Current Newsletter



July 2014




Annual Midsummer Potluck Meeting

The Handlan Chapter of the Brooks Bird Club will have a midsummer get-together to socialize, discuss summer bird sightings, and even enjoy something to eat.

We will meet at Connie Bergmark's on Middle Ridge on Monday, July 21, at 6:00pm.

This is a potluck dinner, so bring a covered dish of your choice - main dish, dessert, or salad, and drinks of your choice.  Plates, cups, dishes, eating utensils, and ice will be provided.


Nelle Chilton


Connie Bergmark


Directions from Charleston

(allow 25 minutes)

Take I 64 West.  After crossing the Kanawha River, Exit 58A/ Oakwood Rd/ 119 South.  Go about 5 miles, Take Davis Creek Exit.  Turn left off the ramp.  Go 0.5 mile take 1st left (no street sign).  Go 0.6 of a mile, Take a right onto Middle Fork Rd.  Go 0.7 of a mile, staying to right (Do not go up to Barry Hills CC).  Take left onto Middle Ridge Rd.  Go 2 miles to the stone gate posts (this is the driveway).  After mile take left fork to the house.


Directions from South Hills

From downtown Charleston cross the south side bridge and take Louden Heights Road.  Go left at the stop sign to Connell Road, take it to the end.  Go right on Kanawha State Forest Road and cross 3 bridges.  Take a left up hill on Kessinger Road going to the top.  Take a sharp left, go between the stone gate posts and after mile take left fork to the house.


Hope to see you all there.


Ralph K. Bell

Ralph K. Bell, 99 of Clarksville, died Tuesday, May 20, 2014 in his home.  He was born January 27, 1915 at home on the Bell Family Farm, Clarksville, Greene County, PA, a son of the late Harold Kennedy Bell and Harriett Gaddis Luse.  Mr. Bell was a 1938 graduate of Penn State University.

Mr. Bell was a member of the Jefferson Presbyterian Church, Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), Fort Jackson Chapter, Greene County Soil Conservation; Eastern Bird Banding Association; Brooks Bird Club; Izaak Walton League; Three Rivers Birding Club; PA Society for Ornithology; Purple Martin Conservation Society and many other organizations.

He founded the Allegheny Front Migration Observatory (AFMO), September 18, 1958. AFMO is the oldest, continuous running bird banding station in North America. In 2002, on site at AFMO, Dolly Sods, WV, the West Virginia Public Broadcasting System, filmed a documentary of Mr. Bell regarding his founding of AFMO.

Mr. Bell began studying birds around the age of 12, and kept records from that time on. He obtained his Bird Banding Mater Permit in 1954. Over the years he had 15 sub permitees, whom he mentored for their Bird Banding Permit. As of May 2013, Mr. Bell had banded 142,255 birds, and had 1,481 recoveries.

Mr. Bell was given the PA Game Commission Certificate of Appreciation in 2006, in recognition of over 50 years of unparalleled service. "Your exemplary achievement in bird banding, bird research and providing homes for wildlife is truly inspirational to everyone who has a love and appreciation for the natural world".

Mr. Bell was given the John and Norah Lane Award for "Outstanding Contribution to Bluebird Conservation by an Individual", from the North American Bluebird Society, in 1983 (at that time Bell had over 250 bluebird nest boxes in Greene County that he monitored, kept records, and banding the nestlings and some adults.

Mr. Bell was awarded the US Department of Forest Service 2003 Volunteer Award of the Year for 46 years of outstanding dedication and service; the PA Society for Ornithology Earl Poole Award in 1998; the 2006 Purple Martin Preservation Alliance Award "For a Lifetime of Dedication to Purple Martin Conservation in Western PA; he was PA Envirothon Leader for many years; Ornithological leader for 46 years at the West Virginia Wildflower Pilgrimage, Blackwater Falls, WV; the Founder and leader of the Jefferson Audubon Christmas Bird Count, Clarksville, PA, December, 1958 for 50+ years; and contributed research to the 1st and 2nd ATLAS OF BREEDING BIRDS IN PA.

He lectured over 65 years on birds and nature to school children, civic groups, bird clubs, Boy Scouts, and many other organizations. He was interviewed on the radio in Pittsburgh, PA and elsewhere, as an expert on the subject of birds and nature.

Ralph published over 200 articles on birds and nature. From 1956 to 1975 he published articles in EBBA News for the Eastern Bird Banding Association, including the years 1964 to 1973, when he wrote a column titled "A Bird Bander's Diary". He published articles in THE REDSTART and THE MAILBAG for the Brooks Bird Club for many years. He wrote a column titled "Bluebirds" for the Nature Society News, Griggsville, IL, and published articles in many other publications.



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