Category Archives: Events – Archive

Antique Adventures Features Paintings of Paul Seifert, American Privitive

Farmscapes in watercolor will be featured in a program at Antique Adventures by curator Joseph Kapler, Wisconsin State Historical Society.  OMHS is very excited to host the presentation about Seifert because he has very close ties with Richland County.  Paul Adolf Seifert immigrated to the United States from Saxony Germany in about 1867. There is a theory that he left Germany to avoid military service. He "landed" at Richland City in Richland County. The village no longer exists because the Wisconsin River made a pretty dramatic change of course and demolished Richland City.  The village of Gotham, just a short distance up river, took the place of Richland City.

Paul Seifert may have travelled on a logging raft and upon reaching Richland City he disembarked.  There he met Elizabeth Kraft, and, because she and her family spoke English, he decided to stay.  Kraft and Seifert were married and spent their life in the Richland City/Gotham area along the Wisconsin River.

In the later 1870's Paul began painting and he continued creating painting through the early 1890's.  He also supported his family with his talent as a taxidermist and raised garden vegetables that he and Elizabeth sold.  But his paintings are what we want to know more about at this program. 

Paul Seifert is known as an itinerant painted.  A primitive or naive painter.  An outsider. Once you have seen a Seifert watercolor you KNOW what a Seifert looks like!  The paintings are that distinctive. He would paint a picture of a farm scene with the buildings, representations of cows and pigs, and some of the people in the family.  The people were always working or engaged in activity. No one was with out action.  But all the people are painted in profile, like the Egyptian representation of people. 

The paper was generally 18×24 toned paper… light gray or blue.  The media he used was watercolor and pen and ink.  He was very precise with his inked lines for fences!  The perspective is unusual and the point of view of the painting is always slightly above the horizon level.  This is a typical characteristic of the primitive painter. He said that people liked his paintings and he liked painting for them.  He charged $2.00 for the paintings. Frequently he did duplicates of the paintings.  Paul did create pencil sketches of the farms and then painted the scene back at his home.  One pencil drawing does exists of "Laws Landing."

It is not known how many paintings Seifert completed.  He left no record95 of his work.  Thiere were 17 watercolor paintings in the exhibit that Mr. Kapler curated.  He discovered a few more paintings but chose 17 that were most representative of Seifert's work.  The exhibit at the Wisconsin Historical Society Museum in Madison WI ran from April to the end of August, 2014. 

In 1950 an art historian from the East had "discovered" Paul Seifert.  And a painting of his and a description of the primitive artist can be found in "Three Hundred Years of American Painting" by Alexander Eliot. Paintings by Seifert are found in Cooperstown NY and in Williamsburg VA.  An exhibit of his paintings on paper was held in Richland Center in the 1960's.  These were paintings owned by local people and the showing was held in the Krouskop's Deparment Store.

When his age became an issue for traveling around Richland, Iowa, Grant, and Sauk counties, Seifert began painting imaginary paintings on glass.  He charged $5.00 for his reverse paintings.  Many of these painting probably met the same fate that the work on paper met… they were destroyed or tossed out. The reverse paintings had the same motif… a castle on a rocky hill, a body of water below such as a lake or a river, and a small boat pulled up on shore. Generally there was a cross in the composition.  Seifert was quite enterprising and used aluminum foil in the windows of the castle to create a lively appearance.  Reverse painting is an interesting technique and requires much planning.

Seifert created sculptural pieces as well, such as bas reliefs with a plaster substance shaped like a castle with a beach and a boat.  The beach had small shells from the Wisconsin River impressed into it.

The Seifert program is co-sponsored by the Ocooch Mountain Humane Society and the Richland County Historical Society.

We encourage attendance at this interesting program about a little known artist who created wonderful watercolor paintings in the driftless area of Wisconsin. 

Remember:  $5 admission per person for the programs, viewing of the collections by local people, and listening in on the evaluations of vintage and antique items. 

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Antique Adventures, Saturday, September 27!

Plans are being finalized for the second annual Antique Adventures event!  You are encouraged to mark your calendar and tell friends and neighbors to mark the date for this interesting and educational event. If you watch American Pickers, Antiques Roadshow, or Pawn Stars for example, you are certain to enjoy seeking out your own treasures in your barn, attic, or shed and bringing them to the Antique Adventures for evaluation.

