It was just before Christmas, twelve months ago, when the doors to the BVAS Nature Center were finally reopened. The remodeling project had taken 6 long months, and the first group event in the renovated Nature Center was the year-end Christmas Bird Count. Over 130 people participated in the count that day, and then gathered at the Center for a bowl of chili and a look at the exciting new view deck. The 192 different bird species tallied on the count was the 12th-highest total in the nation.
Starting the new year in a beautiful new facility, the Nature Guides quickly made up for the time lost when the Center was closed. They entertained and educated more classes and students in the first six months of 2015 than in any previous 12-month period. They expanded almost all programs, took the nature education show on the road to area classrooms, and led field trips to special nature venues.
The spring Birdhouse Auction and the Endangered Species Day Open House set new records for attendance. There were almost weekly BVAS-led bird surveys and walks. The BVAS-sponsored pelagic birding trips out of San Diego took hundreds of people out to sea to experience a new world of seldom-seen birds.
BVAS is truly an organization run by volunteers. Over 320 members volunteered in at least one BVAS activity this past fiscal year, helping the chapter fulfill its mission of promoting a love and appreciation for nature throughout the community. Overall BVAS membership grew to over 2,200 households in 2015.
Perhaps one of the most exciting developments of the year was the purchase and conservation of a 3.5-acre parcel of land on the shore of the Buena Vista Lagoon. Over 270 individuals contributed funds to help BVAS become a landowner for the first time.
While 2015 was indeed a year to remember, the year ahead has promise to be even more remarkable. While we won’t give it all away quite yet, look for some great new programs and a major announcement about an exciting new initiative in the months ahead.
We’re for the birds, and a lot more!