Saving Birds Thru Habitat


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About Us

Bird Sanctuary

The Bird House

Saving Birds Thru Habitat was established in 2001 to help stem the decline of our migratory songbird population by teaching people of all ages how to protect, enhance and restore habitat for North American birds. Our Habitat Discovery Center grounds offer lessons on how to do just that.

Our center is adjacent to a 44-acre private conservation effort, Charter Sanctuary, which has hosted more than sixty nesting species. A hundred additional species use the property for foraging during migration. Saving Birds Thru Habitat has the exclusive use of this sanctuary for field trips. Private tours of Charter Sanctuary are available by appointment for a fee.

 

Kay CharterThe History of Saving Birds Thru Habitat

"We hope to create a world where songbirds will continue to fill our lives with the beauty of their voices and the wonder of their fascinating behaviors."

- Kay Charter, Executive Director

In the spring of 2001, a small group of excited individuals exchanged visions and proposals to create an organization that would strive to help our wild birds. The driving force is Executive Director Kay Charter, whose knowledge and passion for this mission is legendary. Equally important are the efforts of Jim Charter, who has shared in her efforts from the beginning. The birth of Saving Birds Thru Habitat was followed with mission statement, bylaws, non-profit status and a formal Board of Directors.

Discovery CenterBy the fall of 2003, through the amazing support of an army of volunteers, the Habitat Discovery Center (referred to by locals as “The Bird House”) was built and then dedicated with a gala celebration. Since then, developments at the Discovery Center include a native plant garden, the Friendly Garden Club Woodland Walk, and a recirculating pond with a waterfall. Self-guiding pamphlets are outside of the building to assist those who visit when our staff is away.

Saving Birds offers docent led bird walks, regular newsletters, and a schedule of natural science events at the Center. We also certify properties for quality bird habitat, if they qualify, and we offer a highly acclaimed outreach presentation, which has been delivered across the country. Our message has reached thousands and we are gratified with feedback from many who have embraced the need for suitable bird habit and are now converting their yards to native plants which hosts essential insect biomass.

Prairie Habitat'Bobolinks, Meadowlarks, Grasshopper Sparrows and other upland nesters utilize Charter Sanctuary as their habitat and can regularly be seen from the Discovery Center and on tours of the Sanctuary itself.

The ongoing success of our organization is the result of many people and organizations that have embraced our mission of “saving birds through habitat.” In our community, and across the nation, we are witnessing a sea change of awareness and appreciation for managing our habitat to support native birds and other wildlife. Saving Birds intends to be in the forefront to support and amplify this change as it develops.

 

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Charter Sanctuary

Preserving and restoring desperately needed bird habitat has been Kay and Jim Charter's personal crusade for years. Many birdBird hike begins at our Earth Window species, particularly the migratory songbirds that travel back and forth between North and South America each year, are in serious decline. The main culprit isn't corporate greed or runaway pollution, Kay says - it's the gradual loss of appropriate habitat as homeowners, businesses and farmers replace needed native plants with exotic species that do not host the insect biomass that support birds.

By the fall of 1992, the Charters, had become acutely aware that the birds they loved to watch were in decline. Opting to take action, they sold their bay front home and poured the proceeds into 47 acres of mixed habitat. There, they established a safe haven for the warblers, orioles, buntings and other feathered jewels at the place they came to call Charter Sanctuary. At this small avian paradise near Omena, Michigan, the Charters soon began to explore ways they could use their land as an outdoor classroom where others can learn how to help our troubled bird population. As the couple has learned, anyone can help by simply incorporating native plants into their individual landscapes.

"People need hope," Kay says. "They need to feel there's something they can do themselves. And that's what we give them. We teach them how to make a difference in their own backyards. By simply using our own property wisely, we can actually restore half of what's already been taken from Mother Nature. And that's a lot."

More than 60 species of birds have nested on Charter Sanctuary, and about 100 others have stopped to forage there during migration. But a bird sanctuary that is visited by large groups of tourists quickly ceases to be a sanctuary. By the time Saving Birds came into existence, it was obvious that something had to be done to accommodate visitors in ways that would be less intrusive and disruptive to the birds. Thus was the organization born, complete with a nature center. The Discovery Center is located on a three-acre site next to the sanctuary, where guests can still search for birds without adversely impacting those that are nesting. Visits to the Sanctuary proper are possible by prior arrangement by calling the SBTH office.

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SBTH Board of Directors

Board of Directors Executive Director

Linda Ketterer, President
Sheen Watkins, Vice President
Carol Ross, Secretary
David Watkins, Treasurer
Brian Allen
Barb Nowinski
Dave Barrons
Jack Dunn
Lisa Six

Honorary Board Member
Dr. Doug Tallamy

Advisor to the Board
Dr. Greg Butcher

Kay Charter
 
Volunteer Coordinator
Ann McInnis
 
Technical Advisor
David Dister
 
Past Presidents
Marlin Bussey
Gina Erb

 
 
 

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