Next ASM Meeting

Join Us at Arrow Rock State Historic Site, Arrow Rock May 4 - 6
Register Here By 4/27/2018
Keynote Speaker - Ken Keffer - Conservation Lessons from a Vagabond Naturalist
The Missouri River Bird Observatory cordially welcomes ASM members and fellow birders to the 2018 Spring Meeting!  We will be hosting this meeting in the beautiful, historic town of Arrow Rock.  The town is a State Historic Site and National Historic Landmark, and is adjacent to the Jameson Island Unit of the Big Muddy National Wildlife Refuge.  Birding in and around Arrow Rock, particularly during spring migration, is excellent and, to date, underrepresented in the itineraries of most Missouri birders.  The central location of Arrow Rock also gives us the ability to provide field trip options to a variety of habitat types, from prairies to forests to wetlands. 
The overarching theme of the 2018 Spring Meeting is bird conservation, with particular emphasis on engaging the next generation in birding and conserving Missouri’s birds and the habitats they depend on.
Youth Attendance at the Spring Meeting
The meeting’s theme is reflected in the line-up of presentations.  On Friday night,  young Missourians will provide presentations on their birding experiences.  Our keynote presentation on Saturday night features Ken Keffer, educator and former director of the Ohio Young Birders’ Club, who will discuss how to engage more young people in outdoor pursuits.  We will also offer a workshop on Saturday afternoon for those interested in helping to launch the Missouri Young Birders’ Club – a statewide program being developed by MRBO in partnership with local Audubon Chapters. 
We are encouraging individuals and local Audubon Chapters to select young people from their area and provide financial support for their meeting attendance.  To assist with costs, there is a lower registration fee for attendees under 18.  Let’s get more young people interested in birds!!  It will be their turn to conserve birds, and all our wildlife and their habitats, long after our turn is over. 
MRBO and ASM will sponsor up to five youth attendees to attend the Saturday morning Missouri River pelagic trip in exchange for their attendance at the Saturday afternoon Missouri Young Birders’ Club workshop.  Young folks – your input on the Young Birders’ Club is not only welcomed, it is crucial! 
Meeting Schedule and Activities
Friday May 4th Registration, Social & Youth Presentations
Registration:  When you arrive in Arrow Rock, please proceed to the MRBO office at 39250 Highway 41.  You will receive your registration packets and any directions you require.  You are also welcome to browse around our office and its grounds; we have a substantial library of bird books and look forward to showing you the “chicken house” where many education events take place.  The registration table will be staffed from 2:00 – 5:30 p.m. on Friday evening and 7:00 – 10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning.  Registration packets for attendees who can not arrive during those times will be left on our covered back porch. 
Friday evening social and special presentations: Everyone is welcome at the historic J. Huston Tavern on Arrow Rock’s Main Street for heavy hors d’oeuvres from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.  This social will be followed by presentations from young birders at the Arrow Rock State Historic Site (ARSHS) Visitors Center auditorium beginning at 7:30 p.m.  The Visitors Center is located 1.5 blocks from the Tavern. 
Saturday Evening Banquet, Keynote Presentation & Silent Auction
Banquet: The Spring Meeting Banquet will be held in the historic Arrow Rock Schoolhouse on the west end of Main Street.  Our meal will be served buffet-style and catered by Chez Trappeur Wine Bar and Bistro, with conservation-oriented food chosen by MRBO directors Dana Ripper and Ethan Duke.  Meal choices will include beef from Audubon-certified bird-friendly Missouri ranches (see:, sustainably harvested seafood and a vegetarian entrée made with local, organic ingredients.
Keynote Presentation: Conservation Lessons From a Vagabond Naturalist
Award winning author and environmental educator Ken Keffer will give a lighthearted presentation on his naturalist work from around the globe. Highlights will include coyote scats in the Tetons, flying squirrels in Alaska, monitoring black-footed ferrets for Ted Turner, chasing camels around the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, and babysitting Kenn Kaufman's cats. Lowlights include getting shot at by prairie dog shooters and a brief stint with reality television. Ken will use examples from his experiences to discuss ways to connect youth to the outdoors. 
Ken Keffer ( has worked as a professional naturalist and environmental educator in his native Wyoming and seven addition states from Alaska to Maryland. As a freelance writer, he has penned seven books connecting youth and the outdoors. Ken’s career is spent highlighting the importance of nature and encouraging people to explore the outdoors. He has written for numerous regional and national outlets and as a regular contributor to Birds & Blooms. During his time as Education Director for the Black Swamp Bird Observatory, Ken oversaw the Ohio Young Birders Club and contributed to the Young Birders Toolkit. 
Silent Auction: The annual silent auction will coincide with the Saturday evening banquet.  In addition to auction items available for bidding, we will also offer photographs on canvas from MRBO’s recent photo contest.  Auction and canvas sales will benefit ASM and MRBO.  We will accept cash, check or credit card. 
Silent Auction Donations
Please email Dana Ripper ( with descriptions of the items you plan to donate for the Silent Auction, including a suggested starting bid, if known.  Please bring your Silent Auction items to the MRBO office registration table upon arrival at the Meeting.  You can also send your items by post to: MRBO, P.O. Box 16, Arrow Rock, MO 65320.  Arrangements may be possible for pick up of items prior to the ASM Spring Meeting, depending on location’s coincidence with planned travel by MRBO staff. 