We have two dynamite programs scheduled! Wisconsin Watercolors: Paintings of Paul Seifert, will be presented by Joe Kapler, curator, Wisconsin State Historical Society.  History of Badger Ordnance will be presented by Michael Goc, historian and author.  

We are happy to hold the event at the Community Center in Richland Center… 1050 North Orange Street. Hours for the event are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Plans for the event include evaluations of items brought to the event, two programs of historical interest, vintage vehicles, and displays of items from local collectors.

Because this is a fund-raising event for OMHS, there is a charge for admission… $5 per person or $10 if the person brings up to 3 items for evaluation. The evaluations are not legal, binding appraisals that could be used for estate needs, but evaluations that provide a starting point to go forward with a certified appraisal.

Vintage automobiles and trucks will again be welcomed to Antique Adventures. If you have a vintage vehicle or if you know someone who would like to display a vehicle, please contact us.

Of course, we will be looking for volunteers to help with setting up tables and chairs, kitchen help, greeters, and cashiers. If you would like to offer to volunteer right now, please call 536-3796 or 647-6453.

Stay tuned to the OMHS website as the detailed plans unfold: www.ocoochmountainhumanesociety.org or check us out on Facebook.

Mark your calendar today… September 27: Antique Adventures.

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Howl and Meow: Get Ready for a Fun Day

    The Ocooch Mountain Humane Society encourages pet owners to join the fun at the Pet Walk, Sunday, May 4, at the Howl and Meow event held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Community Center in Richland Center. The walking route is 1.5 miles.  The Pet Walk is a part of this 12th  annual event where the Mascots of the Year are determined by pledge dollars raised by the pets and their companions.  OMHS has a dog mascot and a cat or other species mascot chosen each year with  the honorees featured on the banner of the Pet Connection newsletter and also part of the OMHS website and on the Facebook page.
  Registration Form for the Pet Walk. It is also found on the Howl and Meow Events page on the main menu and on Facebook.
You may pick up a Registration form in Richland Center at Shireman Veterinary Clinic and the Richland Veterinary Service. Pledges can be made online, as well. Go to the Donation page on the website and choose either credit card or PayPal.  Be certain to indicate what the donation target is by placing the name of the pet in the comment box.
    Only dogs are invited to walk the Pet Walk route. However, Pet Walk chair, Sharon Panske, strongly encourages that cats, ferrets, reptiles, turtles, birds, fish, rats, or any other pet species be included in the competition for the mascot honor.  Bring a picture of your pet and take the photo with you on the Pet Walk.  When registering you must show proof that your dog's vaccinations are up-to-date.  The verification of vaccination is for the safety of your dog and all attendees at the event.
    Registration for the Pet Walk is 10 to 11 a.m. Sunday, May 4, and all pledge dollars must be turned in no later than 11:00 that morning…before the walk begins at 11:15.  
    The OMHS Howl and Meow Committee is optimistic that several of the Mascots from previous years will be in attendance. The OMHS mascot honors were the following: 2013, dogs Jackson and Bud, companions of Sharon Panske, cats Dunkie, companion of Mari Sue Bethke; 2012, dogs Daisy and Star, companions of Judith Krysko, cats Dennis, Zeus, Ziggy, companions of Craig and Cindy Chicker; 2011, dogs dogs Laddie and Willy, companions of Marlene and Russ Tilsner, cats Luna and Princess, companions of Carletta Heide; 2009 and 2010, dog Jackson, companion of Sharon Panske; 2008, dogs Toby and Sophie, companions of the Farrell/Hetzel family; 2007, dog McGyver companion of Carol and Steve Stevenson; 2006, dog Comet, companion of Lori Fuller; 2005, dog Molly, companion of Deb Kiely; 2004, dog Charlie, companion of Phyllis Kiely; 2003, Streak Lily, companion of Marie and Charles Barry; and the first year for the Pet Walk, 2002, dog C4, companion of Corey Davis, won the mascot honor.
    Other features planned for the Howl and Meow are the “Just for Fun” obstacle course for dogs, the Crazy Critter Quarter Raffle a video program by Littledale Farm “Working Sheepdogs,” a terrific Plant Sale, and the Grand and Glorious Food Stand.  Mark your calendar now for Howl and Meow.

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Colossal Rummage Sale is July 20

Rummage Romp for Pets!

