Steve Ferry Retires from SBAS Board

Reluctantly, we say “goodbye” to Steve Ferry, stepping down as co-president of Santa Barbara Audubon after two years. His “Farewell” on June 20 celebrated 12 years on the Santa Barbara Audubon Board, chairmanship of our Membership and Conservation committees, and six years on the California Audubon Board. Donations from friends purchased a stunning pastel of Coal Oil Point by local Oak Group artist Ann Sanders, presented to Steve with heartfelt admiration and appreciation at the Membership Get-Together.

Fortunately for us, Steve will continue to serve on the Conservation Committee–which would not be the same without his zeal and diligence–and the Endowment Management Committee. You’ll find him as a Snowy Plover Docent at Coal Oil Point on Wednesday mornings as you have for 13 years, and he hopes to resume the condor nest watching at Hopper Mountain that he so enjoys.
Probably unknown to many, Steve frequently represents Audubon at public meetings on topics related to our mission, especially local construction that encroaches on creek setbacks or otherwise threatens birds; and on oil-related issues including drilling and transportation. Steve has participated in virtually every Audubon activity for a dozen years, including accompanying second graders to Lake Los Carneros on Gabriele’s birdwalks.
In his farewell speech, Steve thanked Audubon volunteers, noted our accomplishments, and urged us to take individual action against global warming. He reminded us that birds are an indicator species for climate change–and they are our special charge. Below is the full text of his farewell Speech.

I want to make it clear that I’m not leaving Audubon. I’m just retiring from the Board. After twelve years on the Board I’d like to spend more time on other things that I also enjoy. I’ll still participate on Audubon’s Conservation/Science Committee and on the Endowment Management Committee. I’ll continue as a Snowy Plover docent and a condor nest watcher. And I plan to do a lot more birding!

I’d like to thank all of our volunteers for their hard work and dedication to Audubon. We have roughly one hundred volunteers that do diverse tasks for our organization, including Board and committee members, Eyes in the Sky volunteers, field trips, Christmas bird count, education, administration, newsletter, monthly programs, and many others. Your work is appreciated. Audubon would not be the effective organization it is without you.

My past two years as Co-President have been busy and rewarding. I want to acknowledge the tremendous effort that Dolores has put in as my Co-President. Dolores has handled the bulk of the administrative work and has kept our organization running smoothly and well funded. Audubon is fortunate to have Dolores continuing as President for another year.

I also want to acknowledge the solid base that Darlene provided to Dolores and me when we took over the reins as President. Darlene’s perpetual energy and effectiveness are legendary! In her many years as President she enhanced Audubon’s reputation as a responsible organization within the local environmental community and built up the effectiveness of our administrative processes, including starting our endowment.

Then there’s Lee Moldaver. Lee’s another legendary leader in the Santa Barbara environmental community who has been a solid rock for Audubon for decades. I remember when I came to Santa Barbara over thirty years ago I looked at the names on the Board positions in ET.  Lee’s name was on most of them! Lee knows everybody in town and has been working hard with Peter Thompson to recruit new Board and committee members.

I feel that Dolores and my best achievement was hiring Cherie as Executive Director. Coming up on her first year anniversary, Cherie has proved the wisdom of our choice. Not only has Cherie effectively embraced and participated in environmental activism for our chapter, but she also has a far-ranging vision of where the chapter should go and the energy, knowledge, and skill to make it happen. I’m convinced of Audubon’s success in the future with Cherie at the helm!

In the past two years we have advanced and professionalized Audubon’s administration .Most of this is transparent to our members. We’ve taken the necessary step of changing Cherie and Gabrielle to employee status, instituted director’s insurance, and enhanced some of our other insurance. We owe our Treasurer, Steve Beal, a tremendous debt of gratitude for his knowledgeable and professional guidance through these processes.

We also significantly upgraded our website, thanks to Jeff Simeon, and have improved it further and maintained it, thanks to David Levasheff. The other half of the Levasheff team, Janice, has done a great job taking Audubon’s publicity efforts to a new level.

