A letter from life-long friend and author
June Bailey White
December 1, 2012
Dear Friend of Birdsong,
When we were children everybody up and down the Meridian Road used to marvel at what Betty and Ed Komarek were up to. These were the days of full church weddings and huge white wedding dresses, but Betty and Ed were married in a thunderstorm standing in their boots in a bed of ferns way back in the woods. We had seen grownups cry at funerals, but we had never seen anything like Betty, who could burst into tears over the beauty of a perfectly ordinary bird like a blue jay. And the most marvelous thing of all -- every year they would take their children OUT OF SCHOOL and drive to the southwest to study the origins of corn.
In those days Birdsong was a gathering place for biologists of all sorts -- lepidopterists, mammalogists, herpetologists, fire ecologists. Many of these scientists were kind, engaging, and welcoming people, always happy to give children a helping hand in their erratic progress towards a better understanding of the natural world. My brother kept on a bedroom shelf a graduated series of embryo possums in baby food jars of alcohol, and every child collected butterflies under the patient tutelage of Lucien Harris. We all made dish gardens of moss and turkey berries, and we were all little pyromaniacs enjoying the thrill of that whoosh of flame when two fires would meet each other in longleaf woods. But it was years before we understood the true nature of the study of those people at Birdsong -- they were all crazy for knowledge of the land and how to bring it to its proper fruitfulness.
How happy they would be to know about last summer's nesting wood storks in the Big Bay Swamp. The presence of wood storks in a wetland is a reliable indicator of the health of that ecosystem. What better fruit could Birdsong bear than that? Born of the dedication to conservation of those early Birdsong scientists, and equally born of the hard work of Birdsong Nature Center's volunteers and staff today. The wood storks have let us know that the value of Birdsong is immeasurable. All it needs is money, and as you must know by now, that is why I am writing to you.
Please keep Birdsong Nature Center in mind as you make your end-of-year contributions. We will appreciate whatever you can give, whether it is a part of your tax shelter, an example to your children of how to be responsible in selecting charities to support, or just because you cried for joy at that jay bird at your feeder.
Sincerely, June Bailey White
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A letter from long-time volunteer and Board of Directors President
October 23, 2012
Dear Friend of Birdsong,
Thanks to your substantial support for last year’s Annual Appeal, Birdsong Nature Center is still here and effectively fulfilling its mission by “fostering an appreciation, understanding, and awareness of nature and its interrelationships.” Although the past several years have been extremely challenging economically, our doors remain open year-round, we continue to preserve and manage 565 acres of land and historic buildings, and we offer natural history education programs weekly. We ask for your strong support again this year, so that we may continue to play a unique and valuable role in our community.
Here’s what some of our colleagues have to say:
“Birdsong Nature Center fulfills its mission in our community in many ways. Birdsong offers our summer Heritage Education Workshop participants the opportunity to see and learn about our region’s diverse natural history. It is one of our favorite locales because teachers from all fields of instruction can find something there to use in their classroom lessons. Plus, there are several stunning landscapes and Kathleen’s knowledge and enthusiasm for the place instills excitement in all of us who visit.”
-Brent Runyon, Executive Director, Thomasville Landmarks, Thomasville, Georgia
“When I donate to Birdsong, I know the money is well used to maintain and manage this unique 565 acres of forests, field, pond and swamp with its abundant wildlife gifted to all of us by Betty and Ed Komarek. If 100 donors could donate $1000 per year, we could cover and exceed the current operating balance and grow the savings/contingency fund for the future. I’m just brainstorming, but I encourage everyone to give what you are able to preserve this wonderful place.”
-Donna Legare, co-owner, Native Nurseries, Tallahassee, Florida
“I am so proud of our joint project with Birdsong to renovate the bird window at Tall Timbers and to formally recognize Betty Komarek’s contribution to the design and construction of the Gannet Pond Birdwatch. I encourage all of you to join me in supporting Birdsong’s continuing efforts to carry out its mission, preserve its land and facilities and continue its rich tradition in educational programs instituted by Betty herself in any way that you can...and encourage others to do the same!”
-Lane Green, Executive Director, Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy, Florida
“The ever-increasing speed of technology (while sometimes useful) often has a downside: stress impact on our personal and professional lives. Birdsong can be a counter-balance to that pressure. That is why I stepped up my annual donation commitment and also became a Board Director.”
-Bill Preston, P.A., Tallahassee, Florida, Birdsong Board member
“Birdsong Nature Center is a “one of a kind" place that has provided a unique opportunity for my children to hike trails, study biology and environmental science, engage in community service, and discover the awesome beauty of God’s creation. We never leave Birdsong without experiencing something new. Birdsong is such a distinctive living museum that our community should be proud to support it. It is a preserve that can last for generations to come if we all support its cause. I cannot imagine South Georgia without a place like Birdsong.”
-Elizabeth Candelario, of the Candelario family home school group of Valdosta, Georgia, that volunteers monthly at Birdsong.
Your support for the 2012 Annual Appeal will make it possible for Birdsong to continue to play its unique and significant role in our community in the coming year.
The 2012 Annual Appeal goal is to raise $60,000 by the December 31st. We are very pleased to announce that there has been 100% participation by Birdsong’s Board and staff, so we are entering the 2012 campaign with $8000 or 13% of our goal already attained. We are relying on you to get us to the final goal of $60,000.
Please consider what Birdsong Nature Center means to you, your family and your community and what would be lost if it were gone. We ask that you give to the best of your ability and that your gift reflect the value you place on Birdsong. A high level of participation in the Annual Campaign will demonstrate to major donors and foundations that this organization’s base is committed to turning Birdsong’s fortunes around, that failure is not an option. Your gift can lead to much more than our $60,000 goal.
Enclosed is a commitment card for the 2012 Annual Campaign, to be returned by December 31st. Birdsong is a 501(c)3 corporation, so your gift is entirely tax-deductible. Please check with your bank or credit card company for a monthly deduction program, which can make a monthly gift automatic. Your business may have a matching gift program that can enable you to increase the value of your contribution.
Every gift matters; every gift is a vote of support. We deeply appreciate your participation.
Lawrence A. Olsen, Ph.D.
Board of Directors
If you wish to contribute to Birdsong for this Campaign, or at any other time during the year, a check made payable to Birdsong Nature Center and mailed to the address shown at the upper-right will be greatly appreciated. Donations via credit card can also be made by calling either of the telephone numbers shown.