Friends of the AWHM,
I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to 2020. It’s hard to believe that we are already through January. We are excited for what the year ahead holds for the museum but are also aware and cautious of several challenges that are impacting us.
Membership: It should come as no surprise that our membership is shrinking. Growth and revitalization of our membership is a MUST and key to our survival. To combat this, we are changing focus to a more robust programming model. Long gone are the days of hosting a couple events each year to raise friends and funds. Programs like movie nights for children, paint and wine nights for adults, participation in community events, and other high impact practices will expose us to a new type of member. One that expects enhanced benefits with their membership. I am happy to share that our continuous use permit was approved by the city which allows us to host as many programs annually as we’d like as part of our standard operation. My thanks go to Lynn Hightower for his quarterbacking this undertaking.
Funding: As you are also aware, our operating grant provided through the city of Virginia Beach was cut by 12% last year. At a time where we must do more with less, this cut causes a greater emphasis on how much we rely on each dollar earned through memberships, fundraisers, and donations. We must look to create new opportunities for funds, enhance fundraising initiatives we have, and potentially abandon others that have run their course. Several examples would be our aggressive entrance into the wedding venue market, enhancing our annual Fall oyster roast, and a close look at our annual Christmas party, which lost money this past year. As you have heard me say before, we MUST do things differently.
Competition: While there are no other places like our beloved cottage, the Hampton Roads area is saturated with non-profits who are facing the same challenges and relying on the same funding we are. Again, we must do things different and provide an experience that a local or visitor can have nowhere else but at the de Witt. I would like to recognize Martha Davenport for a robust calendar of events for the upcoming spring, summer, and fall. These events will be a key factor in setting us apart.
Each of us plays a role in the success of our organization. Each dollar given or spent; each hour volunteered; each event attended; each guest you bring; each new member you help recruit; each act generously executed by you has a direct benefit to the museum and ensures its survival. My heart aches to think of a day where the de Witt can only be seen in pictures like the ones we showcase within or exhibits.
Like always, I welcome your feedback, comments, and suggestions. If you’d like to volunteer your time in the museum or make a tax deductible donation, please contact Lynn.
I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at our Guild meeting on Tuesday evening. The format for this meeting will be a “Show and Tell”. Please bring any piece that moves you and that you’d like to share with the group. Social starts at 6pm with the meeting beginning at 7pm. I enjoy our time together at these meetings.
Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati Enquirer
A snowy owl has been spotted in northern Ohio this winter.
Does that mean Cincinnati could see them locally? The chances are pretty good.
Cleveland MetroParks said a snowy owl was sighted Monday in Mecca Township, north of Youngstown and East of Cleveland.
"This snowy owl, found yesterday at Mosquito Lake in Mecca, is the first 'snowy' to be found this winter in Ohio. We're on high alert for Cleveland's first snowy owl of Winter 2019/2020," the parks department said. Dan Marsh, director of education at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, previously told The Enquirer that the possibility of seeing snowy owls in Greater Cincinnati depends on how things are going up north.
"They could push down here easily. It's not that uncommon, really," he said. We've had run-ins with the raptors before. Early in 2018, a snowy owl delighted bird enthusiasts in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky when it visited Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park. In late 2017, a snowy owl visiting Cincinnati’s Queensgate train yard was critically injured. The owl's appearance this far south tends to be cyclical and food driven, Marsh said. The primary diet of snowy owls is lemmings. When food is less abundant, snowy owls, mostly juveniles, travel south to feed. "They are just trying to stay alive," he said. "They are not looking to make a territory here," Marsh said. "As soon as they can, they will go back."
The unique look of the Snowy Owl means that this species is never confused with any other. It is the only one featuring an all white coloring. They also have speckles on the body that are dark gray or black in color. The size of the speckles as well as the pattern of them can be very different for each of them. The females seem to have more of the markings and in a different coloring.
The fact that the Snowy Owl is the only species with this white coloring gives the impression that it is due to the evolution process. At some point in time this species of owl ended up in the very cold regions. In order to survive it had to develop thicker feathers than other species. It also needed a coloring that wouldn’t stand out in the surroundings. Other species of owls are brown and grey but that would be to evident against the snowy background.
There are fossils out there dating millions of years ago that indicate owl species have been around since that time. However, it isn’t fully understood how they are linked to the Snowy Owl. The remains that have been found don’t show that this species was around back then. Yet they may have been and we just haven’t found those remains yet.
As a result there is an ongoing debate among experts about how the life for the Snowy Owls began. Were they the result of another species that moved into that colder region for some reason? Instead of dying out though some of them were able to evolve, survive, and to reproduce?
Born on Bells Island, NC
Son of a market hunter, Constantine “Stant” White. Clarence was the youngest of fifteen children.
In 1959 Clarence built a house on Knotts Island at the end of Brumley Road near his hunting area.
In 1943 Clarence made a stand of geese decoys that perfected a unique construction technique. Using a two-piece head that was joined by mortise & tenon. This joint strengthened the head and bill and is widely recognized today. Clarence White canvas geese are very collectible.