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Connecting People 
With Nature

Orchard Street Pocket Prairie: Invitation to Optimism

by Yvonne Meyer

Wachiska Program and General Meeting — Thursday, June 13, 7:00 p.m., Unitarian Church, 6300 A Street, and also via YouTube link: https://youtube.com/live/JZiRUhmDth8?feature=share   

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As a child, nature was always my happy place. I grew up on a family farm where Molly, the three-legged farm cat, and I would go down to the creek and sit on the exposed roots of a cottonwood tree and just be quiet. Nature is still where I go to find stillness, connection, and  beauty. 

 

I am a photography teacher in Lincoln High School’s art department. Nurturing and empowering students is my primary purpose in life, and I love them. Teaching through the pandemic and its aftermath of widespread student disengagement and disconnection felt futile at times. No amount of effort or enthusiasm on my part seemed to impact the outcomes for many of my students. They were broken, and so was I. I needed to reclaim optimism.

 

I have always gardened for food and bouquets to share, but gardening with nature in mind is relatively new for me. During the pandemic when cities closed down, we saw how resilient and quickly nature reclaimed spaces. This fascinated me, and I pursued stories of regenerative farming and people working in reciprocity with the land. During this quest, I found the work of Benjamin Vogt and Doug Tallamy, and my paradigm shifted. Even in the context of global environmental degradation, one can feel hope. There is meaningful action to be taken, and we can all do it.  

Orchard Street Pocket Prairie was born out of a desire to restore the little bit of land I manage to habitat and to create a soulful space for people to linger in a patch of urban nature. For the past couple of years, I have been replacing the lawn with native host plants, rain gardens, and berms and converting my easements into pollinator gardens and pocket prairies. How quickly the insects and birds have returned! I am delighted when I find passersby in standing meditation with a patch of milkweed. How lovely that this is possible here and now. There is a growing community and resources available to support the work. I will share lessons learned along the way. The story I want to share is that if you are game to try, nature is a generous partner. Heaven is in a wild flower, and you can hold infinity in the palm of your hand.

 

In addition to teaching at Lincoln High School, Yvonne Meyer has been a youth treatment specialist at the Child Guidance Center (now Hope Spoke) for 16 years. She is also an adjunct art instructor at UNL and artist-in-residence at Lux Center for the Arts. She holds a BA in sociology and an MFA in photography along with a post-baccalaureate K-12 art education endorsement. Yvonne lists gardening with nature in mind as a priority hobby along with photography, hiking in nature, managing a Facebook page of Orchard Street Pocket Prairie, and several other pastimes.

 

Join Wachiska on Thursday, June 13, at 7:00 p.m. at Lincoln’s Unitarian Church, 6300 A Street, to learn more about this Lincoln native. This free, public, in-person talk will also be live-streamed on YouTube at  

https://youtube.com/live/JZiRUhmDth8?feature=share 

 

No registration is needed. This program can also be viewed at a later time. Check Wachiska’s website for links to past programs.

June 2024 Calendar of Events

June 8        Education Committee via Zoom, 6:00 p.m. 

 

June 10      Conservation Committee, via Zoom  6:30 p.m.        

 

June 13      General Meeting, “Orchard Street Pocket Prairie:

                   Invitation to Optimism,” by Yvonne Meyer,

                   7:00 p.m. in-person at Unitarian Church and also

                   live-streamed; no registration needed (link above)

June 15      Newsletter Deadline, Wachiska Office, 5:00 p.m.

 

June 18      Board Meeting, via Zoom, 7:00 p.m.

 

June 22     "Tour the Wild Side" 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. 

                     Download Map

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Give Lincoln Day in coming on May 30 

If your choice is to participate in Give to Lincoln Day on May 30, they specialize in online giving through their website. You can also send your check to the Wachiska office postmarked by May 25 and make it payable to Lincoln Community Foundation with “Wachiska Audubon” on the memo line. We will deliver the checks to the Foundation. All contributions will be proportionately matched by Foundation funds. You can also work directly with the Lincoln Community Foundation for qualified IRA and investment fund contributions to the event.  

Give Nebraska is preparing to kick off                                           this year's 

                                       campaign. 

Wachiska Audubon Society will be participating and we are fortunate to be one of the 70+ members who benefit from the 100+ public and private workplaces that allow employees to contribute to their favorite non-profits through payroll deductions.

 

Click here to donate to Birdathon https://www.wachiskaaudubon.org

 

 

In September 2021, the Wachiska Board adopted the National Audubon’s Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion as the Chapter’s own goals: 

The birds Audubon pledges to protect differ in color, size, behavior, geographical preference, and countless other ways. By honoring and celebrating the equally remarkable diversity of the human species, Audubon will bring new creativity, effectiveness and leadership to our work throughout the hemisphere.

2024 Birdathon

by Tim Knott

 

April is the beginning of the Birdathon fundraising drive. This year marks the 36th consecutive year of Wachiska’s Birdathon. Wachiska Audubon has depended on the annual Birdathon as the most important fundraising event of the year. Now, combined with the Give to Lincoln Day event on May 30, it makes all the things we do as an organization possible. The donations during this time make our education and outreach events such as “Tour the Wild Side,” Prairie Discovery Days, Nature Nights, Bird EnCOUNTer for kids, and many other educational activities happen. It enables us to continue regular monthly meetings with programs as well as our work with the state legislature. Perhaps just as important is that this support provides for the long-term sustainability of our chapter.

 

You should receive your Birdathon fundraising letter in early April. Please contribute as much as you can with a mail-in donation using the envelope provided. If you prefer giving online, donate via our website or participate in Give to Lincoln Day on May 30. Thank you to all our members and Friends for your continued support.

 NEW!  Wachiska is on YouTube 

On August 16, 2022, the Board approved revised bylaws that will be presented to the membership during the annual meeting in November. Both the 2013 and 2022 versions may be viewed or downloaded. 

Join Wachiska Today

Become a member of the Wachiska chapter of the National Audubon Society and support environmental conservation, education, and outreach in Southeast Nebraska.

Click HERE for details.

Read recent newsletters

Download the newsletter HERE

The photos on this website were taken by Wachiska members. Many thanks to Bruce Wendorff, 

Linda Brown, Paul Johnsguard, Tim Knott, Stu Luttich, John Carlini and Elizabeth Nelson. 

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