Top Audubon Stories 2022: Policy and Advocacy

Audubon protects birds, people, and the places they need to live and thrive. Here, a look back at a selection of our policy and advocacy achievements from the last 12 months.

Throughout 2022 Audubon continued its rich tradition of advocating for and securing the space, clean air, and clean water that birds and people need to live and thrive. This past year, Audubon and the Audubon Action Fund helped more than 150,000 people make their voices heard, fighting for stronger climate actions in the Inflation Reduction Act, for Lights Out and Native Plant proclamations in cities across the country, for coastal community protections and natural infrastructure that also supports bird colonies, and for better water policies across the West. Read on to learn more about Audubon’s most important advocacy and policy work across the hemisphere this year!

Great Salt Lake Gets Boost With $40 Million Investment in Water Conservation

In a huge win for birds and the Great Salt Lake ecosystem, Audubon and The Nature Conservancy were awarded an unprecedented $40 million grant to lead and implement a water trust to benefit Great Salt Lake and its wetlands. Audubon’s leadership, scientific expertise, commitment to collaboration, and long-standing conservation record at Great Salt Lake led to this major investment.

Ensuring water flows to Great Salt Lake and its wetlands over the long term is the single most important strategy to prevent further drying of the lake and protecting the birds and people that depend on the health of this irreplaceable ecosystem.

Audubon Helps Get Most Comprehensive Climate-focused Bill Signed Into Law

After months of advocacy by Audubon and dozens of other groups, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act and President Biden signed it into law. This landmark bill provides billions of dollars to help birds and people weather climate change, including:

  • $370 billion for the transition to clean energy
  • $20 billion for conservation on private lands
  • $4 billion for drought resilience in the West
  • $2.6 billion for coastal protection and restoration
  • $2 billion for wildfire risk reduction, including natural solutions
  • $450 million for private forest conservation
  • $50 million dollars for national marine sanctuaries

Audubon CEO Dr. Elizabeth Gray Testifies Before Congress

This summer, Dr. Elizabeth Gray testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works about the importance of improving coastal resilience for birds and people. Audubon was asked to represent the conservation community on important climate adaptation issues and provide input on four pieces of legislation, including the Strengthening Coastal Communities Act of 2022. This is a national priority for Audubon, as it would expand the bipartisan Coastal Barrier Resources Act and its system of protected areas, protecting vital coastal ecosystems while saving federal tax dollars. This was the first time Audubon’s CEO has been invited to give congressional testimony in over 10 years.

Audubon Americas Program Launches Conserva Aves to Protect Habitat Across the Hemisphere

Conserva Aves is a strategic initiative that promotes the creation, consolidation, management, and strengthening of 100 or more new local strategic protected areas at the subnational level, regional, municipal, ethnic, and private territories covering more than two million hectares in nine Latin American countries. This innovative approach, in partnership with BirdLife International, American Bird Conservancy, and the RedLAC funds, recently closed the call for proposals phase in Colombia, and soon will have the call for proposals in Peru. Early next year Conserva Aves will reach Bolivia and Ecuador, moving forward with this crucial initiative that responds to climate change challenges in the hemisphere.

Audubon Rockies Helps Secure New Policies to Protect Water in Colorado

Audubon Rockies helped secure several water policy wins in Colorado’s 2022 legislative season. Through their outreach, more than 2,400 members advocated to support the Wildfire Prevention Watershed Restoration Funding Bill, which passed and provides $20 million to restore watershed resilience. An Audubon member also testified in support of Colorado’s newly passed turf replacement program, which incentivizes water-wise landscaping. And finally, Rockies rallied more than 3,400 petition signatures and 440 free responses supporting protection of Colorado’s rivers in the Colorado Water Plan update. In recognition of these accomplishments and more, Audubon Rockies’ Western Rivers regional program manager, Abby Burk, was awarded the Riparian Hero Award from the Colorado Riparian Association.

Audubon Southwest Engages Biden-Harris Administration in Arizona

Twice this year, a U.S. cabinet secretary visited the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center to discuss regional conservation and ongoing inequalities in Phoenix, Arizona. 

In February, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland met with Audubon, Congressional and local legislative representatives, tribal leaders, and other local community members to discuss water conservation issues, environmental equity, and conservation investment opportunities along the Rio Salado corridor and throughout the Southwest.

