Donna McCarty Volunteer Service Award

In 2011, the Amos Butler Audubon Society Board of Directors created a service award for an individual who has made significant volunteer contributions to the organization. Both the naming of the award and selecting the award’s first recipient were easy decisions. No one has made such lasting commitment to Amos Butler as has Donna McCarty. Therefore, Donna was presented with the first Donna McCarty Volunteer Service Award at our May 2011 meeting.

2011 – Donna McCarty

Donna has been a tireless champion of the Amos Butler Audubon Society for more than 30 years. During that time she has served as president, board member, Birdathon chair, and newsletter publisher. She has devoted thousands of volunteer hours to the organization.

Donna’s involvement has greatly benefited the birds and the people of Central Indiana. Donna’s oversight of the Birdathon deserves to be singled out as a crowning achievement. Since 1987, Donna and a host of other volunteers and donors have raised more than $550,000 for avian research, education, land purchase, and habitat restoration. This incredible achievement would not have been possible without Donna’s foresight in establishing the Birdathon project and guiding it each year. To recognize her amazing contributions, Donna McCarty was presented with an original James Cole painting of Cedar Waxwings, Donna’s favorite species. James Cole donated his artwork for the award because he recognized the importance Donna has meant to the organization.

2012 – Mary Ellen Gadski

Mary Ellen’s contributions to the Amos Butler Audubon Society span 30 years and include serving as a board member, corresponding secretary, newsletter editor, leading advocacy campaigns, championing the conservation “telephone tree” prior to electronic mail, authoring numerous letters to decision makers, and offering her skills in writing and editing. Of course, most Audubon members may know Mary Ellen from her role as the Birdathon’s International Projects Coordinator, a role she has held since the Birdathon commenced in 1987.

Mary Ellen Gadski is enthusiastic in her drive to “think globally, act locally.” While “local” usually means Indianapolis for MaryEllen herself, she knows that, for neotropical birds, “local” refers to more than one location. Being good stewards means that we need to consider not only the habitat here in Indiana that birds use during migration and breeding, but also the areas where they spend the winter. Mary Ellen has been instrumental in evaluating and recommending suitable Birdathon habitat protection projects in Central and South America, where the Amos Butler Audubon Society has protected approximately 2,000 acres of land. Since 2005, she has worked closely with the American Bird Conservancy on protecting land in Colombia that benefits Cerulean Warblers, among other species.

2013 – Bill Murphy

Bill Murphy holding award plaque

Bill’s contributions to the Amos Butler Audubon Society span more than 12 years and include serving on the board of directors, championing the production of the Brock’s Birds of Indiana CD, overseeing website administration, leading out-of-state field trips, and offering his skills in writing and editing. Of course, most Audubon members may know Bill best for his role as editor of the newsletter, Lifelines, as his name appears in the masthead. Upon retirement in 2007 after 37 years of federal  service, Bill returned to one of his first loves, insects. Snailkilling flies, to be exact. Bill serves as Research Collaborator with the Smithsonian Institution and has become one of the world’s leading authorities on snailkilling flies. His passion for knowledge and science has led him to discover new species, author or co-author more than 50 scientific publications (including the Birder’s Guide to Trinidad and Tobago), and review the insect collections of major museums in the USA and Canada for accuracy. Bill’s incredible generosity is reflected in such actions as naming a newly discovered snail-killing fly, Dictya behrmani, found in Brown County, Indiana, after Jill Behrman, a young Bloomington woman who was abducted and killed while bike riding. Bill met Jill’s father while staying at Jill’s House, a temporary housing facility in Bloomington that the Behrmans co-founded for people undergoing medical treatment at local health facilities. Given Bill’s authority in the world of snail-killing flies, it was fitting that he received a framed collage depicting an enlarged image of a snail-killing fly and a photograph of Bill collecting snail-killing flies in the field (taken during a lunch break while he was leading a Kirtland’s Warbler foray for the Amos Butler Audubon Society). The Amos Butler Audubon Society is indebted to Bill for his service.

2014 – Barbara Jablonski

Since 2005 Barb has been the Silent Auction Coordinator for the Amos Butler Audubon Society Birdathon. Her virtually single-handed efforts have brought in thousands of dollars for this fundraising event. The money raised from the silent auction pays for all of the Birdathon administrative expenses so that 100% of donations from sponsors goes towards conservation and education projects. The excess funds raised by the auction, which are considerable, give each year’s Birdathon a big head start on fundraising to fulfill new grant requests. Last year alone the silent auction brought in more than $4,450 from the sale of 220 items. As if this wasn’t enough, she also looks for opportunities to raise additional funds. For example, in 2013 she was responsible for procuring an opportunity from Whole Foods Market to donate to Amos Butler Audubon Society 5% of their profits on a designated day. This proved to be the largest donation ever made for their program (more than $5,000) thanks to her promotional efforts. Barbara is well deserving of the award.

2017 – Ted Meyer

Ted Meyer accepting award from Donna McCarty

Ted accepted the responsibility of Treasurer in 2010. A position he has held since, keeping the organization’s books in good order and informing the Board of all financial activities. Ted has also volunteered multiple times when needed to fill a job. For instance, in 2013 no one could be found who was willing be ABAS President. Even though he was the Treasurer and often out of state, Ted stepped up to the plate and took on the additional position, presiding over Board meetings and making decisions critical to the functioning of the chapter for two years when he recruited Rob Ripma for the job. In early 2017 when a new website was being created, once again Ted stepped in learning the ropes of administering a webpage and using his skills to add the content and facilitate updates. He continues to act as webmaster and updates the content.
Just what else would he be willing to do? How about the membership chair? He took on this position in May 2017 when the previous chair moved out of state. But evidently, all of this was not enough to suck up all his free time, so he was part of a committee to plan the content of the Audubon LifeLines, greatly improving the chapter newsletter during its transition to a new editor. He even hosted a meeting at his home where he treated everyone to a fabulous homemade lasagna.