NEW YORK - “The level of interest in our Campus Chapter program has been overwhelming—we can hardly keep up. We soft-launched six months ago and worked quickly to meet demand, but as soon as we cracked the door open a little bit, student leaders kicked it wide open. We’re on track to have 50 affiliated campus chapters by the 2019 fall term and 150 a year after,” said Audubon’s President and CEO, David Yarnold (@david_yarnold). “Students are assuming leadership roles in conversations about the environment and climate change, and they’ve told us we can either keep up or be left behind. They also think birds are pretty cool. You put all that energy together with a brand like Audubon, and the sky’s the limit.”
Through the new Audubon on Campus program, Audubon aims to engage students in learning and action and to make conservation an attractive career path for student leaders across the country.
Student leaders will:
- build native plant gardens as part of Audubon’s Plants for Birds program and advocate for the adoption of native plant policies in public spaces;
- advocate for policies and practices that address climate change;
- advocate for bird-friendly building practices such as ways to avoid window collisions and implement “lights out” programs for migratory birds;
- help defend our nation’s most successful bird conservation law—the Migratory Bird Treaty Act;
- participate in community science and data collection like Climate Watch and the Audubon Christmas Bird Count.
“You know, to be honest, students have been here all along, but they haven’t had a seat at the table,” said Gustavo Figueroa, a campus outreach associate recently hired by Audubon. “We are here, and we are ready, and this new Audubon program recognizes that.”
“We are people who are interested in the field and do this for more than just fun – we want to conserve these creatures – and that’s what we want from interested individuals and other chapters like us,” said Mackenzie Dorr, president of Gators Ready for Exceptional Birding Experiences (GREBE) at University of Florida, Gainesville.
“Our 452 traditional chapters across the country have long been eager to bring younger advocates and bird lovers into the fold, so they’re partnering eagerly with these student-led groups on coastal cleanups, native plant gardens, advocacy, field trips, and more. I couldn’t be more excited by this program—it’s going to revolutionize the way we care for birds and the places they need. I encourage people who are interested to start or support an Audubon campus chapter at a nearby college or university— or their alma mater,” Yarnold added.
In another example of student activism, members of Clemson University’s College Republican club partnered with Audubon to meet with lawmakers in Columbia, South Carolina this week to lobby for the Energy Freedom Act which would expand access to solar energy across South Carolina.
To start the campus chapter certification process, student or sponsors should apply online. Audubon plans to grow the program to 150 campus chapters by 2020.
Learn more about Audubon on Campus. Visit audubon.org/campus-chapters.
About the National Audubon Society
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.
Media Contact: Chandler Lennon, firstname.lastname@example.org, (212) 979-3063