Saturday, July 20
7:30 to 12 noon
Community Center on Orange Street in Richland Center

OMHS has a great reputation for having a mammoth sale… the biggest sale in the County… and a very clean sale! The first Rummage Romp for Pets was held in July 2007, and the annual sale has grown in size and quality every year since!  Don't miss the opportunity to find some great items and treasures to make you smile as you help support the effort to help pets in need.

 

  • Set up for the Romp is Friday, July 19, beginning at 1 p.m. and concluding at 5:30 p.m. at the Community Center.
     
  • Bring your PRE-PRICED items during the above set-up times on Friday, July 19.  We ask that YOU price your items to save time for the OMHS volunteers working the set-up of this HUGE sale. Please place a sticker or tag on each item with a clearly printed price for the buyer to read.
     
  • Would you volunteer 2 hours of time and skill to help set up on July 19?  Or would you work for 2 hours at the sale on July 20? If you volunteer, you will be eligible for the Early Bird Worker Sale from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Friday, July 19.

  • To volunteer, call 608-647-3461 or email info@ocoochmountainhumanesociety.org to register for working at the Romp. It is fun working together for a great cause.

     

  •  Rural Route 1 POPCORN: OMHS wants to clear out its spring/early summer inventory of popcorn and will be selling it at CLEARANCE SALE prices!  Flavors available are Cheddar, Mudpuddles (chocolate), and Caramel.  You can pre-order from the limited supply by emailing info@ocoochmountainhumanesociety.org for available product and the price.

 

  • Rummage Romp categories
    Kitchen Books

    Home Furnishings

    Music and Videos
    Tools Home Decor
    Sports… indoor and outdoors Home Office
    Small Appliances Clothing

    Toys and Games

    Gardening
    Furniture… indoor and outdoor Jewelry
    Pet Supplies Crafts and Hobbies
    Holiday Items Home Furnishings
    Antiques and Collectibles Pottery, Glass, Ceramics
  • Paperback books will sell for 25 cents each.  If you have books that are more valuable, please price the books individually.

  • We cannot accept large electrical appliances, bed mattresses, or large sports equipment such as treadmills.

  • We can definitely use some good strong teenagers to do some of the lifting and carrying for set up AND for clean up on Saturday, July 20.

  • OMHS needs 3 or 4 pickup trucks at 12 noon on July 20 to handle whatever might be left over from the sale.  And we need help boxing up items that are left over… teenagers can help with this task, as well.  Let's get some young folks to help out with this good charitable cause.
     
  • "Purrfect Recipes for the Whole Doggone Family," the OMHS 2013 cookbook, will be for sale at the Rummage Romp.  We have only a little over 100 books left to sell, so if you need cookbooks for birthday, special occasions, or holiday gifts, this is the time to buy.  We may  be out of the books prior to the November "Paws for the Holidays."

  • Below are a few items we already have on the sales list for Rummage Romp.

Router and table router and table 2 Red Leather Chair_edited-1 Poker table_edited-1 Walnut tables tv trays with stand_edited-1

We hope to see you at the Rummage Romp!

 

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Volunteers Needed for Howl and Meow!

Would you consider helping the Ocooch Mountain Humane Society with the May 5, Howl and Meow?

2013 marks the 11th anniversary of this feature-filled event celebration pets and their companions. An added bonus is that volunteers always have a good time working together for a great cause.

Work to be done at Howl and Meow:

Set up...begins at 8 a.m.  We need help setting up tables and chairs for many of the event areas.  We have a floor plan prepared to volunteers know where to place the furniture and other items.

Registration for the Pet Walk... two people are needed to check in the pets and people who are entering the Walk.

Kitchen and Grand and Glorious Food Stand…lots of fun in the kitchen with conversation and laughs. Help is needed at the counter greeting customers, taking orders, assembling sandwiches, cutting pies, cashiering.
Would you create a homemade pie? Please call 608-647-3461.

Plant Sale... help needed setting up table arrangement, checking in the donated plants (we keep a list of who donates to OMHS), pricing plants, cashiering the sales, boxing up the plants sold.  Proceeds go to help support the Spay Neuter Program.

Quarter RaffleHelp set up the table arrangement and place donated items on tables. Do you have an item or two to donate for bids?  Please call 608-647-3461. 

Photographer needed… Do you have a digital camera and would you be willing to take candid photos at Howl?  We need photos to document this 11th annual event.  Call 647-3461.