In August, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg met with Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, as well as Tribal, congressional, state, and municipal leaders at the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center to announce a $25 million federal grant awarded to the City of Phoenix for the construction of a new bike and pedestrian bridge across the Rio Salado. The bridge, once constructed, will sit less than 1,000 feet from Center property and is the federal-to-local investment Audubon has advocated for in the Rio Salado corridor and its surrounding neighborhoods.  These recent investments in building connectivity acknowledge the ever-present history of the Rio Salado and its adjacent east-west train lines utilized to separate South Phoenix’s Black and brown communities from the city’s white population to the north, of which Buttigieg took note.

Record-Breaking Funding Allocated for Everglades Restoration

Audubon advocated for the nearly $1.1 billion that will be provided to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Program to support important projects. This funding comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that was signed into law in 2021 and represents a sweeping investment in the world’s largest ecosystem restoration project—America’s Everglades.

Audubon Has Seat at the Table Over Orphan Well Management

Christopher Simmons, senior manager of public lands policy at Audubon, was appointed to the Colorado Orphaned Wells Mitigation Enterprise Board by Colorado Governor Polis. The board will make decisions regarding $115 million in funding to plug, reclaim and remediate orphaned oil and gas wells, which can restore habitat for birds and address pollution issues for communities, including those facing historic inequities.

Advocacy by Audubon New York Helps Secure Protections for Wetlands Throughout the State

This year, reforms to New York state's Freshwater Wetlands Act makes it possible for state authorities to protect more than a million acres of critical wetlands and tens of thousands of smaller, unmapped wetlands that exist across the state. The environmental community has been fighting for these reforms for decades, as wetlands fell victim to unchecked development, the spread of pollution, degradation from invasive species, and the increasing impacts of climate change. Wetlands are also at risk due to shifting federal protections, as court decisions have cut back the types of waters protected under the federal Clean Water Act. These changes have threatened federal protections for critical habitats across New York State and escalated the urgent need to reform the New York State Freshwater Wetlands Act. A coalition of partners that included Audubon New York were vital to making this legislation reform a reality.

Save the Seabirds Fly-in Brings New Voices to Congress

Audubon hosted a hybrid 2022 Save the Seabirds Fly-in on Capitol Hill and online this October. During the event, staff and chapter members from eight states met with 15 congressional offices both virtually and in person to advocate for seabirds and the forage fish and coastal habitats they rely on. In addition to staff from Audubon Delta, Audubon California, and Audubon Great Lakes, our participating chapters included the University of South Carolina campus chapter, Little Red River Audubon Society, Mississippi Coast Audubon Society, Portland Audubon, Detroit Audubon Society, and Northeastern Wisconsin Audubon Society. As a result of Audubon’s advocacy and education during this event, new Members of Congress added their support to the Sustaining America’s Fisheries for the Future Act, which helps protect forage fish.

Audubon Chief Conservation Officer Judges 2023 Duck Stamp Contest

Marshall Johnson, Audubon’s chief conservation officer, served as one of the judges for the 2023 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Federal Duck Stamp contest. Federal Duck Stamps raise millions of dollars a year for national wildlife refuges and are an important way to get crucial bird conservation work accomplished. This year’s winner was Joseph Hautman (his sixth win overall) for his painting of three Tundra Swans. To celebrate the contest being judged in Bismarck, North Dakota, Audubon Dakotas coordinated two events to showcase the importance of working lands conservation.

Mitchell Lake Audubon Center Receives $6 Million in City of San Antonio Bond Funds

After a robust community campaign led by Audubon Texas, in May voters approved $6 million in City of San Antonio municipal bond funds be directed to support improvements at the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center. The proposed improvements support the City’s four guiding principles of this bond initiative and will make a great impact for birds and visitors alike, by creating equity in public amenities in a traditionally under resourced community, increasing visitor accessibility, expanding regional connectivity to the citywide hike and bike trail system, and improving a world-renowned riparian corridor and recreation area.

Audubon Working to Address Climate Change in Minnesota

Audubon helped push the State of Minnesota to finalize and adopt a Climate Action Framework that aligns with the goals of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Audubon Minnesota Iowa Missouri’s Dr. Dale Gentry, Director of Conservation, and Lindsay J. Brice, Policy Director were appointed and served on the statewide Climate Smart Natural & Working Lands and Resilient Communities workgroups. They reviewed and recommended changes to the final plan.

