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Photo by Tom Grey

Volunteer Memorial

SCVAS is proud to honor our longtime volunteers and pillars of the environmental education, conservation, and birding commmunity. Donations can be made to our special Memorial Fund to honor their extraordinary efforts.

Ted Chandik: Pillar of the Community

The Audubon community is saddened at the loss of Ted Chandik who introduced generation after generation of people to outdoor adventures and made a lasting impression of warmth, friendship, and good cheer on each and every one of them.

Ted Chandik is a south San Francisco Bay birder who was active throughout the entire time of our period of review (1965-1989). He appears as an observer in both regions of California in Audubon Field Notes in fall 1964, and by winter 1965-66 he had become a Regional Editor for northern California. In all he served as a northern California Regional Editor for twenty seasons — the third highest length of service in this capacity during our review period. Ted was also active in the founding of California Field Ornithologists, and served as member of the California Bird Records Committee for the first 7 years of its existence.

Don Roberson remembers Ted from the 60's and 70's

Ted Chandik ©Van Remsen

"Like Gene Cardiff in southern California, Ted spent almost the entire era we have under review as a public-sponsored naturalist. While Cardiff headed the San Bernardino County Natural History Museum, Ted worked as the primary naturalist at Palo Alto Bayland Refuge on the shores of San Francisco Bay. The Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center opened in 1969, built atop 50 pilings driven into the salt marsh of the City of Palo Alto, and Ted would work there for 24 years. His job was as a teacher and interpreter of nature — not a museum collector. Ted led countless public walks through the Baylands reserve during his tenure, and became a primary expert on coastal salt marsh. The Palo Alto baylands became famous of their resident Clapper Rails; their Black Rails that could be seen at high tides in winter; and such regular vagrants as Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow. Ted's talks and walks would mentor several generations of young birdwatchers.

"Although Ted had the 8th highest California list when rankings were first published in 1969, Ted was not driven to chase high State lists or vagrants at desert oases, but he was a regular at soth San Francisco and Monterey Bay area CBCs, and on Monterey Bay boat trips. His interest included world birding, and he was among those who joined Van Remsen in 1975 for a whirlwind tour of Colombia. He and his wife Zoe have since traveled extensively for birds."

Anecdotes from Mathew Dodder

"Many of you knew Ted, and may have accompanied him on his famous "Fly by Dawn" adventures. He has been a pillar in the birding community for decades, and his passing is a great loss. I first met him 30 years ago, and went with him to see California Condors in Los Padres. There were many stories of birding adventures told over the campfire that weekend, and a lot of laughter. He was a warm, colorful, joyful character.

"At that time he was stationed at the Palo Alto Baylands and Palo Alto Junior Museum. I was a teenager, and his gentle manner made it possible for me to ask endless questions about everything bird related, and he kindly answered every one. I consulted with him year after year following our introduction about the plight of the Condors, how to find Black Rails and the possibility that Ivory-billed Woodpeckers still survived somewhere.

"There are so many things I would still ask him if he were here. I learned last year that he had recently completed his longtime goal to see a representative from every bird family in the world. Quite an accomplishment and it took him all over the world to do it! So people on every continent, it seems, have been touched by his gentle nature. I will miss him very much, as I'm sure many of us will."

Our guess is, he's birding right now someplace else and answering questions there too. Carry on, Ted. We will miss you.

Other Volunteer Honorees

Norman Watenpaugh: Consummate volunteer, conservationist, field trip leader, educator, and blue-bird trail monitor.

Sandy Cortright: Bird lover, adventurer, life-long learner, artist, and devoted mother.

Shirley Gordon: Long time SCVAS volunteer, birder, nature lover, environmentalist and world traveler. Devoted mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.