Videographer needed...OMHS would like to have video taken of various features of the Howl event. Video of the educational presentation would be especially needed.  A tripod-setup would be ideal to record the programs.  Please call 647-6453 or email info@ocoochmountainhumanesociety.org.


Thank you for your support of OMHS by volunteering your talent and time for Howl and Meow!  See you there!

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A Special Mother’s Day Gift Offer at Howl and Meow

The Ocooch Mountain Humane Society is very pleased to offer, at the Howl and Meow event , a special gift offer to celebrate Mother's Day which is right around the corner on May 12.  You can enjoy the features and events at Howl and also do some shopping for a very nice Mother's Day gift!

For a cost of $25 the Gift Offer includes the following:

One copy of the OMHS newly published cookbook,  "Purrfect Recipes for the Whole Doggone Family"  (Cookbooks are sold at $12.00 each.)

PLUS your choice of the following:

 Voucher for a hand-wrapped bouquet of fresh flowers from Added Touch Floral, Richland Center.
                       (The voucher allows you to pick up the bouquet at your convenience.)

       OR

A Mary Kay product of your choice… the products range from $16 to $25!  
  The Mary Kay products will be available at Howl and Meow. 


Orders can be placed online.  We suggest you contact OMHS via email regarding your gift selection. Payment of $25 for the gift can be placed online at Donate on the main menu.  In the comment/remarks
box indicate that you are choosing the Mother's Day Gift offer.

We look forward to helping you find a very nice gift for a special woman.

book and flowers Mothers Day deal cookbook Mary Kay special BEST
 

          

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Howl and Meow Celebration, Sunday, May 5

 2013 marks the 11th anniversary of the OMHS spring event, Howl and Meow!  The Board of Directors is pleased to present an event with a variety of features that are sure to be a pleasurable experience for visitors of all ages.

Howl and Meow
Sunday, May 5
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Community Center, 1050 North Orange Street, Richland Center

Schedule for the day:
10-11a.m.    Registration for the Pet Walk
10 a.m.    Plant Sale begins

10 a.m.    Grand and Glorious Food Stand opens… special canine lunch this year.
10:15-11:15 a.m.  Madison Area Herpetological Society presents "Native Species, a program about the turtles, toads, snakes, salamanders, and frogs you may see in your garden, your lawn, while hunting for the elusive Morel mushrooms, or just on a walk in the woods.

11:15 to 12 noon         Pet Walk... see details about the pet walk below.

12:10 to 1:00 p.m.       Just for Fun Obstacle Course for Dogs: No special training for this fun event. All dogs are winners and receive a treat for participating. We have some new obstacles this year. If you don't have a dog to enter into this event, please join the great audience that is so appreciative of the dogs and their companions as they maneuver through the obstacles.  There are a lot of misses and non-jumps but it is all just for fun!

1:00-1:30        "Cats and Dogs, Snakes and Frogs:" Dion Kempthorne, English professor emeritus and former dean at UW-Richland will discus how our companionship with dogs and cats increases self-understanding.  He will read his poetry and the words of others to provide a thoughtful look at pets and animals as they enhance our lives.

1:30- -1:45    Announcements...Pet Walk winners, Mascots for the Year, Quarter Raffle Winners, Results of the Focus on Pet's Photo Contest.

2:00   Howl and Meow concludes!  Thank you for attending.                  

Pet Walk Specifics:
 
The annual Pet Walk is a pledge-sponsored outing that determines the Canine and Feline/Other Pet Species Mascots for the year.  Enter your pet in the walk and ask your family members, friends, neighbors to sponsor your amazing pet to be the OMHS Mascot.  Dogs, cats, and any species of pet can be a mascot… turtles, reptiles, birds, you name it. Just raise the $$ to win the contest.  Online donations are accepted, too.  You can download the Pet Walk form here.
Besides being honored as the Mascot of the Year, you and your pet will win Chamber Bucks that can be redeemed at many, many local businesses.  First prize is $100 in Chamber Bucks.  Second prize is $75 in Chamber Bucks and Third prize is $25 ion Chamber Bucks.  Of course, your pet will be hoping you spend the entire prize winnings on pet food and treats!

