Augusta-Aiken Audubon Bi-Monthly Meeting Minutes – July 14, 2022

There were 14 in attendance, in person and virtually, for the July meeting. Chapter President Eric Monaco called the meeting to order at 7 p.m.


Eric introduced program speaker Brandon Heitkamp, Manager of the Silver Bluff Audubon Sanctuary in Jackson, SC.

Brandon provided an update on SBAC activities and accomplishments during the past two years. Due to a financial windfall received by the National Audubon Society, SBAC was able to address some deferred maintenance needs including repair of a levee and purchase some much needed equipment including a Honda ATV. The repair of the levee allowed them to access and timber some longleaf pine stands. Other accomplishments included the construction of a blind for wood stork observation, the erection of a Motus tower to track birds, and the installation of five security cameras at the sanctuary. Brandon said Storks and Corks will be held August 6. Finally, he presented SBAC’s recently-developed Campus Vision and Enhancement Plan which includes improved signage, public restrooms, hardscaping, and sustainable, natural-wood, bird-friendly buildings for meetings and event spaces. He shared conceptual drawings and said the next step is seeking costs for fundraising purposes to make the vision a reality.


The treasurer’s report was previously submitted by Gerald May.

Eric introduced the newly elected officers: President Eric Monaco, Vice President Brandon Heitkamp, Treasurer Gerald May, and Secretary Mary Jo Dawson.

He also announced the following appointed officers who will be approved at an upcoming board meeting, date to be announced: Conservation: Alice Walker, Programs: Doug Walker, Hospitality: Joan Howard, Field Trips: Lois Stacey, Communication/Website/Publicity: Lois Stacey, Mark Chandler, Shane Sherwood, Membership: Alice Walker, Mary Pallon. The Education position is currently vacant.


Eric provided details of a SC Audubon All Chapter Call on June 26, 2022.

Audubon staff present were Jen Tyrrell, Emily Davis, Allyssa Zebrowski, and Julia Dietz.

Chapters on the call were Hilton Head, Upstate, Fripp Island, Blufton, Columbia, Charleston, and Augusta-Aiken.

Audubon staff provided reports including:

  • Additional Motus towers are being considered at Columbia, Huntington Beach, Paris Mountain, Roper Mountain, and Yawkey.
  • Beidler is considering a firefly program in the spring of 2023.
  • Thanks were given to all who participated in Climate Watch.
  • Audubon has hired a new Conservation Director Sherri Fields and a search is underway for a new Executive Director following the departure of Justin Stokes. He now works for National Bird Friendly Communities.
  • Shorebird nesting updates were provided for the SC coast.
  • Julia Dietz, SC Audubon Policy Director, is developing policy to address disturbances on barrier islands created by dogs and people and Horseshoe Crab harvesting which is impacting Red Knot populations. Members interested in working on these issues can contact Ms. Dietz.

Field Trips:

Eric referred members to the Augusta-Aiken Audubon website for upcoming field trips.


There was discussion about bird sightings during Climate Watch and Northern Bobwhite whistle surveys. Brandon said it has been a banner year for fire ecosystem birds at SBAC including Indigo Buntings, Praire Warblers, and Swainson’s Warblers.

Doug said the September 8 meeting speaker will be Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus presenting a program on wildlife conservation along the Savannah River.

Travis Scott was welcomed as a first time meeting attendant.


The meeting adjourned at 7:55 p.m.

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