I took a trip to “Middle Earth” earlier today when I joined a friend at the midnight showing of “The Hobbit,” the prequel to J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The movie clocked in at nearly three hours, but staying awake wasn’t a problem, and “The Hobbit” met one of my key requirements for qualifying as a good movie: the time went by quickly.
But I digress.
Earlier in the evening, I attended a Grand Forks Audubon meeting in the office of Herald publisher Mike Jacobs. Robert Seabloom, UND professor emeritus in biology and author of “The Mammals of North Dakota,” was the guest speaker and delivered a power-point presentation on the state’s mammals, which also included an overview on the contributions of explorers and researchers such as Alexander Henry, Lewis and Clark and John James Audubon to North Dakota’s natural history.
I knew of Audubon’s contributions as an ornithologist, but didn’t realize Audubon also was an avid hunter who pulled the trigger on just about any critter that came into range.
I’m a Bemidji State University alumnus, but if I had attended UND, I would have enjoyed taking one of Seabloom’s classes. He’s been my “go-to” source on several mammal-related questions and issues in the past few years.
It might have been a cold, snowy December evening, but Jacobs’ large office was packed with about 30 people who came to hear Seabloom’s presentation. Dr. Rolf Paulson, who organized Thursday night’s Audubon meeting, suggested that perhaps Seabloom should speak every month.
In talking with Paulson after the meeting, I learned Audubon is in the process of regaining traction in Grand Forks after a period of relative activity. He said the group doesn’t want to detract from the Grand Cities Bird Club, but judging by the number of bird club members attending Thursday night’s meeting, there’s plenty of room for both.
The Audubon group — it’s not yet an official chapter, as I understand it — tentatively set Jan. 10 as the date for its next meeting. I’ll keep you posted as more information becomes available. If you’re looking for more information in the meantime, drop Paulson an email at email@example.com.