Highlights from the February 3rd board meeting

  • Tom and Cindy Roberts were voted onto the Board of Directors for a 1-year term.  They also joined the Education Committee and will assume the role of Co-Chairs. Welcome!
  • Jake Bramante presented info about the characteristics, benefits, and issues related to using Google for Nonprofits for communicating, storing and sharing documents, and scheduling meetings and events.
  • Joe Batts stepped down as the Treasurer for FAS.  Many thanks for your years of service Joe! The Board approved a motion for Rod Wallette to serve as the Treasurer until the term ends in May 2020.
  • Denny Olson is starting work on the Birds of Prey Festival (Sept), and the Road Scholar classes (July in GNP). Watch for volunteer opportunities to help with these and/or to become an Ambassador for the Education program!
  • The Grants Committee is working on our application for the Great Fish fundraising event, Gael Bissell is working to renew our arrangement with the Forest Service for Jewel Basin Hawk Watch, our representatives are working on a new lease arrangement with DNRC for OSNA, and the field trip committee is setting up spring/summer trips. It’s a busy time of year, so watch for more news about each of these.

FAS Meeting room changed for April — still the same for March

Our April public meeting room has been moved to The Gathering Place at the northeast end of the Gateway West Mall—not far from the usual meeting room.

Nongame Wildlife Tax Check-off

When filling out your Montana tax form this year, think “wildlife” by donating to the Nongame Wildlife Program, found on Form 2, page 10, under Voluntary Contributions. If your taxes are prepared, tell your accountant that you want to donate to wildlife! Your contributions are tax deductible on next year’s return. Look for the soaring Bald Eagle in the instruction booklet. Montana has more than 500 species of “nongame” animals that benefit from public support each year at tax time. Since 1983, the check-off has contributed over $27,000 annually to this important wildlife program.

Monitoring the Majestic Heron: A call for citizens to help keep count!

Montana Audubon and Montana Natural Heritage Program are partnering for state-wide coverage of annual heron rookery surveys. Because it is statewide, we need help everywhere, so you are sure to be near a site of interest. Data collection is simple and uses the Survey 123 platform available on any smart device!

Signing up is easy! For more information or to receive project outreach materials, contact Carmen Borchelt: cborchelt@mtaudubon.org; 406-443-3949 or Amy Seaman: aseaman@mtaudubon.org; 406.210.9449


Another election will soon be upon us: the one for new FAS Board of Directors members. At the annual meeting in May, FAS will elect a Secretary and Treasurer as well as new Director positions. Please start thinking about some people that you would like to see guide Flathead Audubon in the near future. The person who sat next to you at the last meeting is likely a good choice. And the person sitting in your seat is also a good choice! If you know of someone who would be a good leader, please contact Bob Lee (270-0371 or RML3@centurytel.net. Someone from the Nominations Committee will talk with them about roles and responsibilities and get hopefully them on the ballot. And anyone that would like to serve on the Nominations Committee should also contact Bob.

Native Plant Society Meeting

Native plant landscaper Kathy Ross will discuss The Dynamic Relationship of Native Plants, Insects and Birds at the March meeting of the Flathead Valley Chapter of Montana Native Plant Society, Wednesday March 18, 7:00 PM. Drawing on the research of Dr. Doug Tallamy, Kathy will talk about why we need our native insects and the vital role native plants play in their survival. She will also offer suggestions for landscaping practices with native plants in order to promote biodiversity and provide healthy environments for humans and birds. We can make a difference in our backyards and landscapes!

The meeting will be in the North Valley Community Hall, located at 235 Nucleus Ave, Columbia Falls. Please bring your dinner and join us before the program at 5:30 to help plan upcoming Flathead Chapter events.

West Valley Naturalists Meeting

The West Valley Naturalists will meet in the Middle School Commons Area of West Valley School on Monday March 2 at 7 PM. We will hear from Mike Koopal of the Whitefish Lake Institute and Ryan Richardson from River Design Group. They will share their research about the geomorphology of Lost Creek in the West Valley area and the “mystery” of Tally Lake. They will also share information about aging septic systems as a pollution source. This event is free and all are welcome. There will be guides at the front entrance of West Valley School to help you find your way to the Commons area.

In addition to the March 2nd program, West Valley Naturalists are thrilled that Derrick Rathe will be the presenter for our March 11th program. Derrick, currently the Park Ranger at Lone Pine, Lake Mary Ronan and West Shore State Parks as well as an FAS Board member, will break down some of the myths about living with the large mammals we have in NW MT such as Bears, Mountain Lions, Elk and Deer. This program will also be held in the Middle School commons at West Valley School and will begin at 7 PM. All are welcome.