Though it might have ruffled a few feathers, the Newport City Council has joined many communities across the country taking steps to decrease the negative environmental effect of single-use plastics by passing a bag ban. Bags and other disposable plastics will be the focus of “Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution.” this year’s World Migratory Bird Day celebration from the Audubon Society of Lincoln City, taking place this Saturday, May 11, at the Lincoln City Community Center.

It is a theme that perfectly matches the chapter’s goals, according to board president Dawn Villaescusa.

“The themes for each year are established by an international committee and just happened to fit perfectly for us,” she said. “This year, we formed a conservation action committee who are involved with things like climate change, the marine reserves and ocean acidification.”

The festival will include presentations, interactive booths, live raptors from Chintimini Wildlife Center and activities for kids, including a make-and-take “beach in a bottle” and a group project managed by Haystack Rock Awareness Program’s Outreach Coordinator Pooka Rice.

“They will take an old window and create an art piece,” Villaescusa said. “Surfrider is bringing a five-gallon bucket of marine debris that they will be attaching to the window in a design.”

At last year’s event, kids helped create a 16-foot mural, which will be on display at Saturday’s event.

“We’re hoping some of the kids that helped paint the mural last year will show up to see the finished piece and then help make this new one,” Villaescusa said.

A slide show running between presentations will promote local businesses that are taking steps to decrease plastic pollution.

“We have information about places like the Bijou Theatre, who now sell metal straws and give a discount to people who bring them back; Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital, who are getting rid of single-use plastics; and Kyllo’s who’ve switched to using straws only on request and not using styrofoam for take out.”

Door prize giveaways will be happening during the event and guests can buy raffle tickets for a basket worth about $125, packed with reusable bags, bamboo utensils, reusable food wraps, metal straws and more, plus a two-night stay at Salishan Resort.

Presentations and educational booths will include staff from Surfrider, the US Forest Service, the Oregon Coast Aquarium and Tillamook Master Recycler Program.

“Our chapter actually covers Lincoln and Tillamook Counties,” Villaescusa said. “We’ve started sponsoring a bird club out at Neah-Kah-Nie High School as part of our effort to expand to that part of our area.”

Getting both kids and adults introduced to birding for the first time is a big goal for the chapter, which has purchased binoculars and bird books to aid in the task.

“That’s worked really well since people can just come out and join one of our walks and we’ll provide the tools,” Villaescusa said. “We’ve also purchased some kids’ binoculars. Those are great because kids have tiny heads so regular binoculars can be too wide for them.”

The club walks take place the second Saturday of every month except December, when members participate in the national Christmas Bird Count. The club also offers “Basic Birding” classes at the Oregon Coast Community College’s Lincoln City campus three times a year.

But they’ve put a lot of eggs into one basket to make the upcoming event a success.

“There’s a lot of information out there and it can be overwhelming,” Villaescusa said. “We want to get the message out there that every bit helps. One of my favorite quotes is by Anne Marie Bonneau, the Zero Waste Chef, who said: ‘We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, we need a million people doing it imperfectly.’”

World Migratory Bird Day is a free indoor/outdoor event held from 10 am until 2 pm on Saturday, May 11, at the Lincoln City Community Center, 2150 NE Oar Place.

For more information about the Audubon Society of Lincoln City, go to lincolncityaudubon.org.

For more information about the World Migratory Bird day and see a preview of the basket that will be raffled, find the Audubon Society of Lincoln City on Facebook.

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