The 2014 Wabash Valley Audubon Society James H. Mason Award winner is Joe Dickson. Joe has been a member of WVAS for 25 years and held the vice-president position for one year, secretary for two years, treasurer for four years and was a general board member for 19 years.
He began a backyard bird list in 1989 and now has 103 species, which include fly-overs such as Sandhill Cranes, Bald Eagles, cormorants, and White-fronted Geese. A U.S. list was also started at this time, since he travels often. That list has grown to 486 species. His Indiana list consists of 286 species, 200 of which have been found in Vigo County. Joe took up photography as a way to help document the bird species he encountered. When he photographed a spectacular or rare bird, he printed the photos and has sold many.
After retiring as a machinist, 11 years ago, he expanded his photos to include the rest of nature, both flora and fauna, since he had more time to study and travel. Until recently, he financed most of his trips and equipment by collecting and recycling aluminum and other metals, usually amounting to $2,000 a year. Joe's passion is spider conservation and he will educate people anywhere he sees a spider in need. He has done PowerPoint presentations in multiple sites across the U.S. including California and John G. Dobbs Memorial Grove Nature Center, among others.
Today Joe enjoys monitoring five bluebird houses for WVAS and helps with invasive species removal at John G. Dobbs Memorial Grove. His other hobbies include leatherworking, creating things, restoring old cars and remodeling his house.
Congratulations Joe on winning this prestigious award.