Audubon Minnesota Iowa Missouri Secures Funding for Tallgrass Aspen Parklands

Audubon received $2.14 million in funding from the state of Minnesota for the Tallgrass Aspen Parklands program, which protects and restores critical bird habitat in designated Important Bird Areas on public and private lands in a region that experiences intense migration. Since the program began in 2012, more than 1,700 acres have been restored in addition to the protection of 900 acres through conservation easements. This new funding enables Audubon Minnesota Iowa Missouri to scale this work on an additional 1,700 acres. A recent $418,500 National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grasslands grant through the Conservation Partners Program will further Audubon’s impact in the region over the upcoming years as we expand restoration in this critical area for birds.

Hundreds of Artists Contribute to The Birdsong Project

Audubon partnered in The Birdsong Project‚ an unprecedented outpouring of creativity by 200+ of the biggest names in entertainment to celebrate the joy of birds and inspire conservation action to protect them. Produced by Grammy Award-winning music supervisor Randall Poster, the collection is available on all streaming platforms and as a 20LP vinyl box set, all proceeds of which benefit Audubon. The project earned media coverage ranging from The New York Times to Rolling Stone, plus social media elevation by such mega-celebrities as Leonardo DiCaprio and Yoko Ono. You can listen to The Birdsong Project here.

Connecticut Passes Law to Protect Fish that Seabirds Need for Food

With support from Audubon Connecticut and partners, Connecticut passed a new law to protect important forage fish species in Connecticut coastal waters, limiting the harvest of little fish like Atlantic silverside, sand lance, and others to no more than 200 pounds per day. This law will help ensure that Least Terns and other seabirds have plenty to eat and to feed their chicks.

Audubon Finds Broad Support for Clean Energy in Indiana

An Indiana statewide poll released by Audubon Great Lakes found that voters in Indiana, regardless of political orientation, overwhelmingly support having more renewable energy in Indiana. The polling also found that 75 percent of Hoosiers, including an overwhelming majority of Republicans, Independents and Democrats, support net metering policies that fairly compensate customers who generate their own electricity, usually through solar panels on their rooftops, for electricity they add to the grid. Following the release of the poll, almost 300 Audubon members in Indiana reached out to their state senators in support of SB 248 to strengthen net-metering protections in the state.

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Tours Site of Audubon Great Lakes’ Restoration Work in Wisconsin

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin went birding with Audubon in Allouez Bay in Superior, Wisconsin to learn about Audubon Great Lakes’ plan to bring back declining bird populations across the St. Louis River Estuary region, and to discuss bipartisan conservation and climate solutions to protect Wisconsin’s birds and people. The event brought together project partners, including representatives from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, Duluth Audubon Society, and Chequamegon Audubon Society, as well as local representatives from the City of Superior.

Michigan Climate Plan Improved Thanks to Audubon Members and Concerned Residents

This year, more than 900 Audubon members across the state encouraged the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, and the Council on Climate Solutions, to strengthen a draft plan designed to help the State of Michigan achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Thanks to that outreach, the final plan contains important improvements, including a call for the state to generate 60 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources, cut 28 percent of the state’s emissions by 2025, and retire coal-fired power plants in the state by 2030. It also explicitly addresses climate equity concerns, calling for at least 40 percent of any state funding that will be used for climate and water-related infrastructure to go to BIPOC and disadvantaged communities. Finally, thanks to Audubon and member input, the plan now recommends responsibly siting solar farms on state-owned lands to minimize their impacts on birds.

Audubon Finds Strong Support for Wetlands Protections in Indiana

Indiana has lost 85 percent of its wetlands, forcing birds like the Black Tern and Yellow-headed Blackbird out of the state to find suitable habitat. A diverse group of experts and stakeholders in Indiana that make up the Indiana Wetlands Task Force have agreed – loss of wetlands is negatively impacting Indiana residents, and we need to do more to protect this important natural resource. The Indiana Wetlands Task Force was established as part of Senate Enrolled Act 389, which rolled back protections for more than 400,000 acres of wetlands in Indiana.

Earlier this year, Audubon Great Lakes released findings from an Indiana state-wide poll, which found that Indiana residents across the political spectrum overwhelmingly support wetlands protections. The Task Force cited these findings in their final report, which outlines the steps needed to take to protect them.

