Audubon’s Bird-Friendly Communities team designated the week of April 19-24 as Bird-Friendly Week to coincide with the Earth Day theme, Restore our Earth. As a result, twelve chapters and centers were able to secure PROs (proclamations, resolutions, ordinances) in support of bird-friendly buildings and native plants. PROs help to raise awareness of the importance of birds to the community and can also include policies to protect them.
Between January and March of this year, the BFC team along with national staff, campus and traditional chapter leaders, designed and hosted separate training series for Audubon leaders. Training topics in some cases were unique to the two types of chapters but also covered some universal training topics, such as tips for drafting a proclamation, team building and partnerships, and reaching out to elected officials. To help hone their communication skills, they also learned how to best use social media to promote PROs, the power of storytelling, and the importance of recognizing the land stewardship of Indigenous peoples.
Due to their PRO efforts, Audubon leaders from across the country, including one campus chapter, successfully obtained native plant or bird-friendly proclamations and resolutions:
- The Mesilla Valley Audubon Society in New Mexico worked with the Las Cruces city council and county commission to declare April as “Native Plant Month.”
- Redbud Audubon Society appealed to the Board of Supervisors in Lake County, California to have April declared “Bird Appreciation Month.”
- Princeton University’s campus chapter secured a proclamation from the Princeton Birding Society designating this year’s Earth Week as “Bird-Friendly Campus Week.”
- Vancouver Audubon Society in Washington got the mayor to declare Earth Week as “Bird-Friendly Week 2021.”
- Litchfield Hills Audubon Society in Connecticut worked with their town to have April declared “Bird-Friendly Plants Month.”
- Pickering Creek Audubon Center in Maryland worked with the Talbot County council to declare Earth Week as “Native Plants Week.”
- St. Louis Audubon Society in Missouri, worked with the St. Louis County Council to pass a Lights Out Resolution in Missouri
- Bridgerland Audubon Society in Utah secured a proclamation from the mayor of the town of Logan to declare Earth Week as “Lights Out for Birds Week.”
- Patterson Park Audubon Center in Baltimore got the mayor to sign off on a Native Plants Week proclamation and the Center was also recognized with a resolution from the City Council of Baltimore.
- Gaylord Nelson Audubon Society obtained a proclamation from the Eau Claire City Council designating the town as a “High Flyer” Wisconsin Bird City” and encouraging pet owners, especially those who own cats, to keep them indoors to protect birds.
- New Hope Audubon Society worked with the county and the city to pass Bird Friendly Durham resolutions in North Carolina.
- High Country Audubon Society worked with the town of Boone to reaffirm the town as a Bee City USA Affiliate which requires the adoption of a host of pollinator-friendly commitments including habitat programs and integrated pest management measures.
Working to secure PROs has benefits for birds and for the local organizations. In essence, PRO work does 3 things: brings attention to their cause, builds partnerships, and grows the organizations and their capacity as they attract more people that may want to join their efforts.