Why Sperry-Galligar Audubon Society?
A new Audubon chapter has evolved out of the SouthEast Kansas Society. Our critical focus will be on birds and their habitat, in addition to other elements of the natural world. We wanted to become generally associated with Pittsburg State University - specifically, with the Biology Department, because of their professional status and educational capacity. Also, we believed it was important to give members, guests and the public an opportunity to attend Audubon chapter meetings. If Audubon chapter activities cannot be made readily available to the public - for attending monthly meetings, field trips, etc. - we are not be achieving our mission.
Why Pittsburg Kansas?
After several discussions with the directors of Southeast Kansas Audubon Society, the members voted to assign the new chapter the Kansas counties of Bourbon, Crawford and Cherokee, as a territory to solicit members and develop programs. Pittsburg is centrally located in the territory and is served by US Highway #69, from its northern, to its southern limits of the territory. The combined population of the three counties is approximately 73,000. Nearly, 21,000 of the population is located in Pittsburg, and, Frontenac, Kansas; not including, approximately, 6,000 students at Pittsburg State University. The most current membership information from National Audubon, reported 87 National members in the territory; of which, 40 resided in the Pittsburg area. For various reasons only six of these members, regularly, attended monthly meetings of Southeast Kansas Audubon Society.
Why did we decide to form a New Chapter?
In addition to the forgoing positive statistics, we presented a series of six birding seminars, designed and led by Dr. Steve Ford, during the period of September 1998 to January 1999. A total of 91 individuals attended one, or, more of the seminars; and, the average attendance for each meeting was over 50 people. Based on the enthusiastic public response, we were confident that an Audubon chapter based in Pittsburg, could be successful. A steering committee was formed; and, officers were elected to draft a constitution and by-laws; and, select a chapter name -- to be presented to potential members for approval, at an organizational meeting, on February 25,1999. Sixty-four people attended that meeting.
Why did we select the name of "Sperry-Galligar Audubon Society"?
Doctor Theodore Sperry and Doctor Gladys Galligar were a devoted couple; and, two of the most unique persons ever to call Pittsburg home. Gladys Galligar was a strong biology professor in her own right, and, designer of their home. Together they constructed a natural habitat, called “Paradocs”, which remains today - from an acre of abandoned strip-mine land. Theodore Sperry's reputation was national in scope. He was referred to as “Father of Prairie Restoration”, for his landmark efforts with Aldo Leopold, in Wisconsin, during the 1930's. He was a charter member of The Nature Conservancy, and, president of both - the Kansas Ornithological Society, and, the Kansas Wildflower Society.
Why are we optimistic about the success of Sperry-Galligar Audubon?
We have in excess of forty, new members; and, qualified as a provisional National Audubon Chapter.
Chapter meetings from the February 25, 1999 formation meeting, to present, had an average attendance of forty-four people.
In support of Pittsburg State University, we have been an advocate, before the city of Pittsburg’s zoning commission, for maintaining the character of the Sperry property as a natural sanctuary for educational purposes. We have made a commitment to do hands-on work, in this effort.
We have established Blue Bird Trails containing a total of over 65 blue bird houses. Records on bluebird fledgling were exhibited at the Crawford County Fair.
Educational exhibits and programs for the 1999/2000 school year are being designed, and, will be disbursed to libraries and schools in the entire territory, and Greenbush.
We have constructed a feeder station with big bluestem grass as a background, for the birds; to be used by the teachers of the young children attending the Family Resource Center in Pittsburg. This station provides a good place to observe nature, and, use for related educational activities. We intend to expand these activities to the entire territory. Can we have your help? Come join in the friendly and informative meetings, with people who share a common interest in understanding the natural world. You will feel good about what you have done to enhance your own life, and, to help raise public appreciation for the values of nature!