Audubon Helps Bring Bird-friendly Clean Energy to Washington State

Audubon Washington led efforts to bring Washington State University’s Least-Conflict Solar Siting project, which identifies areas with the least potential for conflict over the siting of large-scale solar energy projects, to the state’s Columbia Plateau region. This region, which is in eastern Washington state, features environmentally sensitive sagebrush habitat and is home to a variety of sagebrush-dependent species like the Greater Sage-Grouse, and proper siting of renewable energy is critical to minimize impacts to these ecosystems. Now that the process is underway, Audubon is focused on protecting sagebrush birds and the habitat they rely on while pursuing policies to help accelerate the deployment of responsibly-sited renewable energy. Going forward, Washington State University is engaging Audubon and other stakeholders, as well as tribes and key agencies, to use local input and spatial data to produce maps and an associated final report by June 2023.

Audubon Supported Climate, Conservation, and Environmental Justice in Pennsylvania

This spring, Audubon Mid-Atlantic staff and members voiced support of a Pennsylvania budget that includes more than $696 million in Growing Greener funding, including more than $150 million to the commonwealth’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. More than 1,500 Audubon members reached out to legislators this spring to urge them to support these appropriations. And in the November election, rural voters in Carbon County, Pennsylvania voted overwhelmingly (83 percent) to support an Audubon-backed $10 million bond supporting open space, agricultural areas, and water protection.

Audubon Helped Secure $1.25 Million for USGS Water Survey

Audubon’s Saline Lakes (part of the Western Water program) and policy teams helped secure $1.25 million dollars in Congressional funding for the U.S. Geological Survey to establish a regional Integrated Water Availability Assessment study program in the Great Basin of the American West. The program’s purpose is to assess and monitor the hydrology of saline lakes in the Great Basin and the migratory birds and other wildlife dependent on those habitats.

Audubon’s Lander Karath Selected to Co-lead in the America the Beautiful for All Coalition 

The America the Beautiful for All Coalition reflects the diversity of America and centers the voices of people of color working to conserve 30 percent of our public lands, waters, and ocean by 2030. Lander Karath, Audubon’s manager of public lands policy, joined the coalition as co-lead of the Wildlife working group. By building shared power among land, freshwater, and ocean advocates across communities, perspectives, and interests, this coalition will design and drive forward a shared policy agenda that motivates action by the Biden Administration and other decision-makers to implement just solutions.

Advocacy by Audubon Southwest Helps Secure $440 Million for Arizona Water Conservation

Audubon’s advocacy and policy staff helped secure nearly $440 million dedicated to conservation and water reliability projects throughout Arizona, including unprecedented funding for improving surface water flows, groundwater recharge and aquifer health, and landscape watershed protection including through green infrastructure. This funding—if used wisely—can help jump-start the long-term transformation the state needs in order to adapt to drought and water scarcity supercharged by climate change. Haley Paul, policy director for Audubon Southwest, was recently selected to serve on Senator Krysten Sinema’s water advisory council.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem Declares National Prairie Day

Audubon Dakota partnered with Governor Kristi Noem to proclaim June 4th, 2022 as Prairie Day in South Dakota. South Dakota’s prairies provide critical habitat for grassland birds and pollinators and are a cornerstone of South Dakota’s ranching industry. With nearly half of South Dakota’s land area in grasslands, prairies are a valuable resource for livestock producers and wildlife. The proclamation elevates the prairies of South Dakota to recognize the immense importance of these ecosystems as not only bird and wildlife habitat, but as irreplaceable resources to Indigenous peoples, ranchers, and the broader South Dakota community.

Audubon Reviewed Proposed Clean Energy Projects 
This year, Audubon’s Clean Energy Initiative (CEI) team tracked and made recommendations on more than 34 proposed wind, solar, and transmission projects. In total, these offshore and land-based renewable energy projects span 20 different states and present a nameplate capacity of 26,020 megawatts—enough to power more than 4.9 million homes. Audubon’s CEI team is working with more than half a dozen field offices—Washington, Southwest, Rockies, Great Lakes, New York, South Carolina, Missouri, California, and Mid Atlantic—to help ensure that projects avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts to birds and the places they need.

