A Brief History of the Monticello Bird Club
The Monticello Bird Club was co-founded by Bill Akers and Leigh Jones Surdukowski. The first meeting was held on Wednesday, Feb 19, 1986 at the Stonehenge Club House on Rio Road. About 25 people attended. I don't have a complete list of names but these are some who did attend this first meeting: Bill Akers, Marlene Condon, Gail Foster, Leigh Jones, Mike Iwanik, and Gary Rakes. Jerry Via was the speaker who presented a program on Owls.
Other meeting places were:
Gordon Avenue Branch Library, 1986-1989.
Jefferson Madison Regional Library, Market Street, 1989-1990.
Prism Coffee House, Rugby Road, 1990-1992.
National Radio Astronomy Observa- tory Scientific Office Buildings, UVa, 1992-2001, Edgemont Road.
Ivy Creek Natural Area, Hydraulic Road, 2002-present.
Named after Thomas Jefferson's Home on the ‘little mountain’ near the city of Charlottesville. Bill Akers was the first President and Leigh the first Vice President, each served for 2 years. Bill moved to Petersburg in Oct 1989 due to his job being relocated.
Leigh moved to Lynchburg after her marriage, April 16, 1988 to James Surdukowski. They returned to Charlottesville in 1989.
The Annual Picnic was the brain child of Leigh Jones Surdukowski and Teresa Shaner. The first picnic was held June 11, 1987 at Pen Park and was moved in 1991 to it present location at McIntire Park. The Picnic takes the place of a June meeting.
The first Annual Bird Seed Savings Day took place on 25 October, 1986 and was the suggestion of Leigh Jones Surdukowski who also organized the sale.
The Annual Christmas Party was the suggestion of Priscilla Kingston in 1987 which included door prizes donated by members of the Club.
At the March, 1989 meeting there was a vote for a Club Bird, a suggestion from Priscilla Kingston. The Northern Mockingbird received the highest vote (17) with the Carolina Wren coming in second (13) and the Red-bellied Woodpecker with one vote. Thomas Jefferson kept a Mockingbird in a cage at Monticello as a pet.
The Club has been active in other bird related activities in the community. To name a few:
Family Enrichment Day was held at Albemarle High school on Sept. 24, 1988.
A class on Winter Feeding and Identification of Birds was at the Snow's Garden Center on Thur. Jan 26, 1989. A crowd of 40 came. Club members Bill Akers, Mike Iwanik, Ron Kingston, and Marriane Sullivan (past member) were involved with this activity.
A Purple Martin House was installed at the Ivy Creek Natural Area on March 12, 1989 by members Jim Nix and Marriane Sullivan, a past member.
The Club was invited to participate in the Wintergreen Resort Annual Fall Foliage Weekend in Oct 1989. A table was provided for information on birds and to sell bird seed and feeders.
Members who participated were Patti Burke, the Nix Family, Ron & Priscilla Kingston and Teresa Shaner. Allen Hale led bird walks at the Resort.
The Club sponsored the VSO Annual Meeting that was held in Charlottesville over the weekend of May 3-5, 1991. It was successful with many volunteers helping. Barbara Fehse was the Registrar.
Jim Nix was the first editor of the MBC Newsletter, 1990-1992. Prior to that the President wrote the Newsletters. Past editor of MBC Newsletter, 1993-1994, Marlene Condon, was named a field editor of the new national Birds & Bloom Magazine that was formed in November, 1995. She was chosen from about 300 applicants.
Family Enrichment Day at Albemarle High School. Jennifer Gaden had some involvement with this activity.
President: Lou Tanner;
Deadline for submissions to the newsletter is the 18th of the month preceding publication. Please email information to: