PITTSBURG — Swallows, Martins and hummingbirds.

These are a few of the many birds the Sperry-Galligar Audubon in Pittsburg have been keeping an eye out for.

“While Sperry-Galligar's focus is mainly on birds, we certainly want to bring awareness to all kinds of wildlife,” Director of Nature Reach Delia Lister said. “We have members who are very passionate about amphibians and reptiles, for example.

“We also see the value of educating our youth and hope to make the world a better place for the next generation.”

The group has been around since 1999, named after the late Dr. Ted Sperry and his wife, the late Dr. Gladys C. Galligar, for their contributions to Pittsburg State University Biology Department.

On April 6, the group was received an award from the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education for Sperry-Galligar Audubon’s excellence as a community non-profit organization. It was one of eight awards given all across the state of Kansas.  

“Sperry-Galligar has not won an award like this,” Lister said. “It is a wonderful thing to be recognized for the work we, as a group, are doing.

“KACEE is one of the best Environmental and Conservation Education organizations in the country so being recognized by KACEE is a big deal.”

Sperry-Galligar President Wayne Bockelman and Sperry-Galligar Secretary Megan Corrigan had the honor of going to the award ceremony at Sunset Zoo in Manhattan, Kansas.

What makes Sperry-Galligar Audubon so great, Bockelman said, are the people in it.

“In fact, Sperry-Galligar Audubon is these people,” he said. “We have a former coal miner who now wanders strip pits photographing the flowers that grow there … an older member remembers as a boy seeing an entire flock of yellow-headed blackbirds — he was amazed.

“He has continued his entire life being amazed at the things he sees in nature and sharing that amazement with others.”
The Sperry-Galligar Audubon members meet to discuss bird sightings around town and have guest speakers discuss birds and other wildlife. In fact, the next meeting will be all about wild flowers and planting them in the backyard.

“Some speakers share their travel experiences and wildlife photography,” Bockelman said. “In the recent past there have been programs from as far away as Alaska, Australia, the Galapagos Islands, and Kenya; and as close as the Kansas prairie, Neosho Wildlife Area, and Pittsburg backyards.”

The group also hosts annual bird seed sales and has provided funding for groups such as the Kansas Eco-Meet, PSU Nature Reach, the Southeast Kansas Nature Center, and PSU graduate biology projects. They also build benches for trails in local parks and monitor bluebird boxes.

The group meets at 7 p.m. on the last Thursday of the each month in Yates 102 at Pittsburg State University, except June, July and August.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.