Audubon Helped Mainstream Bird Conservation in the National Environmental and Development Agendas in Chile and Colombia

The National Bird Conservation Plan was successfully integrated into the national policy framework in January, and in October, the National Committee for the implementation of the plan was formalized and integrated by Audubon and other 22 organizations from the public sector, academy, and NGO, led by the Chilean Ministry of Environment. The Audubon Americas program has supported the implementation of this plan by carrying out the first bird-based tourism market analysis for the country, conducting a coastal and seabird conservation gap in the marine protected areas.
Colombia has an updated National Bird Conservation Strategy and action plan (ENCA 2030). The Audubon Americas program had a leading role in partnership with the Humboldt Institute and the national birdwatchers network RNOA, in adoption of the new plan. The documents set a participatory milestone with the close and active engagement of more than 1,000 people (social, economic, environmental, and community sectors) participating in more than 40 virtual and face-to-face workshops. The strategy has been shared so far in 12 national and international events. Next year, the ENCA implementation phase begins, with national and regional launches and the governance committee's formalization.

Audubon Advocates for Responsible Transmission Development

In September, Audubon’s CEI team presented a free webinar on transmission development to more than 280 attendees. CEI staff explained Audubon’s positions on transmission and why projects like the SunZia transmission line are essential for a clean energy transition. Staff also covered regulations and fragmentation of the grid, what can be done to facilitate transmission, and how everyone can create net conservation benefits for birds.

Audubon Members Push California to Pass Environmental Justice Bill Into Law

After tens of thousands of Audubon members advocated in support of it, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Equitable Outdoor Access Act (AB 30) into law, a historic milestone toward achieving equitable opportunities for safe and affordable access to nature for all Californians. Implementation of AB 30 will result in more parks and open space across California, especially in communities that are deprived of natural areas. Expanding green space will improve healthy outdoor recreation, connect communities with nature, create bird habitat, and build bird-friendly communities.

New York State Passes $4.2 Billion Bond Measure for Clean Air and Water

In November, voters in New York state passed the $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act. Audubon New York was part of the Vote Yes for Clean Water & Jobs coalition, a diverse and engaged partnership of over three hundred environmental organizations, unions and business groups that propelled this measure to success.

Audubon South Carolina and Hilton Head Audubon Help Pass Green Space Measure

Beaufort County, South Carolina voters passed a Green Space sales tax to be used to purchase land and save it from development. The tax will start in May 2023 and run for two years or until $100 million has been collected. Audubon South Carolina and Hilton Head Audubon helped educate voters about the proposed sales tax increase and were instrumental in getting the measure passed this November.

Audubon North Carolina Lays Groundwork for Responsible Offshore Wind Energy

Over the last year, Audubon has shaped the conversation around responsible offshore wind energy in North Carolina, an important tool in the fight against climate change. Audubon formed a new coalition and our members signed petitions and flooded public comment periods with letters urging industry and officials to grow the industry responsibly, to protect birds and slash emissions. The early results are promising—leases for the newest wind energy area include strong wildlife monitoring requirements using Motus tracking technology.

Audubon Americas Helped Support Mangrove and Coastal Wetland Conservation and Sustainable Management in Panama and Chile
 Science is at the heart of Audubon Americas Coastal Resilience projects. Two core countries are leading the Americas pack: Panama and Chile. The Blue Natural Heritage project in Panama, in partnership with the Panama Audubon Society, validated a methodology with the Ministry of Environment for the measurement of blue carbon in mangroves, to be accounted for separately from inland-forest carbon. This US$2.3-million project backed by the United Kingdom's Blue Carbon Fund, and administered by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), initiated its implementation through the establishment of monitoring units in the Bay of Parita pilot site -crucial for migratory birds, as the Panama Bay is as well- and carrying out the corresponding laboratory analysis to determine the existing carbon stock.

Further south, in Chile, Audubon Americas is advancing the implementation of a Conservation Action Plan for the Rocuant-Andalién IBA, Concepción, by supporting efforts to reduce human disturbance and strengthening partnerships for shorebird conservation with strategic partners and the Chilean Government. On a similar note, Audubon Americas Chile recently started a partnership with the Fundación Cosmos to work at the Humedal del Río Maipo Natural Sanctuary, also an IBA, during 2023. This is one of the key sites for migratory shorebirds and other resident bird species.

Audubon Helps Water Flow Again in Colorado River Delta

The Colorado River flowed in its delta once again this year. The flows, which began on May 1, are the result of binational collaboration and deliberate management. The water is dedicated to supporting the ecosystem and local communities in a landscape where the river has not flowed for most years in the past half century. Audubon and its partners have been key to advocating for these water deliveries to the Colorado River delta. The water delivery is a heartening bit of good news for the Colorado River, which earlier this year was designated as America’s most endangered river.

