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N.H. Audubon celebrates 100th birthday

Pictured is Robert Vallieres, volunteer at the McLane Center, and a peregrine falcon.

Pictured is Robert Vallieres, volunteer at the McLane Center, and a peregrine falcon.

New Hampshire Audubon turns 100 years old this year and the organization is celebrating with a family-friendly “Birthday Bash” Feb. 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the McLane Audubon Center in Concord. Admission is free. Lunch and raffle tickets will be for sale. A decorated cake contest will be the featured event of the birthday bash. Prizes will be awarded to the cakes that best depict the Audubon theme of protecting birds and wildlife. Ruth Smith, centennial coordinator, told us more about the New Hampshire Audubon and the birthday bash:

What is the mission of the New Hampshire Audubon?

Our mission is to protect New Hampshire’s natural environment for wildlife and for people. One hundred years ago the organization was formed to help put an end to the “wanton slaughter” of migratory birds which were being hunted for food, sport and the millinery trade (decorating ladies hats). The mission has expanded to protect other birds and wildlife, as well as the habitat where they live. We do that through education at our four centers and across the state; statewide conservation research and wildlife monitoring; protection of nearly 8,000 acres of wildlife habitat on 39 sanctuaries; public policy and science-based advocacy. New Hampshire Audubon is a statewide, nonprofit, membership organization, independent from the National Audubon Society.

What are some of the most important recent accomplishments of the New Hampshire Audubon?

In recent years, we have produced the “State of the Birds” publication which documented a decline of one third of the breeding birds in New Hampshire, including the state bird, the Purple Finch. This study has stimulated research into the causes of these declines. Our staff have been leaders in helping to protect and restore the populations of bald eagles and peregrine falcons whose numbers have risen dramatically in the past 30 years. Annually, we reach more than 17,000 children and adults through our programs at schools, our centers and through summer camps. We have helped pass significant legislation to protect the Common Loon and other waterfowl from lead poisoning.

Can anyone enter the cake contest, and how do you enter?

The cake contest is open to anyone. Categories for judging will be divided into adult and family levels. Registration for the contest must be submitted by Saturday. Registration forms are available online at nhaudubon.org/100th-birthday-bash or by calling Ruth Smith at 224-9909, ext. 313.

What other activities will be featured at the birthday bash?

There will be ongoing and scheduled activities which include live bird presentations, bird-related craft making, storytelling, a sing-along, snowshoe hikes and outdoor explorations, cupcake decorating, a puppet show about the history of New Hampshire Audubon and the cake contest. The cakes will also be raffled off.

Does the Audubon have any other special events coming up to celebrate its 100th year?

We are planning a whole year of activities. Coming up: Tom Ricardi will show live birds of prey on March 8 at the Amoskeag Fishways in Manchester; a pancake breakfast will be held March 15 at the Massabesic Audubon Center in Auburn; and Steve Schuch will present a concert, “Songs and Tales for the Earth,” March 15 at the McLane Center in Concord. There will be bird and wildflower identification classes and many other spring programs as well. A complete list can be found online at nhaudubon.org/about/centennial/activities.

Noelle Stokes

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