At this year’s annual meeting, I handed over the gavel to new WSO President Michael John Jaeger. It has been an honor to serve as the leader of WSO for the past two years. During my tenure, WSO has continued to grow and evolve. Part of my focus has been to elevate our profile amongst the broader birding and conservation community. We have sponsored events by our partners at the Wisconsin Wetlands Association, Wild Ones, The Prairie Enthusiasts and the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative.
We have provided financial support to the Natural Heritage Land Trust to develop a unique wildlife viewing platform at Patrick Marsh Wildlife Area in Sun Prairie, to the Urban Ecology Center’s “I Spy…Birds” summer camp, to the Project Passenger Pigeon-sponsored film “From Billions to None: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction,” to Project SNOWstorm to finance two radio-transmitters for Snowy Owl research, and to the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory for organizational support. We have co-led field trips to various natural areas around the state with The Prairie Enthusiasts, Linwood Springs Research Station and the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin.
I believe these alliances are critical both to maintain the relevance of WSO but also to provide a stronger collective voice for conservation in Wisconsin. There is an overwhelming need for organizations like WSO in Wisconsin. With the fate of our environment and natural resources being increasingly decided by those that are big on political agendas and small on scientific training, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose mission connects science and conservation is critical. It is only with your support that we are able to play this important role. Thank you for continuing to support our efforts and please help to spread the word about our great organization!
I would like to give a very special thanks to Michael John Jaeger for his excellent work as vice president over the last two years. Michael John has been involved with many aspects of the organization, particularly with one of our main organizational goals – to advance bird conservation. I believe WSO’s future to be very bright under his leadership and our new Vice President Andy Cassini. I would also like to give my sincere thanks to my predecessor, Carl Schwartz, who I found inspirational and a pure joy to work with.
Although my time as a WSO officer has come to a close, I will continue to volunteer for WSO in a different capacity. After nearly 15 years in the position, Jesse Peterson has announced his retirement as Membership Chair, and I have decided to be his successor. Many thanks to Jesse for his dedication to WSO and I look forward to working with him during this transition.
Thank you to all of our members, and you’ll be hearing more from me soon!
By Kim Kreitinger, Immediate Past President of WSO