Last Chance Audubon Society
Promoting understanding, respect, and enjoyment of birds and the natural world
through education, habitat protection and environment advocacy.
Christmas Bird Count
Birding in the Helena Area
Natural History Lecture Series
Photo credits - Bob Martinka
LCAS web site funded by a bequest from the estate of Nancy Tunnicliff
NATURAL HISTORY LECTURE SERIES
Every March LCAS sponsors a lecture series on a topic of general interest. The theme for this year's Natural History Lecture Series is Missouri River Breaks. Chapter board members and organizers of the annual March series are Don Skaar and Brian Shovers. The Missouri River Breaks still largely as Lewis and Clark saw it. It is a world class natural area and Don and Brian have enlisted four prominent experts on "The Breaks" to share their knowledge with the Helena community. The admission is free for the lecture series but donations are welcome to defray speaker expenses. Every Thursday beginning March 7 through March 28 the public is invited to the Montana Historical Society at 225 North Roberts, 6:30 - 8:00 PM, to hear talks about the Missouri River Breaks.
March 7, 2013
"Black-footed ferret recovery, bringing back one of North America's rarest mammals" Randy Matchett, Senior Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, Lewistown, MT.
Black-footed ferrets were thought to be extinct in the late 1970's. Miraculously, a remnant population was discovered near Meeteetse Wyoming in 1981. The population numbered just over 100 animals when diseases began devastating the population and their prairie dog habitat. The remaining 18 ferrets were brought into captivity and a captive breeding program was begun. Ferrets have since been reintroduced at nearly 20 sites ranging from Canada to Mexico. Many challenges remain. This presentation will cover efforts in Montana that began with the first reintroduction in 1994 as well as national and international efforts.
March 14, 2013
"Life history and ecology of spiny softshell turtles (Apalone spinifera hartwegi) on the Missouri River in Montana" Brian Tornabene, Fish and Wildlife Management Masters Student, Montana State University - Bozeman
The ecology of western spiny softshell turtles in Montana, where they are at the northern extent of their range and a state Species of Concern, is poorly known. We described spiny softshell seasonal habitat use, spatial and temporal trends in movement, timing of nesting, and nesting and basking behavior in a 60-mile reach of the Missouri River from 2009 to 2012. We also investigated the influence of natural and anthropogenic factors on the ecology of the species and hope that this information can guide and enable the conservation of this species.
March 21, 2013
"Magnificent Journey, A Geologic River Trip with Lewis & Clark through the Upper Missouri River Breaks". Otto Schumacher, a retired geologist who worked for the BLM In Lewistown, MT prior to going to work for the U.S. Bureau of Mines in Spokane. He co-authored a book with Dr. Lee Woodward on Missouri River geology.
The landscape of the upper Missouri River Breaks has changed little since Lewis and Clark's journey upriver in 1805. Mr. Schumacher will continue Lewis' explorations by providing a geologist's interpretation of the spectacular scenery of the Upper Missouri Breaks National Monument. Attendees will be encouraged to share Lewis' romantic view of the river valley, but to broaden their vision to include an appreciation for the manner in which geologic processes have conspired to lay the foundation for its stark beauty, its history, and its flora and fauna. This presentation will appeal to Lewis and Clark enthusiasts, river travelers, and anyone else who shares an interest in the natural and cultural history of the Missouri River Breaks.
March 28, 2013
"Bird communities along the Missouri River - what have we learned from long-term monitoring?" Kristina Smucker, Assistant Director, Avian Science Center, University of Montana.
Riparian habitats support the most diverse bird communities of any habitat type in Montana - more than half of our breeding bird species use the resources along rivers and streams to raise their young. In 2003, the Avian Science Center at the University of Montana initiated bird surveys along the Madison & Missouri Rivers to monitor population status and trends for riparian bird species, evaluate riparian conditions using bird communities, and identify critical habitats for protection and restoration. Last summer we conducted counts at long-term monitoring stations for the third time and we now have enough data to begin looking for patterns and listening for stories.