Author to bring plight of passenger pigeon to life

Joel Greenberg has always been interested in animals.

“That has been the dominant theme in my life,” said Greenberg, 59, an environmental consultant. “Everything in my college life as an undergrad was based on where I could see birds. I (also) majored in political science because I was interested in environmental policy.”

An author of five books, Greenberg will be one of the keynote speakers at this year’s Biggest Week in American Birding festival. He will give his keynote address and sign copies of his latest book, “A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction,” on Wednesday, May 7, from 4-5 p.m. at the Maumee Bay Lodge & Conference Center.

Greenberg, who said he normally does about 10 speaking engagements a year, has been on the road a lot in the past several months. He said he has done 63 engagements in 18 states and one in Ontario, Canada.

“Ordinarily I do like to speak publicly, and I do talks at local groups,” he said. “The last couple years I have been focused on both the book and the passenger pigeon.”

Greenburg’s latest project has been with Project Passenger Pigeon, which will mark the 100th anniversary of the bird’s extinction and promote the conservation of species and habitat, strengthen the relationship between people and nature, and foster the sustainable use of natural resources.

“I have been trying to get institutions to participate in this year’s anniversary of the passenger pigeon’s extinction,” Greenberg said. “We have about 160 organizations in the United States and Canada. To me, this is an amazing story and a powerful enough story that if we tell it in as many different ways we can, through music and exhibits, it might be possible that we can attract people who may not otherwise be involved in conservation. We want to tell people about the story and use it to underline the messages in the story that I think are really critically important today.”

Greenberg started working on the book in August 2009. It was released on Jan. 7 and is being made into a documentary that should be completed in May, Greenberg said. There is also an audio version of the book.

“The passenger pigeon was unlike any bird human beings have ever known,” Greenberg said. “It was amazingly abundant, the most abundant bird in North America, as many as three to five billion. They were not evenly distributed across the landscape; they formed unbelievable aggregations.”

Greenberg said that famed French naturalist and painter John Audubon witnessed a massive flight of passenger pigeons on the Ohio River near Henderson, KY, in 1810. Audubon wrote that the sheer number of birds “eclipsed the sun for three days.”

“He said the (bird) droppings fell like snowflakes,” Greenberg said. “In 1860 there was a flight near Toronto that probably exceeded two billion birds. Forty years later the bird was wiped out as a wild bird. The last one died in the Cincinnati Zoo on Sept. 1, 1914.”

Greenberg’s book illustrates that what is significant about the passenger pigeon is the speed at which humans drove the birds to extinction.

“We killed them,” he said. “We drove the birds to extinction in decades. From billions to none. They were shot and netted, mostly. To me, it underlines the fact that just because something is common-water, fuel or something that is alive-we need to take care of it or we could lose it.”

Greenberg asserted that the huge demand for passenger pigeons, which weighed about 10 ounces, came about because they were cheap.

“They would sell for pennies apiece,” Greenberg said. “As many as 40,000 could be shot over the course of a three-day (shooting) tournament. Primarily they were used for food by the wealthy, middle class and the poor. They appeared on menus of Delmonico’s in New York, and they were served at feasts for presidents.”

Greenberg and his wife, Cindy, who was born in Toledo, live in Westmont, IL, a western suburb of Chicago. Cindy is a special education teacher, and her husband travels the country and around the world speaking about wildlife and environmental issues.

“My passion has always been nature,” Greenberg said. “When I was real little, the first job I wanted was to be a farmer. I’ve always been interested in animals. As time has progressed I went into birding and then into a more general interest in nature.

“Nature is beautiful and intellectually challenging, and nature is important. It has caused me to go places most people don’t go to. I’ve been fortunate that I had a period where I did international travel. I saw gorillas in Rwanda. It becomes your world view and allows you to see things that a lot of people wouldn’t see.”

Kim Kaufman, executive director of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory, said she is thrilled that Greenberg agreed to be a keynote speaker at the Biggest Week in American Birding.

