From the Board

by Jim Rychwalski

Dancing Crane JohnWinnie maybeAs an avid bird watcher and naturalist Montana is an awesome state to live in. It gives you the opportunity to explore a multitude of different ecosystems with its resident birds and wildlife not to mention the flora and fauna that reside in these areas. To compliment outdoor field trips a number of different organizations present informative talks on a multitude of topics during the year. These range from information on a specific bird or wildlife species to environmental issues and their impact on habitat and biological diversity. There are also lectures and seminars on plant identification and the medicinal properties of plants as well as programs given by award winning photographers and explorers through multi-media presentations from the around the world.

With that said I find the fall to be one of the most rewarding times of the year to enjoy these opportunities. Just in the past few weeks from September 9th to September 22nd I attended a great presentation on Sandhill Cranes given by the West Valley Naturalists and the Flathead Land Trust along with a bike trip to view these magnificent birds. An informative seminar was given on Wild Horse Island Bighorn Sheep at FVCC which included the history of the island, management of the sheep and wild horse population and disease control in maintaining healthy numbers.

Attending Raptor Day at Lone Pine State Park I learned about the amazing Peregrine Falcon with the opportunity to view several of Montana’s birds of prey. A great Flathead River Float trip sponsored by the Flathead Land Trust gave us an insight into the activities related to existing and future conservation projects along the river. At our Flathead Audubon meeting acclaimed nature photographer Tom Ulrich shared with us his stock photography from around the world including the Pantanal. FVCC also sponsored a seminar given by professional photographer Nick Fucci on his trip to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia sharing images of the land and it’s amazing wildlife and birds.

These were just a few of the opportunities to learn more about the amazing habitats that exist in Montana and around the world. My only regret is that I do not have enough time to do it all!