natural areas and show our appreciation to the county for the purchases and management of them.

Ken has signed up about a dozen people to count birds at the preserve.  He also returned to the site and developed a plan for the counts. The plan mirrors our Christmas Bird Count. Check out the plan and map here.

Our first count is scheduled for Friday, March 14th.  If you are interested, please contact me at
March 10, 2008.  KSC Launch Facility Update.

I urge everyone to write the NASA/KSC about this proposal.  
Click here to see my email to them.  
March 5, 2008.  Change in March Field Trip.

The march field trip (Sat Mar 8) to Blue Heron water treatment plant is cancelled.  Dick and Gail went there earlier this week and found that the area is overgrown and there are few birds. Instead, we will go on a trip to the Longleaf Pine Preserve, one of the Volusia Forever acquisitions on Friday the 7th.  Meet at the Kmart parking lot on Rte 44 in NSB at 8:00 a.m.  The preserve is just west of Deland on Rte 44.  The trail is 11 miles long but we will use the eco-buggy.  Bring snacks, water and insect repellent.
March 3, 2008.  KSC Launch facility update.

On Thursday, Feb 28, KSC conducted scoping meetings for the proposed Commercial Vertical Launch sites.  Several of us attended either the morning or afternoon meetings at the NSB library.  Check out my update here.
March 3, 2008.  New website on saving Florida's water supplies.

There is a new website on the important issue of saving Florida's water.  It has a lot of up-to-date information on water usage, links to newspaper articles on the subject and ideas for getting involved.  It also has the links and addresses to contact local and state government officials to let them know how you feel.  Check it out here or through the link at the bottom of the left column.  
February 29, 2008.  The March eSkimmer is now on-line.  Click here for the pdf version.
February 23, 2008.  Public Notice  
Future Plans by NASA for New Launch Facility Could Close Portions of  Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

NASA is proposing a new Commercial Launch Facility on 200 acres of Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge which could have significant environmental and visitor impacts.  Merritt Island NWR is an overlay of the Kennedy Space Center and the Refuge manages NASA lands through an agreement.  The agreement allows NASA to withdraw lands for space facilities.  The new facility would result in loss of scrub habitat, loss of wetlands, impact sea turtle nesting due to lighting issues, result in loss of habitat for several endangered or threatened species, and eliminate use of most visitor facilities and programs.
NASA has selected two potential sites for the commercial launch facility.  Site 1 is located within the existing restricted area of Kennedy Space Center, but Site 2 is located in an area currently open to the public.  Either site will have significant environmental impacts; however, Site 2 has the potential to close all areas south of Haulover Canal to the public.

Go to the NASA website

Public comment meetings will be held at the NSB library on Feb 28, 2008 at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
February 22, 2008.  Scrub Habitat education training.

Today, Kathy headed a group of volunteer members to survey the Scrub Jay habitat behind the Edgewater YMCA for use as a field trip opportunity for local schools.  They identified and tagged trees and plants and discussed best ways for presenting the information to elementary and middle school students.  This is a first step in what we hope will become a valuable resource for schools in environmental education.  If you are interested in helping, please contact Kathy.
February 21, 2008.  March Field Trip announced.

Southeast Volusia Audubon will conduct a field trip March 8th to the Blue Heron Wetlands Treatment System. This site is West of Titusville and just South of Hwy 50. The treatment system was designed as a flow-through system that uses aquatic plants to remove nutrients from the effluent. The wetland is divided into seven cells separated by derivable earthen dikes similar to Viera. We should see the common wetland species and hope to see Purple Gallinule.   From there we can stop by Merritt Island for lunch then look for shore birds, or walk the new Pine Flatwoods trail and look for Scrub Jays. All welcome

Bring lunch, snacks, water etc. & bug spray.
February 17, 2008.  March Speaker announced.

Kevin Schweizer of the firm Schweizer-Waldroff Architects, Inc of New Smyrna Beach. Using the Snowden residence in New Smyrna Beach which he designed, Kevin will demonstrate energy production and conservation as well as water reuse and preservation. He will also discuss availability of state and federal assistance for solar power.  Click here for his bio.

The presentation will be given in the DeBarry Room on the third floor of the Utilities Commission Building, 200 Canal Street in New Smyrna Beach. 
January 23, 2008. February Speaker

Our February speaker will be Karen Stauderman the newly appointed Volusia County Urban Horticulture Extension Agent.  Karen will speak to us on the wise usage of water in the Florida home landscape.  Karen was originally scheduled to be our speaker but due to a mis-communication about the timing of the event, Linda Evans was substituted.

