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For Immediate Use                                                                                               Contact: Alison Sheehey, (760) 378-2531
October 29, 2007                                                                                                                

Audubon Celebrates 10 years at the Kern River Preserve

Weldon, CA. - In 1997, The Nature Conservancy was looking for the right organization to take over ownership of the Kern River Preserve. After interviewing several land stewardship organizations, Audubon won the privilege to hold the preserve. In March 1997, Reed Tollefson transferred to Audubon from the Nature Conservancy in anticipation of the transfer of the deed. Escrow closed and the deed to the 1,127-acre Kern River Preserve was transferred from The Nature Conservancy to the National Audubon Society on November 25, 1998.

The Nature Conservancy has never regretted transferring the preserve to Audubon and with Reed remaining at the helm, the preserve has just gotten bigger and better. Since taking over the preserve each year we have celebrated our volunteers and donors contributions to keeping our outreach programs going.

On Saturday and Sunday, October 27-28, 2007, thirty-three members of Audubon Kern River Preserve joined our annual Donor Appreciation Weekend to learn about recent happenings at the preserve and to celebrate Reed and the preserve's tenth anniversary with Audubon.

We started the day with a continental breakfast at the preserve headquarters and a nature walk led by Reed. After the walk, the group convened at our Sprague Ranch building for lunch and awards. Dan Taylor, Audubon California's State Policy Director, presented Reed with a Certificate from Audubon thanking him for his ten years of excellent service in managing the Kern River Preserve.

Every few years either a volunteer or staff member is recognized for their contribution to the preserve. This year we recognized the husband and wife team of Bill and Birdie Foster as our Volunteers of the Year. Birdie is the organizer of the preserve's bird feeding team and performs so many vital functions that many of the outreach functions at the preserve would languish without her solid dedication. Her husband, Bill is one of our top volunteers in his own right. He leads the Pond Turtle headstart project and helps with many of the landscaping projects around the preserve. Bill and Birdie were presented with a beautiful engraved crystal award, some items from Audubon and a gift certificate.

After the luncheon, Bill Foster gave the group a tour of the turtle enclosure he and the turtle team built this year. He then gave a demonstration on how to mark and record data on a live turtle. Everyone was really fascinated in the efforts of our terrific turtle team (read and see photos of their efforts on our turtle pages).

A walk to one of the preserve's Native American village sites was the next order of the day. Fifteen people hiked to Ytiamup, a Tubatulabal village used until they were forcefully displaced by settlers and the California Cavalry in the late 1800's. Don Storm, archeologist for the BLM in Ridgecrest helped to interpret some of the bedrock mortars, metates, pestles, and other flakes of the living past.

A no-host dinner followed with 15 people attending at Sierra Vista Restaurant.

The next day, guests were given two options. A driving visit to various Audubon properties and recently acquired lands by our cooperators with Reed Tollefson or a birding trip around the Kern River Valley, led by Susan Steele and Alison Sheehey. The result of the birding trip was a county-bird for Susan, which was quite a thrill for all in attendance (Glaucous-winged Gull).

Thanks to the following people for helping make the 10th Anniversary Celebration special: Katie Alheim, Darrell Barnes, Lucy Clark, Birdie Foster, Bill Foster, Barbara Coley, Roger Coley, Bill Cooper, Chana Cortez, Cal French, Lettie French, Bruce Garlinger, Ron Gillentine, Clyde Golden, CleoBell Heiple-Tice, Jeff King, Denise LaBerteaux, Bob Lowe, Marya Miller, Jacqueline Morgan, Don Morrison, Rich O'Neil, Nancy Robinson, Rob Robinson, Ellen Schafhauser, Alison Sheehey, Holly Sorenson, Sheri Spiegal, Bob Steele, Susan Steele, Don Storm, Dan Taylor, Pam Taylor, Sid Tice, Reed Tollefson, and Sandra Wieser.

The success we have enjoyed is a result of Audubon California's generous members. Our continued support will depend on the members of Audubon Kern River Preserve's ability to attract a similar level of support from people like you. Please consider becoming part of our history by becoming a member of the Audubon Kern River Preserve. The preserve is open to the public every day of the year, including holidays, from dawn until dusk. Thank you.

For over 100 years Audubon has been protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Our national network of community-based nature centers and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of areas sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all ages and backgrounds in positive conservation experiences.

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