March Awards Banquet, Potluck Supper and Program
Thursday, March 8, 6:15p.m.
6300 A Street
Discoveries, Rediscoveries, and Stories: John James Audubon in Nebraska by Rick Wright, Author, Lecturer, Bird Tour Leader
This year marks the 175th anniversary of John James Audubon’s last adventure, a journey up the Missouri River from St. Louis to Fort Union. The ostensible purpose of the expedition was to gather material for a new work on the mammals of the continent, a sequel to the great Birds of America; but as Audubon’s coauthor would later complain,that task was almost entirelyneglected in favor of an unsystematic—even unscientific— program of birding, hunting, and curiosity collecting. For Audubon, already sensing the decline of his physical and mental prowess, this was meant to be a final sentimental journey into the wilderness and a chance to relive the adventures of his early manhood. He was too late. Most of the “discoveries” Audubon and his companions claimed were already old news, and it is impossible not to see in their activities the vain attempt to recapture a world that was already gone. But whatever its scientific failings, the expedition quickly became an essential part of the legend of the “American Woodsman,” and the stories Audubon brought home with him—some funny, some tragic, and all fascinating—are even today integral to the myth of an unspoiled West. Many will be told in this presentation.
Rick Wright leads birding and birds-and-art tours in Europe and the Americas for Victor Emanuel Nature Tours. A native of Southeast Nebraska, Rick studied French, German, philosophy, and life sciences at the University of Nebraska, where he worked in the bird collections of the State Museum and served as a teaching assistant to Paul Johnsgard. After a detour to Harvard Law School, he took the M.A. and Ph.D. in German at Princeton University. Among his scholarly publications are two books on the Latin and German animal literature of the late Middle Ages. He is also the author of the American Birding Association’s field guides to birds of New Jersey and of Arizona, and of the forthcoming Peterson Reference Guide to North American sparrows. A prolific contributor to the birding literature and a sought-after lecturer, Rick lives with his wife, Alison Beringer, and their chocolate lab, Gellert, in Bloomfield, New Jersey.
Wright’s presentation will highlight Wachiska’s annual awards banquet. The Earthkeeper Award will be presented to Marilyn McNabb, long-time Wachiska member who has contributed to conservation in numerous ways. The President’s Award is given to someone who has volunteered to the chapter in various ways over time, and this announcement is kept secret until this event.
Join Wachiska Audubon when Dr. Johnsgard introduces Rick’s presentation on Thursday, March 8, at the Unitarian Church, 6300 A Street, in Lincoln. We will begin with a 6:15 p.m. potluck supper. Bring family and friends along with a favorite dish or two to share and your own table service (that means plate, cup, and silverware). Beverages will be provided. This location offers easy access with no steps, is handicap accessible, and provides convenient free parking in the church lot with overflow parking across the street to the west in the Pius High School lot. For those preferring to attend only the program, that should begin about 7:45 p.m. No reservations are needed for the evening.