Karen was awarded two Bachelor of Science degrees from Oregon State University, one in Horticulture and one in Plant Pathology.   Since moving to Florida, she has worked as a Biological Scientist for the University of Florida, Plant Pathology Department, for 11 ˝ years, stationed at Sanford and at the Apopka Research Station.  She has since spent five years as a science teacher in the Eustis High School.

The event will still be at the NSB Utilities Commission building.
January 21, 2008.  Dogs at Smyrna Dunes Park

Many of you have noticed in the newspapers that Volusia County decided to remove dogs from the boardwalks of Smyrna Dunes Park and require that they and their owners walk on the trail adjacent to the boardwalk.  This decision was made after reports of dogs off leash and several incidents of dogs on or off leash that nipped or bit other users of the park. 

At a recent NSB city council meeting, County Councilman Jack Hayman presented the decision to the city.  Several dog owners made presentations against the county decision and made several compelling points.  The NSB deputy mayor, Randy Richenberg decided to establish a committee of interested citizens to brainstorm the problem and potential solutions in the hopes of revising the county decision.  Since we have a vested interest in the birds nesting and resting in NS Dunes Park, Nancy White volunteered to be our representative on the committee.  Kathy Booth will back her up as necessary.  If you have any input or suggestion we encourage you to contact them.  If you go to the park, bring a camera to document any infractions against the bird nesting areas including dogs off leash.
January 21, 2008.  

January 15, 2008. Identity Crisis –Or, Were we even there?

Well, that's three in a row in just a couple of weeks. Two articles on the Christmas Bird Count (one in the Daytona News-Journal and one in the Observer) and the article in the Orlando Sentinel on our honoring the Bidgood?s with a tree planting ceremony. It can be seen at

You would think that would be good publicity for our organization. Except for one critical part. The Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, which organized and conducted the events, was not even mentioned by name in the articles. In the Bidgood article, Mayor McKay was cited, and so was David Hargrove as President of the Halifax River Audubon. But no mention of us.

Now, I really like and respect David Hartgrove. He is a hard working environmentalist and frankly I don't know how he has time to do all of the great things he does for the effort. But he does not represent the Southeast Volusia Audubon Society.

I guess the implication is clear. The reporters don't know who we are. So if you have an opportunity to interact with reporters, please ask them to include the name of our organization in their article or report.

January 12, 2008. Tag sale results.

The tag sale netted $331.90. We appreciate all the folks who donated items, came out to help, and bought items. Many items not sold are being donated to the Greyhound Pets of America through Donnadine.

December 18, 2007. Announcing the January Speaker.

Gil and Donnadine Miller will present a slide show of their summer trip to the Galapagos and Amazon. As all our membership is aware, Gil is a dedicated and excellent photographer. His pictures and their commentary will be of interest to all.

December 17, 2007. Club sets date for Tag Sale Fund Raiser.

A fund raising yard sale will be held Saturday January 12th at the Oak Hill Flea Market. Lee and Catherine Bidgood donated a number of items when they moved to Gainesville and other SEVAS members have been collecting items for several months.

If you have any items to donate or can spare a couple of hours on Saturday, please call Dick Domroski @ 428-0447 to arrange pick-up of items and scheduling of workers. Five members have already volunteered to help but we could use a couple more. (NO CLOTHING OR LARGE FURNITUES ITEMS PLEASE).

Please tag/price your donated items with a suggested selling price. We can always adjust at time of sale but pre-tagging will reduce volunteer preparation times.
December 15, 2007. Announcing the Northeast Florida Scrub-jay Education and Outreach Workshop

The Northeast Florida Scrub Working Group is looking for enthusiastic individuals willing to participate in scrub-jay conservation and outreach. You are invited to attend a workshop on Saturday, January 19, 2008 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. at the Harris M Saxon Community Center, 2329 California Street, Deltona. The workshop aims to increase awareness and knowledge while promoting conservation of the Florida scrub-jay and its habitat. Please bring a bagged lunch (due to time constraints) and your own coffee cup (for environmental reasons). This workshop is coordinated by the North East Florida Scrub Working Group Education Sub-committee. The sub-committee has members from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida State Parks, the Florida Scrub-Jay Consortium, Inc., and Volusia County Environmental Management. The sub-committee has three objectives: to provide educational outreach for the Florida Scrub-jay; promote conservation of the Florida Scrub-jay and scrub habitat; and to cultivate a regional Florida Scrub-Jay Festival. To get a copy of the proposed agenda, click here.