Audubon Releases a Blueprint for a Climate-Resilient Mississippi River

As part of its new blueprint for a resilient Mississippi River, Audubon identified nearly 50 million acres across multiple states in the Lower Mississippi River region as the most important places for birds and people. Using that blueprint as a guide, Audubon will deploy natural infrastructure solutions that restore and enhance ecosystems like wetlands and floodplains, to help make communities and ecosystems more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Wetland Restoration with Oneida Nation, Audubon Great Lakes, and Partners

Audubon Great Lakes, in partnership with Oneida Nation and Northeastern Audubon Society, and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Cofrin Center for Biodiversity, are leading a volunteer bird monitoring effort on recently restored Oneida Nation grasslands, marshes, and forests to evaluate the success of this restoration. The project builds bridges between partners who all have a stake in ensuring healthy habitat in the region, strengthening local community ties, and lays the foundation for future restoration work to be informed by community voices and Indigenous conservation practices. The next phase of this project includes securing an Audubon Important Bird Area designation for a portion of Oneida land and, going forward, volunteers will advocate for Indigenous communities when meeting with elected officials.  

Audubon’s Boreal Conservation Team Works With Partners Across Canada to Support Indigenous Stewardship

In collaboration with Indigenous partners and other NGOs, Audubon’s Boreal Conservation team is helping to support 100 million acres of proposed protected areas in Canada through communications, science, and collaboration. This includes the final establishment of the 3.5 million-acre Edéhzhíe (Horn Plateau) Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area and National Wildlife Area in the Northwest Territories. Here it is estimated that between 5 and 10 million birds are now protected in their summer homes during the breeding season.

In Manitoba, the Seal River Watershed Alliance is creating an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area on the western side of Hudson Bay to help protect 12 million acres of lakes, rivers, and lands that sustain cultures and support migratory birds, caribou, and polar bears. Audubon works to support the Sayisi Dene First Nation—in partnership with their Cree, Dene, and Inuit neighbors—as they lead the initiative to protect the entirety of the Seal River watershed—an area the size of Costa Rica. Protecting the watershed ensures that future generations can continue traditional practices and have access to the generous bounty of its lands and water.

Audubon’s Boreal Conservation Team Works with Indigenous Guardians to Monitor Biodiversity

Through collaborations between Indigenous Guardians programs and the Boreal Conservation program team, new bioacoustics projects are in progress from the Yukon and Northwest Territories to northern Quebec and Newfoundland. Using autonomous recording units deployed in remote areas across the Boreal Forest of Canada, researchers obtained 10,000 hours of audio recording surveys. The recorded birdsongs and calls can be analyzed to determine the presence of birds in the area over time and help understand changes taking place within the ecological communities.

Audubon State Offices and Local Chapters Secure Native Plant Commitments

In a first for the Bird-Friendly Communities PROs (Proclamations, Resolution, and Ordinances) program, Wake Audubon Society in Wake County, North Carolina, successfully advocated for the adoption of a native-plant city ordinance—an enforceable law—in the town of Cary, North Carolina. This new law regulates the amount of plants developers must include in building developments and provides them with landscape credit if they meet these new rules. San Diego Audubon in California, Seneca Rocks Audubon in Pennsylvania and Hot Springs Village Audubon in Arkansas were also successful in securing native plants proclamations or resolutions in their local municipalities.

Since Audubon began the PROs program in 2020, the Bird-friendly Communities team has helped chapters secure a total of 41 PROs across the United States by providing technical support like trainings and webinars, resources, and funding. 

Audubon Great Lakes Hosted Local Chapter Gathering and Awards

This spring, Audubon members from across the Great Lakes region came together online for the 2022 Audubon Great Lakes Chapter Gathering and Awards to celebrate chapters across our region that are mobilizing around environmental concerns, stewardship, and community science. In its inaugural year, the Alan Dolan Conservation Advocacy Award was presented to Jennifer Kuroda, President of the Sinnissippi Audubon Society and Audubon Council of Illinois for her work to save Illinois’ Bell Bowl Prairie, the last remnant prairie in the state, and her work piloting Bird City Illinois, an initiative of that engages municipalities in World Migratory Bird Day events and passes proclamations and resolutions that commit city government to bird-friendly actions. 

Audubon On Campus News: Climate Advocacy, