Donor Impact

Donor Jeff Rusinow Shares His Love of Birding

Thank you to Jeff Rusinow, Schlitz Audubon board member and avid birder, for generously funding our new Feeder Cam. Now, anyone can watch bird activity taking place at feeders outside the Great Hall anytime and anywhere via an online feed! To view real-time footage, go to the “Birding” header or simply search “feeder cam” on our website.

Strong Ties to Schlitz Audubon

Jeff has strong ties to Schlitz Audubon that go back to 1994, during his first term on the Board of Directors. He played an integral role in establishing our Nature Preschool in 2003, that opened within the new Dorothy K. Vallier Education Center. Jeff believes that helping the Nature Preschool (now Nature School) l become a reality was “one of the best things I’ve ever done philanthropically.” We are grateful to Jeff for his ongoing support in so many areas!

One of Jeff’s passions is to inspire those who love nature to form an emotional connection to birding. He believes technologies like the Feeder Cam are great tools that anyone can use to become better birders, especially beginners. Unlike catching fleeting, far away glances of birds in a treetop, for example, viewing a bird up close makes visual identification easier. This technology, along with our new Birds of Schlitz Audubon Folding Pocket Guide, make birding at the Center a more accessible hobby than ever before.

A Top Ranking Birder

Jeff first became interested in birding at the young age of 12. Since then, he has traveled throughout the United States and Canada to cross birds off his “Life List.” He is world ranked at #53 for having identified 827 bird species in the American Bird Association Area. A highlight for Jeff was seeing a Bat Falcon in Texas during its first appearance in the United States. One of the most interesting places he’s traveled to bird is the island of Adak in Alaska, a remote former military bunker.

Despite traveling extensively throughout the continent, one of the places Jeff loves to go birding the most is right here at Schlitz Audubon. Our location within the Mississippi Flyway on Lake Michigan and our varied habitats makes us a birding hotspot.

Birding at Schlitz Audubon

Jeff has fond memories of birdwatching along the trails while living in Fox Point near the Center. In the past, he would hike almost exclusively along Lake Michigan and the Tower. Now he frequently walks along the new Central Wetlands Loop accessible trails and enjoys the serenity of the West Meadows Loop, where he might find a Savanna Sparrow, a Northern Flicker, or Wood Ducks.

Although he’s been to numerous nature centers throughout the country, Jeff remains in awe of the quality of birding here. “Schlitz Audubon is a terrific jewel, and truly is a special place to connect with nature and get outside,” he said. Thank you, Jeff, for sharing your love of birding with all of us at the Center!