RSVP by Friday, January 11, 2008 to

December 14, 2007. County meeting on dogs at Smyrna Dunes Park.

The County will hold a meeting of interested parties at the Smyrna Dunes Park on December 17th at 8:00 am regarding the rules allowing dogs at the park. It is the only part of the beach where dogs are allowed, and the only part of the beach where Piping Plovers rest and Wilson's Plovers nest. Allowing dogs to disturb these birds has been one of our concerns for a long time. If you can, please get out there and tell County officials to keep dogs off the beach. An alternative would be to allow dogs on other parts of the beach where driving is allowed.

December 8, 2997. Bidgoods feted at tree planting ceremony.

In the presence of over 25 friends and long-time associates, Lee and Catherine Bidgood were honored at a tree-planting ceremony in their honor at Riverside Park in New Smyrna Beach on December 6th, 2007.

"It is fitting that we should honor the Bidgoods with this ceremony and a tree that will be a lasting testimonial to their efforts to make SE Volusia an environmentally safe place in which to live and raise a family," said President Don Picard. Don went on to highlight some of Lee's most important work including convincing the Volusia County School Commission to choose Integrated Pest Management instead of the indiscriminate use of herbicides and pesticides that they were previously using in our school yards. The Bidgoods were among the first to install solar photovoltaic panels on their roof top as part of a program launched by the Utilities Commission of NSB. Don also noted the contributions to the club by Catherine who was Secreatry, Membership Chair, and Skimmer editor before computers.

Mayor Sally McKay remarked that she had known the Bidgoods for many years and was among the people to whom Lee showed their solar panels and Ms. McKay had them installed on her new home.

Also present was James Hathaway, city commissioner for zone 3.

Afterwards, guests enjoyed a reception at the Night Swan B&B.

December 4, 2007. Christmas Bird Count Press Release.

As part of the National Audubon Society's 108th Christmas Bird Count (CBC), the Southeast Volusia Audubon Society will conduct its count on the 29th of December 2007. Participants will meet at the Brannon Center (on Riverside Drive in NSB, just south of Canal Street) at 7:00 a.m. to start the count, and again at 5:30 p.m. at the Main Street Grill for dinner and tally the results. Dick and Gail Domroski are coordinating the event this year so contact them at 428-0447 if you are interested in participating.

To read the full press release as well as important information from National Audubon about the CBC, click here.

November 29, 2007. December speakers announced.

Our speaker for the December meeting will be Linda Evans of the University of Florida Extension Services located at the Volusia County Fairgrounds office on State Road 44. This office is dedicated to Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences and is there to help US - the taxpayers of Volusia County. Linda's formal education is in the field of Chemistry and she is a trained Clinical Chemistry Specialist. She ran her own business for ten years before starting with the University of Florida, Volusia County Extension in 1998 as a Program Assistant in their "Yards and Neighborhoods" program. Since 2000 her title has been Management Specialist which covers a wide range of topics and responsibilities including giving presentations to groups such as ours.

Linda's topic will be "What's Bugging You?" She will discuss the good, the bad and the ugly of the insects which we encounter in our yards, gardens and travels. Linda is the producer of a really neat display on the subject which you may have seen in their office over the last several months.

We will also have a brief presentation by a representative from the "Florida Hometown Democracy" initiative explaining the reason for their action and the current status of their petition. PLEASE BRING YOUR SIGNING PENS!

November 16, 2007. December Field Trip Schedule Change.

The December field trip will be to Hawks Preserve in Edgewater on December 8th.. It is behind the YMCA on Turgot Ave. Here is a chance to learn about a Scrub Jay habitat in our own back yard. The Florida Scrub Jay is listed as a threatened species under the Threatened and Endangered Species Act. Volunteers will talk about the scrub habitat, the plants and other animals that live there, the special requirements needed for Scrub Jays to live there and why they are no longer there.

For the last year we have been working with the city Director of Parks and Recreation, Jack Corder, to get the city to fulfill its responsibilities to preserve the small Scrub Jay habitat there. They agreed to preserve it as part of a mitigation agreement when the YMCA was built but they failed to live up to the agreement. Their neglect and the failure of the US Fish and Wildlife Service to enforce the terms of the federal mandate resulted in the deterioration of the habitat and the loss of the Scrub Jays that once lived there.