Plant Sale: A variety of plants will be selling at Howl and Meow with the proceeds earmarked for the Spay Neuter Program.  There will be vegetable plants, perennials, and some house plants, and from Lincolnway Nursery, donated shrubs, berry bushes, and trees!
If you have some seedlings started and would like to donate to the Plant Sale, please call 608-647-3461.  We ask that plants be potted… please do not bring a bucket with palnts and dirt to be potted at the event.  We do not have enough volunteers to accomplish that task.  You can pot your young plnts inpaper or plastic dringkiing cups… just poke a hole in the bottom for drainage.  If you have garden related items to donate, contact OMHS via email.. see contact us. We hope to have a very fine sale to help support this important program.

Mother's Day Gift Offers: For a cost of $25 the special honor for a Mom includes one copy of the "Purrfect Recipes for the Whole Doggone Family," the newly published OMHS cookbook and, either a hand-wrapped bouquet of fresh flowers from Added Touch Floral OR a Mary Kay care product with a value from $16 to $25…you select the product for your special mom.
Copies of "Purrfect Recipes" will be for sale at Howl without the Gift offer, of course.  Get your copy soon. Our inventory is shrinking fast!

Pets in Focus Photo Contest: Bring a 4×6 or larger, un-matted, un-framed photo of your pet(s) and enter the contest!  The most popular photo is determined by the amount of $$ raised in the container with your pet's photo number on it.  Please do not put your pet's name on the front of the photo!!!  The contest begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 1:15.  Winner is awarded $25 in cash. Start taking photos of your special pet(s) now to be ready for May 5.

Rural Route 1 Popcorn at Howl: We are pleased to announce that we will have best selling RR1 Popcorn for sale at Howl.  No waiting for delivery… we will have buckets of popcorn right here at the event. Flavors are: Caramel Corn, Cheddar Cheese, Mud Puddles, Microwave Butter. This is our first experience with RR 1 so we are limiting the flavors to the recommended best sellers. Stock up for summer popcorn fun at Howl!   

The Grand and Glorious Food Stand:What would Howl and Meow be without great food!  The happy crew will be serving homemade barbeque, Chicago style hot dogs with the traditional condiments, and homemade potato salad. Home baked pies and ice cream will top off your lunch.
Have Lunch with your Dog:
Where else but Howl and Meow can you take your dog for a walk and then sit down with him/her and have lunch together? The Grand and Glorious menu will feature a special hot dog item for your canine companion's special lunch. 

The Quarter Raffle: Buy a bunch of tickets for 25 cents each and bid by placing tickets into the containers near the item you hope to win.  Bring some of your return address labels to stick onto the tickets to save the time of writing your name on each one.  We hope to have many quality items in the raffle such as pet food and treats, very nice stuffed toy animals, maybe some collectible items. household goods and items.  AND if you would like to donate a clean, lightly used or new item, please call 608-647-3461 or email OMHS.

Tees/Caps/Memberships:Sweatshirts, Tees, Caps in terrific colors will be available at the membership table.  OMHS welcomes new and renewal membership.  We have not raised the cost of dues since OMHS became an organization in 2001!

Just for Fun Dog Obstacle Course:This is a fun course for dogs and handlers right from the get-go. Each dog and handler are given a number upon registering for the course and announced as they start the course… the OMHS nod at the big dog shows you see on television. The registration form asks for information such as age, weight, favorite treats, favorite foods, favorite places to nap, special tricks or habits that are interesting, and where  We have two tunnels, two sets of weave poles, a ramp, a stop and sit area, and four jumps of varying heights for dogs and handlers to experience. This is a favorite event for the audience, as well, as everyone hopes each and every dog performs well. But if they refuse to jump or sit, the audience still encourages the with ooooo's and ahhhhhh's.  Each dog is a winner and receives a choice treat. 

Howl and Meow will be a fine day of fun, food, and learning.  There is no charge for admission. Mark your calendar now to volunteer or to attend the event.


 

 

 

 

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O’Delicious Bake Sale is Just Around the Corner

March 15, 2013 is the annual OMHS "O'Delicious Bake Sale," continuing the reputation as THE best bake sale in the County!  The Sale will be held in the Lobby of the Richland County Bank in downtown Richland Center.  The splendid sale begins at 9 a.m. and closes at around 1:30 when all the marvelous items are sold. OMHS is very grateful to the Richland County Bank for generously donating Lobby space for the sale… this is the 7th year for the sale and RCB has hosted it each year.

