Date: 2/3/18 3:01 pm
From: Joseph C. Neal <joeneal...>
During the past decade, Northwest Arkansas Audubon Society and partners have hosted around 200 field trips, to all points in the region. Running through it seems an inexhaustible curiosity about nature in our section of the Natural State. Todayís field trip to Eagle Watch Nature Trail on SWEPCO Lake near Gentry was no exception.

Turn-out was around 45 people on a breezy Saturday morning that started out frosty and really didnít stop being chilly. Us retirees just get seriously layered up and are proud to be here, chill and all. Neither did it seem to deter a young woman who brought her kids, including one with a soft Bald Eagle toy. When we lowered one of the scopes, I especially enjoyed the kid figuring out how to look through the eyepiece at an adult Bald Eagle, then look back at his eagle toy.

This exploration of our National Bird was underway while others watched Double-crested Cormorants (2), Ring-billed Gulls (4), Wilsonís Snipes (5), Least Sandpipers (4), a cooperative Red-headed Woodpecker, and Red-tailed Hawks (2) at a nest. Several peeled off to search for a Harrisís Sparrow seen along the walk to the observation blinds.

I recognize there are people in our country of over 300 million who think we put way too much emphasis on nature and a healthy environment. They worry about a drag on the economy that gets in the way of progress. It would help them with their anxiety to spend some time looking through a spotting scope at a Bald Eagle, like a 4-year. Eagle Watch Nature Trail: medicine for the soul.

Terry Stanfill, folks at SWEPCO and now AEP, have investments in Eagle Watch that make it welcoming for all kinds of people, with varied interests, from extreme birder types to casual Saturday family walks, and todayís age range, 3-80. Welcoming nature drives this place. There are quite a few citizens among us 300+ million who want this connection, even on a chilly early February day.

We want to live in a healthy world. And oh by the way, we vote.

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