by Linda Winnie
June Ash, longtime member and supporter of Flathead Audubon, turned 90 on March 19. She celebrated her birthday surrounded by family and friends. In the spring a delegation from FAS visited her to bring her congratulations and best wishes from Flathead Audubon, and spent a lively afternoon talking about birds and conservation and politics.
Many Flathead Audubon members remember June and her husband Rod with affection and appreciation. June and Rod were active participants in FAS for over 20 years after they retired to their home in the Swan Valley in 1984, and June continues to be a member. Beginning in the late 1980s, June served on the FAS Board of Directors for 10 years and as FAS Membership Chair for 13 years, and she and Rod headed up Flathead Audubon’s Bird Seed Sale program for 17 years. June and Rod were centrally involved in growing Montana Audubon from its beginnings, when it consisted of one part-time legislative lobbyist working out a borrowed office, to a thriving conservation organization with several full-time employees based in its office in Helena. After Rod passed away in 2006, Flathead Audubon instituted an annual “Raptor Day in Honor of Rod Ashe” at Lone Pine State Park, funded in part by Art Ortenberg, who was a longtime friend of June and Rod. June was the guest of honor at these celebrations, and spoke about Rod and their conservation work together, and about the critical importance of conservation. This event later became known as Flathead Audubon’s annual Birds of Prey Festival.
Congratulations, June, and Happy Birthday, from all your Flathead Audubon friends. And thank you for your conservation work in the Swan and the Flathead, and your many years of service to Flathead Audubon and Montana Audubon.
June now resides at Heritage House in Kalispell. When the FAS delegation visited in the spring, she asked us to pass along this message to her FAS friends: “I’m doing fine here. Remember that life is as good as you make it. I’m glad to see Flathead Audubon continuing its conservation and nature education work with such energy and dedication. The world needs this kind of passion and devotion to Conservation. Keep up the good work!” June loves to have visitors, so don’t be shy about dropping in to see her.