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Photo by Tom Grey

Volunteer Spotlight

It is hard for us to select only a few volunteers to spotlight among our long list of deserving people. These hard-working people have distinguished themselves over the past year and we would like to extend a special thank-you to them. We owe the success of our chapter to these and all our generous and talented volunteers.

The article below was published in the July/August 2015 Avocet.

Pete La Tourrette: Au Revoir to our Retiring Board Treasurer

Pete La Tourrette portrait

It was in the Fall of 2008 that we welcomed Pete La Tourrette as our new Treasurer and member of the Board of Directors. Seems like just yesterday, but Pete saw us through amazing growth and progress. In addition to seeing our Legacy Fund double in size, stabilizing our investment portfolio, and inspiring the creation of the Advocacy program which has been so successful in protecting the birds and their habitat these last eight years, Pete provided the seasoned wisdom for our Chapter that was often required during this growth period. When a particularly controversial issue was on the table for our Chapter, we would always wait to hear from Pete. His experience and judgment and soft spoken demeanor would have us all listening intently. He fulfilled more than the Treasurer's role; he was a key voice on the Board.

Pete was also instrumental in coordinating the very popular Bay Area Bird Photographers group for many years, which meets at the Lucy Evans Baylands Interpretive Center in Palo Alto each month. Organizing some spectacular presentations, Pete helped this club grow and thrive. Pete's own photography has also been a wonderful resource for this chapter, which he and other members of the BABP club have so graciously allowed us to use free of charge. We wish him the best as he focuses on home and family, but we also believe we'll spot him occasionally in the field toting his famously large camera. We're sure more award-winning shots are ahead for Pete.

Christine Slocomb: Diving Right In!

Christine Slocomb portrait

It certainly isn't any surprise to us that Audubon attracts high-calibre volunteers (after all, we think all of our volunteers are pretty spectacular), but sometimes, even we are amazed at who comes knocking on our door. Christine is one of those phenomenal finds. A native of southern California, Christine received her B.A. from UC San Diego and her M.Sc. from St. Joseph's University with an emphasize on Animal Behavioral Ecology. In between the two degrees, she worked for the Institute for Conservation Research for 10 years where she conducted and ran research projects on a wide variety of native and endangered species.

For the last 18 months, Christine has been volunteering with SCVAS, where she has wasted no time in becoming an integral and crucial member of our conservation team. Thanks to both her scientific background and her willingness to work hard, nest box monitoring at McClellan Ranch Preserve has continued as a viable conservation tool for our local cavity nesting species. Christine is also an active participant in our Environmental Action Committee, where she has helped write CEQA documents, attended City Council meetings to speak up about important bird issues, and conducted Burrowing Owl surveys. Christine was also instrumental in developing the weekly "egret office hours" at Google. This has become a popular program allowing the public to learn more about egret biology and the history of the rookery. We look forward to our continuing conservation strength because of Christine's efforts.

Clysta Seney Mclemore: An Inspiration in the Conservation World for Over Twenty Years

Articulate and soft spoken, Clysta has advocated for Burrowing Owls and their habitat, creeks and riparian ecosystems, Bay wetlands and open space for over two decades. She is the dreamer who in the City of Santa Clara envisioned a golf course transformed to native bird habitat, the lightening rod that electrified the Environmental Action Committee to act, and the poet who galvanized the community to bring Ulistac Natural Area to life. Serving on many commissions, committees, task forces and community advisory groups, Clysta has not abandoned the EAC: she continues to provide advice and guidance to our advocacy and conservation work, contributing the perspective and wisdom that are rooted in her deep knowledge of our valley's natural history. It is with great appreciation that we honor Clysta as one of our Volunteers of the Year.




In Remembrance

SCVAS would like to recognize the special volunteers whose extraordinary efforts for our chapter will be missed. 

Lillian (Tibby) Simon 

Submitted by Rob Simon on Palo Alto Online

Tibby Simon was a resident of Palo Alto since 1950. She was born in Brooklyn, Connecticut, on her grandmother's farm. She worked at Stanford for 40 years in various positions. She was a longtime supporter of the Audubon Society and a gift may be made in her name to them. Tibby is survived by her daughter Joyce Doran of New Zealand; son Rob Simon of San Rafael, California; grandchildren Jennifer Doran of New Zealand, Jackson Coffey of Portland, Oregon, Trevor Simon (Heather) of Forest Knolls, California and Brian Simon (Theresa Martin) of San Anselmo, California; and five great-grandchildren Brooke, Meghan, Jack, Amber and Alexander.

Ulf Stauber 

To say Ulf Stauber was a life-long lover of nature is putting it lightly. His interest in birds developed over time, and it was this passion that eventually lead Ulf to SCVAS. He was a volunteer for the Wetlands Discovery Program in its early stages in the 1990’s and a regular member and contributor to the Saint Anthony Ranchers Birdathon team. Ulf’s niche within SCVAS was not only as a volunteer and member, but also as a monitor for the Cavity Nester Recovery Program, where he established and helped monitor the Rancho San Antonio trails. We thank Ulf for his dedication to many of our programs, and his commitment as the Rancho San Antonio Monitor will surely be missed. He was an exceptional human being and lives on in the hearts of all who had the good fortune to know him.