“We selected Joel as one of our featured speakers for this year’s festival, not only because the subject of his presentation and his wonderful book are so important, but also because Joel is an eloquent and engaging speaker who connects with every person in the audience,” Kaufman said.

Greenberg is an acknowledged authority on the natural history of the Chicago area, having authored three books on the subject: “Of Prairie, Woods, and Waters: Two Centuries of Chicago Nature Writing”; “A Natural History of the Chicago Region”; and “A Birder's Guide to the Chicago Region.”

Greenberg has been a blogger for since 2009 and has received several awards, including a 2004 Environmental Leadership Award from the Institute for Environmental Science and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, and the 1997 Protector of the Environment Award from the Chicago Audubon Society.

“I haven’t had a lot of time to go birding this year,” Greenberg said. “I’ve done some birding. I went to Indianapolis to be a part of a panel discussion on passenger pigeons and there was a blizzard and I went birding. This period in my life is so busy, I haven’t gotten out as much as I’d like.”

Greenberg said this will be his first visit to the Biggest Week in American Birding.

“I’ve never been to a birding festival at all,” he said. “I’m going to two this year. I consider this a real honor and I’m looking forward to it very much. I’ve been to Magee Marsh and that area, but never during the peak of spring migration.”


ICS kicks off 90th birthday celebration

Immaculate Conception School posed for an all school picture on Wednesday afternoon as the school prepares for a year of celebrating 90 years of providing children in Port Clinton with a faith based education.

Immaculate Conception School opened its doors in 1924 and continues to strive for excellence in Catholic education each and every day. Many birthday celebration activities are being planned for the upcoming year, but the festivities will be kicked off with the school’s 28th annual FICS Spring Auction which will be held on Saturday, April 26. This year’s auction is a 90th Birthday Party that will feature a birthday dinner; silent, live, and fishbowl auctions; and many other events. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person. 

All proceeds from this year’s auction go directly to Immaculate Conception School. ICS wishes to invite anyone who wishes to celebrate the past and future of ICS to make a reservation for this year’s birthday celebration by calling the school office at 419.734.3315. Donations of any kind can be dropped off at the school at 109 W. 4th Street during school hours. Immaculate Conception School is now accepting registrations for the 2014-2015 school years for preschool and grades K-5.


BPW Auction held at Catawba Island Club

Countdown to Summer was the theme to this year’s annual Business and Professional Women’s scholarship fundraiser auction that was held Saturday, April 5, at the Catawba Island Club. A silent auction, a live auction and a raffle raised just under $5000. The money will go toward scholarships BPW provides to area women and area women’s organizations.

The speaker invited to the event was Michelle Ish, BPW scholarship recipient and human resource specialist at The HR Department. When she contacted Lori Madison from BPW, Ish already had a four year college degree, but she wanted to do something more. Ish wanted to get her Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) Certification, and with the help of the BPW scholarship program she was able to do that. With the SPHR she was able to start The HR Department.

“I couldn’t have done it without the BPW scholarship,” said Ish. “I needed the continual commitment of education to reach my goals and they (the BPW) were able to help me achieve that.”

The money raised at the auction will be added to the money raised at the BPW Celebrity Server event that was held in the fall; $7000 was raised at that event. The money raised will go to 2014 fall scholarship recipients and 2015 spring/summer scholarship recipients. In addition to funding the scholarships, BPW also supports Ruth Ann’s House, Buckeye Girls State, Ohio Business Week, Leadership Ottawa County and BPW members.

For more information about the organization or if you wish to donate, contact Kimberly Leneghan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 216-346-9874.


Ottawa County Health Department Clinic Schedule April 14-18

Unless otherwise noted all clinics are at the Ottawa County Health Department with appointments being made by calling 419-734-6800 or 1-800-788-8803.

April 14

Immunization Clinic (including flu/pneumonia shots) 7:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
WIC Clinic 7:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

April 15

WIC Clinic 12:45-4:30 p.m.

April 16

Family Planning 9:45 a.m.-1 p.m.
Immunization Clinic (including flu/pneumonia shots) 2-6:30 p.m.
TB Clinic (no appointment necessary) 3-4 p.m.