Silent Auction items will be displayed in the Arrow Rock Schoolhouse beginning Saturday afternoon.  Auction will take place during the Saturday evening banquet at the Schoolhouse. 
A small block of rooms has been reserved at the Holiday Inn Express in Boonville. However, there are a number of bed and breakfasts and camping in Arrow Rock. Because Missouri Valley College has graduation the same weekend, it is recommended that you make your lodging arrangements as soon as possible.


Friday, May 4, 2018
Missouri River Bird Observatory Office, 39250 Highway 41, Arrow Rock, MO 2:00 pm - 5:30 pm Registration
MRBO Staff
J. Huston Tavern, Main Street, Arrow Rock, MO 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm Social with heavy hors d'oeuvres
MRBO Staff
Arrow Rock State Historic Site Visitors Center Auditorium, Arrow Rock, 1.5 blocks from tavern 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm Young Birders' Presentation
Young Birders
Saturday, May 5, 2018
Field Trip sites 7:00 am - 3:30 pm Field Trips - See listing; times and meeting sites will vary
Field Trip Leaders
Arrow Rock Schoolhouse 5:30 pm - 10:00 pm Banquet, Silent Auction, and Keynote Speech
Ken Keffer - Author and Environmental Educator
Sunday, May 6, 2018
Various Locations; times and meeting locations vary 7:30 am - 11:30 am Morning Field Trips
Sat AM
Full Day —  Easy
Grand Pass Conservation Area and Van Meter State Park
Leader: Sherry Leonardo of Burroughs Audubon Society. Van Meter State Park will be the first stop on this trip. Warblers and other migrants abound in upland forest and one of Missouri’s few natural wetlands. After lunch at the picnic shelter and a brief visit to Van Meter’s excellent American Indian Cultural Center, the afternoon will be spent at Grand Pass, famous for shorebirds, waders and waterfowl.  
Sat AM
Full Day —  Easy
Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Surrounds
Leaders: Steve Kinder and Terry McNealy of Grand River Audubon Society. The Swan Lake field trip will visit a wide variety of different habitats, including marsh, open water, forest and field. Migration is an excellent time to see shorebirds and waders at this large National Wildlife Refuge. If time permits, this group may also visit Pershing State Park and Fountain Grove Conservation Area.  
Sat AM
Full Day —  Easy
Hi-Lonesome and other Prairies of the Cole Camp Area
Leader: Marge Lumpe of the Hi-Lonesome Chapter of Missouri Master Naturalists. This trip will begin at Hi-Lonesome Prairie Conservation Area, home to Missouri’s native grassland birds. Henslow’s and Grasshopper Sparrows, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Blue Grosbeak, Dickcissell, Eastern Meadowlark and more. Savannah Sparrows and other winterers and passage migrants may still be present. If time permits, this group may visit Mora, Paintbrush, Drover’s and/or Ionia Ridge Conservation Areas.  
Sat AM
Half Day —  Moderate
Missouri River “Pelagics”
Leaders: Ethan Duke of MRBO and the crew of Missouri River Relief. Bird the chutes and backwaters of the Mighty Mo by boat. Migrants of many taxa are possible in the riparian forest bordering the Missouri River, as well as on sandbars. We plan for this trip to leave from the end of the Arrow Rock Landing Trail, which is a 15 minute walk from town down to the River (golf cart can be provided for those who can not make the walk). Boats will motor upstream and float through the chute habitat north of, and within, the Big Muddy NWR If conditions do not allow trail access or boats cannot be landed at Arrow Rock, we will meet boats at Katfish Katy’s west of Columbia and float through Overton Bottoms and Eagle Bluffs. $55, cost covers boat fuel, crew and transport of boats by Missouri River Relief. Maximum 27 passengers on this trip.  
Sat PM
Half Day —  Easy
The Missouri Young Birders’ Club Workshop
Leaders: Ethan Duke and Paige Witek of MRBO, with keynote speaker Ken Keffer. Join in the genesis of the Missouri Young Birders’ Club! At this workshop we will form regional chapters, distribute organizational materials, plan initial outings, determine how the Club will use social media and other communications, and hear from kids what they want the Young Birders’ Club to be. If you are interested in helping improve the demographics of birding and bird conservation, please plan to attend this session!  
Sun AM
Half Day —  Easy
Private Wetlands Tour
Leader: Ethan Duke of MRBO. This trip will visit two to three privately-owned wetlands within 20 minutes of Arrow Rock. Marsh birds, shorebirds and waders are likely. These beautiful properties border the Lamine River and are never birded other than during MRBO surveys.  
Sun AM
Half Day —  Moderate
Arrow Rock and Jameson Island
Leaders: Paige Witek and Erik Ost of MRBO. Don’t leave Arrow Rock without birding here! This trip encompasses upland hardwood forest, bottomland forest, and grassland habitat. Meet at Big Soldier Lake at 7:30 a.m. ready for a moderate hike.  
Half Day —  Easy
Self-guided Field Trips
There are a number of great birding options in and around Arrow Rock that birders can do on their own, including Sappington Cemetery, Marshall’s Indian Foothills Park, Blue Lick, Marshall Junction and more. We will provide detailed maps and descriptions of nearby birding locations with your registration package. You will also receive details on the historical sites of the area, in case you would like to add some cultural history to your weekend