The O'Delicious Bake Sale features many ethnic goods.  After all the Vikings did invade much of Europe so why not include baked goods, not only with a hint of the Emerald Isle, but from the Scandinavian and European countries, as well.  The Bake Sale celebrates the ethnic ancestry of Richland County residents!

There will be Irish soda breads, scones, krumkake, kolache, and amazing biscotti. (Take it from me, the writer of this piece, the biscotti is amazing!)  Traditional baked goods at the Sale will include cookies, quick breads, cake, bars, candies, cheesecake, and luscious pies sold by the slice or as an entire pie. There will be jams and jellies, too. If the weather cooperates, we will have a limited supply of fresh watercress. (Intense, deep freezing temperatures can freeze the tips of the cress leaves, so we need cold, but not below zero temps, for the best watercress.)  Small veggie pack assortments will be available for a quick and satisfying snack around lunchtime to quell the munchies.

Carletta will be chairing the O'Delicious Bake Sale and will await your call to let her know that you will be donating and item or two for the sale.  Call 608-647-3461. Call by March 1, if you please.  Thanks for your generous sharing your baking skills!

Are you a  "noodler?"  We would really like to offer homemade noodles at the Bake Sale.  If you would prepare a wonderful batch of noodles, the O'Delicious Committee would be very grateful!

Brownies, bars, and cookies should be packaged 6 to 12 on a paper plate.   Do not bring and entire pan of items.  We cannot guarantee that the pan would be returned. During clean up a favorite pan could be lost of misplaced.  Not a good thing to lose a favorite kitchen item.

Speaking of volunteers, could you help out at the Sale?  If you are available to help on March 15 please call Carletta.  We always need assistance with setting up, selling, and replenishing the tables as items sell.

Needless to say, buyers are very, very welcome at the O'Delicious Bake Sale!  Raising fund for the Pet Care fund depends upon an excellent sales event and we hope that, if you are not donating baked goods or other items to the event, you will be an eager buyer of these homemade delicacies!  If you have questions please email info@ocoochmountainhumanesociety.org.

See you at the O'Delicious Bake Sale, March 15.

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Paws for the Holidays volunteers and generous donors create successful event!

The 3 November 2012, Paws for the Holidays event was very successful thanks to the hard work and talent of the volunteers who presented features of the day that appealed to a wide audience.  From the educational programs to the Amazing Bake Sale and the Pet Portraits there was activity in the Community Center all day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  The event raised approximately $6,000 that will give a real boost to the treasury to pay for costs of Pet Care, Adoption Center rent, Spay Neuter expenses, and other program and project needs.  OMHS thanks everyone who attended the event, thanks to the volunteers who gave time and effort, and a big thank you to the businesses and individuals who generously donated items for the Silent Auction!

Featured at Paws for the Holidays were:

The Grand and Glorious Food stand… serving the wonderful Chicago style hot dogs and much more!

The Amazing Bake Sale

Pet Portraits

The Silent  Auction

Shoppe 'til You Drop

OMHS Cookbook photo contest

Egger's Wreaths

Ruki'sRags

Madison Area Herpetological Society information table

Sandhill Marketing… bird seed sales

OMHS shirt sales

OMHS memberships   new and renewal

Spay Neuter information table

Adoption information and photos of pets ready for adoption

All of these featured booths and tables were staffed by smiling, happy volunteers.  It was a great day for everyone.

And the educational programs were icing on top of the cake, so to speak.  We learned about feeding wild birds and their migration patterns and response to drought, plus learning about reptiles and amphibians as pets.

OMHS looks forward to Paws for the Holidays, 2013!  

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Paws for the Holidays educational features were a fine success!

Saturday, November 3, was a very beautiful autumn day in southwest Wisconsin and Paws for the Holidays was a fine event for many OMHS members and new friends to gather to celebrate the joy of having pets in our lives.  The new Community Center building in Richland Center provided an excellent space for the many activities of the event.  Paws for the Holidays seems to be growing each year with more and more features to please the visitors.

The educational presentations were very well attended.  The Madison Area Herpetological Society was the center of attention for many visitors during much of the day.  Reptiles and amphibians are the fastest growing segment of the pet industry in the USA, therefore the program about choosing a reptile or amphibian for a beginning pet is extremely important.  The basic information about the care, housing, and feeding of these interesting animals was very timely. And reptiles and amphibians are hypo-allergenic!  They do not shed so the regular pet allergies are not a factor.  This was just one of the interesting facts provided in the presentation.