Another enhancement has been to use Dropbox for our electronic documents. I’ve personally found this to be very useful and I think it’s enhanced our efficiency. Now Board members can easily access previously hard-to-find documents without having to resort to time-consuming emails.

Eyes in the Sky has also been upgraded in the last two years. Gabrielle has continued her excellent educational programs. Our presence at the Natural History Museum is a big plus in getting Audubon’s name in front of the community. Judy Hogan and John O’Brien have done a super job in putting Eyes in the Sky on a sound financial footing.

Another accomplishment has been to institute our Birdathon.  This fun event has been very successful for the last three years and has resulted in a nice bit of revenue for Audubon. Thanks to Gayle Hackamack and Libby Patten for leading.

I also wanted to mention our field trips. Jack Sanford has done a yeoman job of leading our bird walks and field trips for many years. I’ve heard it said that Jack is the face of Audubon to many people in Santa Barbara. It’s true!

Next I want to talk about conservation. This is really my passion when it comes to Audubon.  Darlene started our habitat restoration program at Coal Oil Point and Lake Los Carneros and now that program is being ably continued by Aaron Kreisberg. Over the years we’ve testified at countless hearings and written countless letters. We’ve made a difference in protecting the environment! Two projects that I put many hours on were the Lompoc Wind Project and the Cuyama Solar Project. We didn’t get everything we wanted on those, but we did nudge the County in the right direction. Our Conservation Committee has some really talented, knowledgeable, and energetic people that should make Audubon an even greater local conservation force in the years to come. These include Mark Holmgren, Scott Cooper, Adrian O’Loghlen, Virginia Gardner, John Watson, Don Schroeder, Cherie, Lee, Darlene, and Aaron. I want to urge our members to get involved in conservation! It’s organizations like Audubon that are keeping Santa Barbara as nice as it is. But what we have is in danger of slipping away. You only have to look at the rampant development in Goleta to see what could happen. Please help the Conservation Committee! You could testify before a local agency or write a letter on a critical issue. A few hours of your time could make a difference!

I’d like to discuss an issue that is having a profound effect on the environment and humanity – global warming. I’m convinced that global warming is real and is mostly or entirely caused by humans. This is based on independent, neutral scientific data I’ve seen on numerous occasions. If you have any doubts, visit the websites of the National Academy of Sciences, the Department of Defense, or the American Physical Society. These are not exactly lefty tree huggers! Even the Pope is urging strong action on global warming!

David Yarnold, President of National Audubon, has said, “At the end of the day, climate change is a bird issue.” It’s really true. National Audubon did a study last year on the effect of global warming on birds. They concluded that “If we don’t act now, the climate conditions and habitats that some of our most beloved birds depend on for survival could be lost forever.” Of the 588 North American bird species Audubon studied, 314 species, more than half, will lose more than 50 percent of their current climatic range by 2080. Global warming will shift habitats farther north or to higher elevations for some species. However, for 126 climate-endangered species, their climatic ranges are not only shifting but also dramatically shrinking. Unless we do something quickly, many species, including the Baird’s Sparrow, will face extinction.

You may be wondering what you could do as an individual to slow down global warning. I say “plenty”! Please seriously consider what I’m about to say and see if you could implement some of them. I’ve done many of these myself.

I was surprised to read a while back that buildings are the number one users of energy in this country. Consider upgrading your home with improved attic insulation to cut down on summer cooling and winter heating energy use. Active or passive attic fans will be a big help with that also. Upgrade your windows to the double-paned type. Add LED light bulbs.  Put solar panels on your roof. I just love getting that check from Southern California Edison each year for the extra power I produce!

Consider buying an electric car. Most families with two or more vehicles could easily make one of them electric for town driving.  Don’t be put off by the high sticker price on electric cars. After state and federal rebates, factory rebate, Costco discount, and negotiations with the dealer, I paid less than $22,000 for my Ford Focus Electric. That was bottom line, including tax, license and everything. I’d be happy to consult with anyone who’s interested. I’m really happy with the electric car. It’s fast, quiet, and smooth. And the best part is driving past the stations with $4 per gallon gas!

Thanks for your attention and for bearing with me. I look forward to seeing you all out on the birding trails!