By Matt Swearengin
The Texoma Audubon Society donated binoculars to a Kingston High School class and presented photography awards during a meeting last week at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Center & Library.
KHS science teacher Dr. Brad Ludrick received 10 pairs of binoculars and seven field guides for his class.
Dr. Doug Wood, president of Texoma Audubon Society, said part of Audubon Society’s mission is to support students learning about birds and getting involved with that. He said this will allow Ludrick and his students to go on field trips, see birds through binoculars and began making observations on what they see.
Ludrick thanked Audubon for its donation.
“As many of us know, state funding is limited, especially to purchase ice-cream things like binoculars or field equipment or those kind of things,” he said. So being able to utilize this equipment and take students outside of the walls and go out in the backyard and make observations that many have never ever made before is a remarkable experience, and I want to thank you very much for that.”
In April, a busload of sixth-grade students will be taken to Camp Goddard, according to Ludrick.
“We’ll spend a week with them .. so your clean binoculars are going to get dirty,” Ludrick said.
Bird photography awards were presented in the following categories:
1. Gluttony by Jeff Gladden
2. Great Blue Heron at Sunrise by Aaron Hamilton
3. Creepy Toes by Jeff Gladden
1. Northern Harrier by Pam Rendall-Bass
2. Swainson’s Hawk by Laurie Sheppard
3. Bald Eagle by Jim Johnson
1. Painted Bunting by Jim Johnson
2. LeConte’s Sparrow by Aaron Hamilton
3. Winter Wren by Aaron Hamilton
1. Rufous Hummingbird by Aaron Hamilton
2. Greater Roadrunner by Laurie Sheppard
3. Red-headed Woodpecker by Aaron Hamilton
Tony Goza, vice president of Texoma Audubon Society, located an artist, Katy Lenehan, who converted these photos into watercolor paintings as prizes for the winners.
The Texoma Audubon Society chapter was founded in 2021 at the suggestion of Goza, who spoke with Wood about it the year before in the middle of the pandemic.
Wood said the organization is interested in birds, bird conservation plus learning about bird habitats and their populations. He said one of the fun things members do is take photos of birds.
“So we had a photo contest to highlight our local photographers and some of the neat birds that we have locally,” Wood said.
Goza is an avid photographer and frequent contributor to the Democrat. He said bird photography for him is therapy.
“Anytime I’m behind a camera and I get to be out in the wild or in my backyard, it gives me a level of comfort,” he said. “It’s therapeutic and it makes me smile. It forces me to slow down and observe what is around me and listen, not just use my eyes as much as my ears. The camera is just an extension of what I can see.“