We will see other birds and animals there. Meet at the Market Square parking lot in Edgewater, Ridgewood and US 442 between Dunkin Donuts and Chik-fil-A. Trip leaves at 8:00 a.m.

November 8, 2007. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

At the November 7th meeting, Jean McNeil volunteered to be the club's Secretary. We really appreciate your volunteering for this important position.

October 21, 2007. Speaker announced for November 7th meeting.

The guest speaker will be Adam Kent who is employed as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)'s Scrub-Jay Conservation Coordinator. Adam's interest in nature started when he was a small child. A love of
sharing his passion about the natural world led him to travel and lead nature
tours across the hemisphere from Alaska to southern South America. He has
written a guide to the shorebirds of Baja California, co-authored a paper
about birds of the Lake Titicaca region of Bolivia, and made recordings in
southern Mexico that led to the description of a new species of bird, the
Nava's Wren.

While with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC),
Adam developed Bird Detective, a bird-identification activity guide for
Florida that was later adopted by Seattle Audubon. Also with the FWC, Adam
worked on the Great Florida Birding Trail and made bird lists for many of the
state's Wildlife Management Areas.

August 31, 2007. Speaker announced for October 3d meeting.

The guest speaker at the October 3d meeting will be Mr. Eric West, who will speak on the unreasonable development in East Central Florida. Eric is an environmental advocate who is well known for studying the issues, proposing alternative solutions and rebutting developers' arguments with a passion. His views regularly run counter to the claims and desires of Volusia County Council, Saint Johns River Water Management District, and other local governments, not to mention Florida's land developers. Click Here to read his bio as well as a letter he wrote in response to "The Final Report of the Committee for a Sustainable Treasure Coast." This was distributed to several members of the media, Volusia County Council members and other local leaders. Mr. West will speak on the subjects of widespread development, our finite water resources and the need for awareness on all our parts. He will then open the floor for a question and answer session.

Come and bring a friend(s).

August 25, 2007. Central Florida is gearing up to withdraw millions of gallons of water from the St. Johns River.

Click Here to see important information about Florida's (and Volusia County's) future water supply. It is reproduced from an email by

August 16, 2007. Good News! Florida Stops a Polluter!

Florida's top environmental regulator has upheld a ruling that makes International Paper stop polluting Perdido Bay near Pensacola. Maybe under Gov. Crist, the Department of Environmental Protection actually will protect the environment. This news was published in an editorial in the Palm Beach Post and announced to us by Linda Young, Director of the Clean Water Network of Florida. Click here to read Linda's announcement and see how you can thank the DEP administrator Michael Sole. You can also read the full editorial.
June 2007: What good is email if they don't answer? President Don Picard sent an email to the Edgewater City Council and Mayor in April asking serious questions about the city's future. The answers impact all citizens of the city, but he has received no response as of the middle of June. Check out his email and ask yourself why they did not respond and why you don't email them to seek answers.
April 2007: It is with mixed emotions of sadness and joy that we say goodbye to Lee and Catherine Bidgood; sadness because they have been such stalwarts in our club and in the environmental movement in general and joy because they are embarking on another stage in their lives, one which they have been planning for some time. More..
February 2007: Volusia Audubon groups sponsor Tomoka Science Fair.

 For the fifth year in a row the three Audubon groups in Volusia County partnered to provide judges and prizes for the Tomoka Regional Science Fair. It was held at the Advanced Technology Center in Daytona Beach on the 20th of January, 2007. More..
January 2007: Christmas Bird Count results announced.

President Don Picard thanked all who participated in the 107th Annual Christmas Bird Count. The weather conditions were not the best, however, the overall result was phenomenal. More...



Young people are the key to the future of our country. It is their inheritance we are spending and they need to care about how carefully we are stewarding it. They have a great stake in it. Please help us with your financial support.
Audubon Adventures provides classrooms with environmental education prrograms. They cost about $50.00 per class. Will you sponsor a class?
Books to Schools. We are providing environment oriented books to four schools in the area this year at a cost of $350.00 per school. Will you help?
Volunteers. Your help with any of our activities is needed. The more volunteers we have, the less each of us has to do.
Join us!Check out this page for an application.