April 17

Well Child, STD and Family Planning Clinic 8 a.m.-12 p.m.

April 18

TB Clinic (no appointment necessary) 3-4 p.m.

For home health please call 419-734-6800.

Speakers are available for your group by calling the Ottawa County Health Department at 419-734-6800 or 1-800-788-8803.


Ottawa County Beach Clean-Up

To celebrate Earth Day and help remove litter from our area beaches, the Ottawa Soil and Water Conservation District, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Friends of Magee Marsh, East Harbor State Park, and Catawba Island State Park, are hosting a county-wide beach clean-up. 

All beach clean-ups will be held Saturday, April 19 at 9 a.m.  If you are interested in volunteering at one of the four local beach clean-up events, please call to register. Make a difference this Earth Day and volunteer to keep Lake Erie clean!

Catawba Island State Park: Mike Monnett 419-734-4425

East Harbor State Park: Mike Monnett 419-734-4425

Magee Marsh: Becky Simpson 419-898-1595

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge: Justin Woldt 419-898-0014


American Red Cross Babysitter Training in Genoa

American Red Cross Babysittter Training will be offered to students residing in the Genoa School District on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 22 and 23, 2:30–5:30 p.m.  Students must attend both sessions.  Registration forms are available in the middle school office, or by calling 419-855-7741, ext.31203. Class size is limited to the first 15 registered students.  Registration deadline is Thursday, April 17.

This training is offered at no cost to students thanks to a generous grant from the Ottawa County Community Foundation.  Space is limited to the first 15 registrations. Participants should be 11-13 years old and are asked to pack a sack lunch. 

American Red Cross Babysitter Training helps students prepare for the unexpected and respond to emergencies in a calm and confident manner.  This course teaches leadership skills, safe play, basic first aid, rescue breathing, and how to clear an obstructed airway.  Safety precautions regarding severe weather events are also a part of the curriculum.

Students who are left in charge of their younger siblings after school and on weekends, as well as those left in self-care, find Babysitter’s Training to be a resource to develop the necessary skills needed to increase their self-confidence. 

Participants receive a take home handbook with a DVD and a certification card upon completion.


Easter egg hunt and lunch at St. Paul’s

A Community Egg Hunt and Lunch with the Easter Bunny will be held at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 541 Church Road, Lakeside-Marblehead, on Saturday, April 12, at 11 a.m.  Children and their adults will have opportunities to participate in crafts, photo opportunities, story time with Miss Easter Lily and an outdoor egg hunt.  Lunch will be provided with hot dogs donated by Netty’s, chips, root beer floats and dessert.  This event is sponsored by the “Side-by-Side” Ministry of St. John and St. Paul.  Reservations for the event may be made by calling 419-734-1662 by April 10.


Easter Brunch at Otterbein

Otterbein Northshore Senior lifestyle community will host a community Easter Brunch on Sunday, April 20, with servings at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The menu includes carved honey baked ham, lamb chops, mashed potatoes, vegetable medley, breakfast items, Belgian waffles and an omelet station. The brunch will be prepared by Executive Chef Ron La Pointe and his staff. The suggested donation for  adults is $13 per person, and children portions are available.  For more information or to make reservationsRSVP, call Lisa at 419-798-8203 by April 11. 

Additional information regarding Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Choices is available at or by calling 1-888-513-9131.


Marine Patrol unveils renovated boats

Front: Jeck Frazer and Chris Klingler. Back L to R: Dean Hammer, deputy in charge or work program, Kevin Bowes, Brad Weinheimer, Mike Winke, David Nunn.

On Friday, March 28 the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office unveiled two newly renovated marine patrol boats. The Bruce E. Mettler is a 27’ Boston Whaler Vigilant center cabin patrol vessel and is primarily used for marine patrol duties. The other boat is a 32’ Boston Whaler Justice center-helm patrol vessel and is primarily used for the Northern Border Initiative Project. Both of these vessels are run on grant money and were renovated at no cost to the tax payer because they were renovated by inmates in the work program.

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