A Birder's Letter to Santa
By Steve Phenicie
Georgia Audubon volunteer and writer extraordinaire penned this tongue-in-cheek letter to Santa back in 2018. We enjoyed it so much we decided to bring it back for 2021.
Everyone else writes to you at this time of year, so a birder should too. Here are some things that the friends of the feather-clad would like this year:
I know this list is a pretty tall order, Santa, but you’ve been known to be very generous.
Georgia Audubon announced four new members elected by members to the Board of Directors at their annual meeting on December 5. Mary Anne Lanier, Laurene Hamilton, Scott Porter, and Ellen Miller were elected for three-year terms, beginning January 1, 2022. In addition, Evonne Blythers Lapsey was elected to return for a second three-year term. It was also announced that Paige Martin, global director of development, science and ocean protection for The Nature Conservancy will take over as Board Chair beginning in January 2022.
Mary Anne Lanier is President of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, a Georgia-based private family foundation. Prior to assuming her current role, Lanier spent 12 years with Interface’s Sustainable Operations Team. Assuming the role of a nonprofit trustee came naturally to Lanier in 2011, when the Foundation was relaunched, as she has always found joy and inspiration serving others in the communities where she has worked and lived. She was the 2020-21 Chairman of the Board for the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership (IGEL), and she participated in the 2016 IGEL class. Lanier is a graduate of Furman University. She resides in Marietta, Georgia, with her husband James Lanier. They have three grown sons and three grandchildren.
An environmental champion, Laurene Hamilton has worked both at the state and local level protecting Georgia’s natural resources while focusing on sustainability. She recently took over as CEO of the Greening Youth Foundation. Hamilton is proud of the Greening Youth Foundation's bevy of work and commitment to excellence and believes it speaks to both her professional and personal leadership goals and passions for engaging and encouraging youth towards environmental careers. She holds a bachelor's in agricultural science and business from Tennessee State University and a master's in sustainability and environmental science from the University of Georgia. Hamilton originally hails from New Jersey but has nurtured her “Georgia twang” for the last twenty-six years, living in Atlanta with her husband and two children.
Scott Porter leads the human resources business partner team supporting WarnerMedia’s Sales & Distribution team, which includes ad sales, network distribution, and content distribution, working closely with WarnerMedia’s Chief Revenue Officer and the senior leadership team of Sales & Distribution, based in Atlanta. Porter earned a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and a juris doctorate from Vanderbilt University School of Law. He lives in Atlanta with his husband, also named Scott, and their two children, Caroline and Daniel. Porter loves playing tennis and is an avid Auburn football fan.
Ellen Miller is a retired Human Resources professional with over 40 years of experience in both the public and private sectors and experience in industries ranging from trade shows to health information technology. Her experience includes all aspects of human resources with an emphasis on business partnership. Ellen holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Georgia State University and a master's degree in human resource management from the University of South Carolina. She became involved in volunteer work with Georgia Audubon in 2003 and served as board President in 2007 and 2008. Ellen is passionate about the work of Audubon, and since that time, has served in a number of capacities. She lives in Monticello, Georgia, on 90 acres where she slowly chips away at making the property as bird friendly as possible.
Evonne Blythers Lapsey is currently an environmental consultant based out of Townsend, Georgia. She formerly served as Park Ranger/Naturalist with DeKalb County Recreations, Parks & Cultural Affairs, and the Director and founder of the Edge of Night Camping Club (ENCC). She was also an Environmental Education Coordinator for the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA). Evonne has been a passionate Girl Scout leader for nearly 20 years and a very strong advocate in getting families outdoors. This will be Evonne's second term on the Georgia Audubon Board of Directors.
“We are excited to welcome Mary Anne, Laurene, Scott, and Ellen to the Georgia Audubon Board of Directors,” says Linda DiSantis, outgoing board chair. “These individuals bring a wealth of talents and experiences to the Board that will help Georgia Audubon fulfill its mission of building places where birds and people thrive.”
Additional Georgia Audubon board members include Joshua Andrews, Robert Cooper, Jairo Garcia, Joshua Gassman, Marc Goncher, Gus Kaufman, Susie Maclin, Paige Martin, Jon Philipsborn, LaTresse Snead, Esther Stokes, and Amanda Woomer
For more information on Georgia Audubon, visit our website.
About Georgia Audubon: Georgia Audubon is building places where birds and people thrive. We create bird-friendly communities through conservation, education, and community engagement.
Georgia Audubon was delighted to present long-time volunteer Steve Phenicie with the 2021 Scottie Johnson Spirit Award at the Holiday Party and Annual Meeting on Sunday, December 5.
Steve has been a behind-the-scenes volunteer for Georgia Audubon for many years. A prolific writer, he retired from the Atlanta Journal Constitution and now appears in each issue of Wingbars, on our blog, and at many of our habitat restoration work days. We’re not sure exactly how long he has been writing for us, but we know he’s pushing at least a decade.
Steve takes great delight in submitting well thought out, well-written articles for each issue of Wingbars. To date, he has written 52 Volunteer/Staff profiles and compiles the A Million Thanks column for each issue. Over the years, he has also submitted a number of Tongue in Cheek Humor articles for Wingbars, many of which have been featured on this blog site. Steve is also a frequent volunteer at our Habitat Restoration workdays. He's one of those worker bee volunteers who does an incredible amount of work for the organization that is rarely recognized.
About the Scottie Johnson Spirit Award
In 2018, Georgia Audubon lost an incredibly dedicated volunteer and dear friend, Eleanor Scott Johnson. "Scottie", as her family and friends called her, was an avid birder and long-time volunteer for Georgia Audubon. There wasn’t a task that Scottie wasn’t up for, whether that was giving educational presentations, walking a Project Safe Flight route, certifying wildlife sanctuaries, or writing the Ask Chippy column. Scottie always raised her hand to help us out. She was a nurse, a mother, a Master Birder, and a wonderful human being with an amazing spirit. Although we lost Scottie to cancer in 2018, we continue to celebrate her spirit, kindness, and perseverance annually by honoring an outstanding volunteer with the Scottie Johnson Spirit Award. Anne McCallum, a long-time volunteer with Georgia Audubon received the inaugural award in 2019, and Charles Loeb was our 2020 recipient.
Georgia Audubon commissioned a watercolor painting of a Red-headed Woodpecker by Amanda Woomer, Georgia Audubon Board Member, to present to Steve in recognition of his service to Georgia Audubon.
Georgia Audubon is building places where birds and people thrive.