 

Ryan and Eric brought with them the following animals: "Big Betty," the Ball python, a Bredlei Carpet python, an Albino striped corn snake, a Florida Kingsnake, a Mali Uromastyx (lizard), a Crested Gecko,  Cherry head Redfoot Tortoise, a Fox snake, and a Tarantula (not a reptile or amphibian but an interesting pet possibility for some folks), and Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. All of these animals are "beginner" types of pets. We were very pleased that several school teachers at the event asked Ryan and Eric about the potential of having MAHS provide a program at their schools.  Both young men were pleased to have the opportunity to share their interest and knowledge about these animals so OMHS is definitely doing its part in providing humane education, one of our goals!

Of course not everyone at the Paws for the Holidays event was interested in learning about the reptiles and amphibians.  Frankly, many people are afraid of these animals and do not want to be near them. We were careful to make sure that anyone who did not want to look at the animals did not have to do that.  They could walk past without seeing anything frightening.  However, the presentation and the information table in the large main room for Paws was continually surrounded by people of all ages wanting to ask questions, look at the animals close up, and even hold "Big Betty" or the corn snake.  MAHS provided an excellent feature for the Paws event.

 

Following the MAHS program the audience learned about the birds in our region of southwest Wisconsin and how they fared during the incredibly hot and dry summer.  Barbara Duerksen covered these topics in her presentation:

•       Last summer’s heat and drought – It is hard to tell how the heat and drought affected the success of many of our local birds.  Bluebirds, however, did very well in the state.  Dr. Kent Hall,  Coordinator of Data Collection and Analysis for BRAW, the Bluebird Restoration of Wisconsin, says that the Eastern Bluebirds had a record production last summer. BRAW members sent in reports of bluebirds fledged in their bluebird boxes, the numbers totaling 35,592, which is an all time high since 1994.  

 Drought can have a positive effect on wetlands, rejuvenating the productivity.  Nutrients from sediments are released and plants seeds that have been dormant have a chance to grow, providing a food source for birds later in the season.  This can be good for wetlands as long as the drought conditions don’t go on for too long.

•       What’s happening now in the bird world?  Migration is ongoing.  Most of the insect eaters have flown south, ducks are on the move, and birds like juncos, tree sparrows, and Rough-legged Hawks are coming in from the far north.   Due to poor conifer and deciduous tree crops further north, some of the more unusual winter finches are beginning to show up at feeders.  Evening grosbeaks, which are striking black and yellow birds a little smaller than robins, have been seen in a few spots from northern to southern Wisconsin, including a report of one last week in Richland County.  Pine Siskins and Red Crossbills have also been found in the county in the last two weeks. 

•       Feeding birds, attracting them to your yard – a good source of information for feeding birds is the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s website: allaboutbirds.org.  Feeding information  is found under the menu for Birding Basics, then Attract Birds.  The lab suggests that black oil sunflower seeds attract the widest variety of birds, and are a good way to start.  Avoid the cheaper mixes with red millet and oats, which are fillers and aren’t  that attractive to birds.  White millet, however, is  liked by many ground-feeding birds. 

It’s important to keep feeders clean – scrub them regularly with dish detergent or a 10% bleach solution and let dry.

In the big picture, habitat is more important than feeders.  Native species of trees and shrubs provide more and better food for birds, with oaks at the top of the list.  Non-natives like the Norway Maple do little or nothing for birds.

A roost box is another way to attract birds to your yard.  It’s like a nest box, but has the entrance hole near the bottom, to preserve heat.  A good roost box design also includes perches inside.

• Upcoming bird events:

The Mississippi River Explorer Cruises are offering weekend wildlife cruises through November 18 from the Lansing, Iowa port.  This is a great way to see geese, many kinds of ducks, swans, pelicans and other birds up close.  A naturalist is on board to help identify the birds seen.

The Richland County Christmas Bird Count is scheduled for December 15.  Bob Hirschy is the coordinator,  647-3042

The 16th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count will be held from February 15 – 18, 2013.  See www.birdsource.org/gbba for details.

Barbara Duerksen is definitely our "go to person" in Richland County and our surrounding area for information about birds. We encourage all the bird watchers in the area to participate in the Christmas Bird Count.  It is fun and exciting to contribute to the data collected in this important survey.  Contact Bob at the number above to join the crew.

 




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