Minutes – January 4, 2024

The annual meeting was in-person only and took place at the Discovery Center. 

Call to Order: President Gregg Gorton

Call to Order: 7:31 PM

Attendees: 45 

Gregg welcomed all the attendees and said it was a privilege to have been president. He thanked fellow officers and councilors, and all the past living presidents who had provided him with advice during his tenure. He also specifically mentioned Bert Filemyr, Art McMorris, and Chris Walters. Gregg said that the club has grown in size tremendously and is much more diverse now. He said that it is a joy to see that happen, especially the increase in the number of women and youth birders. 

Gregg then welcomed members in various cohorts of membership tenure (three years or fewer, 

3-5, 5-10, 10-20, 10-20, and 30+ years). In the 20-30 year cohort, we had Bert Filemyr, Art McMorris, and George Armistead in attendance. Finally, in the 30+ year cohort, we had Pat and Clay Sutton in attendance. 

Gregg then announced changes in various committees. For the Ornithological Studies Committee, Gregg is taking over as chair from Rob Bierregaard and the rest of the committee will be composed of Sean O’Donnell, Maria Andréina Pacheco, Nate Rice, and Jenny Uehling. In the Membership Committee, Nilesh is stepping down as chair and Rebecca Reicherter will be taking over from him. For Archives, Jeff Holt is stepping down and we are looking for a new chair. Anne Bekker is also stepping aside from the Conservation Committee and we’re still in the process of identifying co-chairs. Perri Strawn is working to get a sense of what the focus of the committee should be. 

Election of Officers and Council – Art McMorris

The nominating committee, composed of Anita Guris, Patrick McGill, George Armistead, Linda Timlin, and Art McMorris has come up with a slate of nominees for the current year. The nominees are:

Officers (for 1-year terms):
President:           Barbara Bassett
Vice President:   Navin Sasikumar
Secretary:           Nilesh Shah
Treasurer:           Martin Dellwo

Councilors-at-Large (for 3-year terms):
Tanya Burnett
Peter Hamner

Nominees were announced at each December meeting. There were no nominees from the floor. All nominees were elected unanimously by acclamation.

Art said he would like to thank Gregg Gorton for leading the club for two years as president. He also thanked previous past president Linda Widdop who is at the end of her tenure. 

Election of Fellows and Honorary Members – Barb Bassett

7:50 pm
Barb Bassett officially took over as president from Gregg Gorton and gave a few remarks. She said that she appreciated the club’s confidence in her. She said that she couldn’t believe that four years had gone by already since she became secretary. Barb added that as we go forward as a club, she wants to concentrate on the fun and the diversity of the club and bringing together new and old members alike. She said that one of the things that brought her into birding was that it can be whatever you want it to be – her mom was a backyard birder which got her interested in birds. So backyard birding, chasing rarities, or anything in between – it’s all about fun. 

Barb thanked the outgoing councilors Linda Timlin and Michael Walter for their three years of service. 

Barb announced that since Nilesh is secretary now, there was an opening on Council and she had asked Karyl Weber to be councilor for two years to fill in for Nilesh. 

Council has selected 6 members as Fellows. Fellows are chosen based on involvement with the club or birding in general. The nominees are:

  • Tanya Burnett
  • Katrina Clark
  • Manny Dominguez
  • Rob Karchnyak
  • Victor Lefévre
  • Rebecca Reicherter

All nominees were voted on unanimously by acclamation.

Honorary Members are chosen based on attaining special prominence in their ornithological work and contributions to the Club. Honorary members present at the meeting included Bert Filemyr and Art McMorris. Barb announced that Pat and Clay Sutton had been nominated as honorary members. Clay joined in 1978 and Pat in 1983 when women were finally allowed to join the club. They have spoken at two banquets and won the Potter and Stone awards. Clay has published thirteen and Pat has six Cassinia articles. 

Clay and Pat Sutton were voted as honorary members by unanimous acclamation. Pat is the first woman to become an honorary member. 

Clay and Pat said a few words each. They said that they were thrilled to be here and it was an honor and they were grateful to join so many former esteemed honorary members. 

Barb closed out by saying that while we should have fun, we also need to make a difference in our communities – from conservation to education and inclusion. Birding is for everyone, let’s make it that way. 

Committee Reports

Membership Committee – Rebecca Reicherter

8:16 pm

Rebecca gave an overview of the membership of the club. She said that we gained 44 new members in 2023, which comes in at just three lower than the new members who joined in 2022. Most new members are centered in the Philly area with one new member from DC. She said that new members are nearly evenly split across genders. In a new member survey she conducted, one thing that stood out was that social connection is equally as important as wanting to heighten birding skills. New members usually participate by attending the Thursday meetings and field trips. Some of the praise received from the new member survey said that the club had great field trips, informative talks, a sense of community, conservation, and advocacy work. Some criticisms included: 

  • Difficult to find out about field trips
  • Location – need more talks and walks outside Philly
  • More afternoon/evening walks
  • Accessibility – want more carpooling options for walks
  • Newsletter hard to read – not mobile-friendly

Rebecca said that among the overall membership, 390 members were from PA, and 92% were from PA, NJ, and DE. We also have some international members. 

Finally, the membership committee also had some recommendations: 

  • Better orient new members by bridging back new member bird walks
  • Consider diversifying event and trip locations
  • Begin surveying the entire membership base annually to understand club-wide wants and needs

Treasurer’s Report –  Marty Dellwo

8:26 pm

Marty gave a detailed report of the club’s income and expenditures but the gist of it is that the Club’s finances are positive and we have money to spend.

Field Trips – Linda Widdop

8:40 pm

Email Linda Widdop, linda@techimpact.org, if interested in leading any field trips. 

Upcoming field trips:

The trip to Barnegat Inlet was canceled due to bad weather.

  • January 13 – Mid-winter Bird Census
  • January 14 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm –  WInter Gulls at Glen Foerd with Holger Pflicke
  • January 20 @ 9:00 am – 10:00 am –  Waterfowl at FDR Park with Holger Pflicke
  • February 10 @ 8:30 am – 10:30 am – Pennypack on the Delaware with Holger Pflicke
  • February 11 @ 9:30 am – 11:00 am – Winter Gulls at Glen Foerd with Holger Pflicke
  • February 17 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am – Great Backyard Bird Count Walk at Laurel Hill Cemetery (East) with Navin Sasikumar
  • February 17 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am – Great Backyard Bird Count Walk at West Laurel Hill Cemetery with Ken Walsh
  • February 29 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm – Bird Walk at Heinz NWR with Cliff Hence

Billings – Art McMorris

Send checklists to Art for the 2023 Billings Year by January 31st. The DVOC member with the most birds in the Delaware Valley region will win. For efficiency, you can just let Art know your number of species and you only need to submit the full checklist if the number is greater than the current largest number.


Linda Widdop said that she has camera equipment up for grabs in her car as announced in the weekly digest. Please see her after the meeting if you are interested. 

Programs: Navin Sasikumar

The next meeting is on January 18th, back at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Katrina Clark will discuss how to lead accessible and inclusive bird walks in an ever-changing world and why it benefits everyone. Inspired by 19 years in the classroom and 2 years as a founding member of In Color Birding Club she will share small tricks and larger cultural shifts that can increase the number of people who keep showing up for birds and bird joy.

The evening ended with a Quizzo focusing on knowledge about club history and birds hosted by Navin Sasikumar. The winning team was led by Linda Widdop. A fun time was had by all. 


After the presentation, the meeting was adjourned at 9:25 pm.