WSO is launching a program to strengthen its statewide presence, increase the diversity of our membership and build a more unified advocacy network for birds and birding. The newly minted Regional Coordinator Program hopes to recruit talented and passionate volunteers from all 72 counties to serve as regional liaisons to WSO.
Our roster of volunteers is growing every day. It already includes close to 20 birders from across the state who are lending their talents and expertise to help Wisconsin’s birds, and to connect WSO with every citizen who would like to learn more about the state’s great natural resources. But we need more members’ help to reach our goal of covering every county with a named Regional Coordinator.
The program grew out of a recognized need to expand WSO’s outreach to all Wisconsin residents. The program’s goal is to provide an opportunity for dedicated bird enthusiasts and their local birding organizations to share their projects, events and conservation efforts with WSO’s statewide membership.
WSO hopes that our Regional Coordinators will be the eyes, ears and voice of WSO, apprising the WSO Conservation Committee of urgent conservation issues in their area and helping WSO to coordinate action if needed. A recent example of this coordinated effort was WSO’s call to our members to help stop the Granite Peak Ski Area expansion at Rib Mountain State Park.
Our Regional Coordinators not only will help ensure that WSO’s mission to conserve birds is on track in their region, they’ll also share their love of those birds by introducing their fellow birders to their favorite local bird haunts. Starting this fall, Regional Coordinators will be leading field trips for WSO members and non-members alike.
Plans already are in the works for trips to Zeloski Marsh in Jefferson County, Yellowstone Lake State Park in Lafayette County, the Manitowoc Impoundment in Manitowoc County, Lake DuBay in Portage County, Calumet County Park in Calumet County, and Red Arrow Park in Marinette County. Details for these trips and others will be posted on the WSO website and our Facebook Page beginning in September. Those interested in joining a trip are encouraged to keep checking in for updates.
Another exciting feature of the program is the launch of WSO field trips geared specifically to beginning birders. These will begin next spring. Regional Coordinators already are brainstorming ideas for outings, including trips to Collins Marsh in Manitowoc County, Peshtigo Point in Marinette County, and Dorro Couche Lake in Adams County.
While there are still plenty of counties yet to cover, WSO is pleased to welcome our current roster of Regional Coordinators:
Adams County – Richard Wagner
Calumet County – Dar Tiede
Dane County – Melissa Kesling and Mary Murrell
Eau Claire, Chippewa and Dunn Counties – Steve Betchkal and Jeanine Polk
Fond du Lac and Sheboygan Counties – Jeff Baughman
Green and Lafayette Counties – Rebecca Gilman and Charles Harmon
Green Lake County – Tom Schultz
Jefferson County – Aaron Stutz
Kenosha County – Heather Emery (an additional coordinator is sought for Kenosha County)
Manitowoc County – Joel Trick
Marathon County – Dan Belter
Marinette County – Joan Campbell
Portage County – Rob Pendergast
Richland County – Barbara Duerksen
Vernon, Juneau, Monroe and La Crosse Counties – Kelly Rueckheim
Don’t see your county on the list? Or see a coordinator with several counties to cover? Why not join us? Serving as a Regional Coordinator offers volunteers a chance to share their knowledge and love of birds in a meaningful way.
For information on how to become a Regional Coordinator, contact Myles Hurlburt at: firstname.lastname@example.org