2023 Annual Meeting & Student Presentation

by Jun 5, 2023News0 comments

Black-capped Chickadee by Bedford Audubon member Barbara Phillips.

Annual Meeting for Members

Thursday, June 8 @ 6:30pm

Katonah Village Library

The Annual Meeting for members begins at 6:30pm. After a brief year-end review presented by Board president Susan Fisher, our Board elections will take place. Two candidates are running for open board positions and one current board member is up for reelection. Bedford Audubon members in good standing are eligible to vote in the election. If you are a current member and can’t attend the Annual Meeting virtually, you can vote by proxy. Please email Bill Cavers  to request a proxy (or if you have questions about your membership status).

Two candidates are running for a first term:

Melanie Brocklehurst has chaired the Program Committee for two years, and has been leading the Bylane Book Club since 2018. A native of the UK, she “found” Bedford Audubon after moving to Katonah in 2013, and her eyes and ears were opened to the birds on her first Third Thursday walk. A passionate advocate for the Bedford Audubon mission of connecting people to nature, you may have met her at a community event, or on one of our many workshops and programs in the past few years. Melanie currently works as a Reference Librarian at Lewisboro Library, and prior to moving to the US had a career in libraries across various sectors in London. With an undergraduate degree in Applied Biology, her love of nature has come full circle since becoming involved with Bedford Audubon.

Caesar Bryan has lived close to Bylane Farm on Todd Road, Katonah for over twenty years with his wife, Gail . As a neighbor of Bedford Audubon, he has spent considerable time walking the trails of the Parker and Ramsey Hunt Sanctuaries.

Caesar grew up in the West Indies and Ireland and was educated in England. Shortly after qualifying as a Barrister, he moved  to the US and is a portfolio manager for an asset management company based in Rye, New York.

He has three married children, two live locally and one lives in London.

One current Board member is up for re-election:

Ian MacLean is finishing up his first 3-year term on the Board of Directors. He has served on the Executive Committee as Secretary for the last two years and on the Properties Committee. Ian is active at Bedford Audubon community and special events, and will continue his committee work to improve our sanctuaries.

Public Lecture

Thursday, June 8 @ 7:00pm

(Directly following the Annual Meeting)

Regeneron WESEF Award-winning Students

Julien Amsellem & Michael Stoica

Julien and Michael, winners of the Bedford Audubon Award at the Westchester Science and Engineering Fair (WESEF), will present their science research projects at this very special event. Bedford Audubon’s awards go to scholars whose research projects best exemplify our mission and purpose “to promote conservation and protection of wildlife through education, advocacy, nature study, and/or ornithology.”

Julien Amsellem 

A Study of Birds of Hillside Woods: A Comparative Analysis.
In the past 50 years, North America has seen more than 29% of its bird species disappear.  Simultaneously, North American white-tailed deer populations have boomed, invasive plants have thrived, and human activities have continued to expand, all negatively impacting bird populations and diversity.  This study collected data for nearly a year on bird species and behavior in Hillside Woods and Park, a typical Northeastern hardwood forest in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.  Specie counts and bird sightings were found to be higher than in a previous multi-year study, but notably fewer understory species were seen (birds thriving in smaller trees and shrubs).  This decline is likely due to the abundance of deer in the woods leading to a decline in understory plants. Through this study, efforts for bird conservation could be seen to include control of local deer populations.

Michael Stoica

A Novel Approach to Diagnosing Ash Borer Infestation: The Use of a Portable Gas Sensor to Measure VOC Emissions of Ash Trees
Ash trees (Fraxinus) are being threatened to near extinction in the US by the emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle originating from Asia. Once infested, a tree can only be saved by pesticidal treatment, but detection is difficult.  It’s either harmful to the tree or it involves expensive, laboratory reliant gas chromatography technology that detects a tree’s changes in gas emissions due to infestation. This study aimed to determine whether an affordable and easy-to-use gas sensor, an Arduino-connected Adafruit SGP40 gas sensor, can be utilized for detection.  This study sampled the VOC emissions from the inner bark layer of 19 non-infested and 15 infested ash trees.  Its findings were hopeful.  Gas emissions from the majority of non-infested ash were found to be higher than gas emissions from the infested ash.  Future research should determine whether the results can be replicated with a larger sample size and whether the sensor can detect infestation in trees that do not yet have visible signs of infestation.


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