Welcome - Bienvenidos!
The Southwestern New Mexico Audubon Society serves communities in four counties;
Silver City, Deming, Lordsburg, Glenwood, Cliff, Reserve, the Mimbres Valley, and the Gila National Forest.
Learn more about the Goals, Advocacy & Action your
→ SWNM Audubon Membership supports!
SWNMAS to Hold Elections at Annual Meeting/Picnic
Please join us for the annual potluck picnic at the Gomez Peak Picnic Pavilion on Friday, September 8th.
We will begin gathering at 4pm for birding and conversation. Plan to eat at 5pm. Please bring a dish to share.
After sharing food, we will have a short meeting to vote on two proposed motions, as well as the election of officers.
Motions to Change By-Laws
- Motion 1: Replace the existing Treasurer / Membership positions with 2 elected Board positions: Treasurer and Membership
- Motion 2: Eliminate the Publicity position (move responsibilities to Secretary and Communications)
Board Member Elections
Slate of officers to consider for elected positions:
- Treasurer- pending
- Membership — Susy Slade
- Secretary — Dave McDonald
Appointed (non-elected) Board Positions:
- Programs/ Events — Megan Ruehmann & Emily Pollom
- Education — Jackie Blurton
- Conservation — *pending
- Communications — Heidi Erstad & Patricia Taber
Leaving the SWNMAS Board is Rachelle Bergmann, current Treasurer/Membership and past Secretary. We are so grateful for her efforts over the years!
Nominees are also accepted on the floor. If you enjoy our offerings throughout the year, please consider joining the board! There are numerous ways to contribute your specific talents.
New Mexico and Arizona Audubon Council Meeting
by Megan Ruehmann
This past April 23-25th, SWNMAS had the pleasure of hosting the first ever joint meeting of the New Mexico and Arizona Audubon Councils here in Silver City! Councils serve the purpose of connecting Chapter leaders with one another, creating opportunities to learn from each other, collaborate, and brainstorm for the future of our birding communities. Since the formation of the regional Audubon Southwest, it was fitting for us to meet the Arizona Chapter leaders, many of whom share similar conservation issues and even watersheds!
New Mexico had representatives from Mesilla Valley, Sangre de Cristo, Central NM, and SWNMA chapters. Arizona had representatives from White Mountain, Prescott, Desert Rivers, Maricopa, Northern AZ, Tucson, Yuma, and Sonoran chapters. Also in attendance were Jonathan Hayes, Executive Director of Audubon Southwest; Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch Director Steve Prager; Anne Beckett, who represents our region as a National Board Director; and Nadia Rodriguez, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (EDIB) Program Manager for the National Audubon Society.
The Commons was our location for meetings, where we enjoyed the outdoor garden space during breaks and even had wood-fired pizza. Each morning, participants went birding together at some of our favorite locations, including San Vicente, Little Cherry Creek, Gila River Valley and Mimbres River Ranch. Each Chapter presented projects they are involved in, which helped several people connect due to similar efforts. One of the most important and timely topics of the meeting was an open discussion about EDIB concerns and the recent decision of the National Audubon Society to keep the name unchanged.
We were delighted to host these visitors to our area, and everyone seemed to appreciate the diversity of bird life and habitat while exploring our town.
Citizen Science, Gila-style
by Donna Stevens, Director - Upper Gila Watershed Alliance
The Audubon Society has a long history of citizen science, although that term wasn’t used until relatively recently. In 1900, ornithologist Frank Chapman had the vision to begin a new tradition he called the Christmas Bird Census, now known as the Christmas Bird Count. Over more than a century, birders’ keen observational skills have proven to be a tremendous asset to our collective knowledge about bird distribution, migration, and populations. Citizen scientists are volunteers learning about – and protecting – a place close to home. Suppose you’re in the Gila National Forest and you observe a problem that the Forest Service should know about? A rutted road sending sediment into a nearby stream. Livestock or off-road vehicles in a stream. Or, much more happily, you sight a beaver or a rare bird.
The Upper Gila Watershed Alliance (UGWA) is collaborating with the Forest Service on a program for volunteers to record their Gila observations. Using our simple instructions, you can download free Gila NF maps and a data form onto your smartphone or tablet. This short form with simple questions provides a checklist; you’ll log your location and take a few photos. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can borrow UGWA’s tablet that’s ready to go, or, using the traditional map-paper-pencil method, complete our paper form and return it to us.
For any of these options – tablet, smartphone, or paper – UGWA will record volunteers’ data, upload it to the Forest Service database, and follow through with them. You’ll get to do what you love – bird and hike in the Gila – while knowing that your observations, data, and photos are being put to good
As an additional incentive, the first 40 volunteers who commit to monitoring will receive a signed copy of Sharman Apt Russell’s Diary of a Citizen Scientist. Russell won the WILLA Award for Creative Nonfiction and the John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Natural History for this wondrous book, placing her in the celebrated company of such luminaries as Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and David Quammen.
Interested? Please email Donna Stevens, Director of the Upper Gila Watershed Alliance at email@example.com
by Emily Pollom
Discussions are taking place around the world about how birding and birding communities can be more inclusive and accessible to all people. Pursuing these goals is both the right thing to do and will help conserve the birds we love. An organization taking the lead on birding and accessibility is Birdability. From their mission statement: “Through education, outreach and advocacy, Birdability works to ensure the birding community and the outdoors are welcoming, inclusive, safe and accessible for everybody. We focus on people with mobility challenges, blindness or low vision, chronic illness, intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental illness, and those who are neurodivergent, deaf or hard of hearing or who have other health concerns. In addition to current birders, we strive to introduce birding to people with disabilities and other health concerns who are not yet birders so they too can experience the joys of birding.”
One of the most exciting things Birdability is doing that people can participate in is the creation of a crowd-sourced map that details birding locations across the world and documents their accessibility. Participants use a survey form to measure accessibility at sites then enter their results into an online form.
With a quick click of a button, the information is uploaded to the map and available to anyone with internet access! Southwest New Mexico is leading the way with eight birding site surveyed and uploaded to the map.
Know a birding spot that’s not on the map yet? You can help by completing a survey and uploading the information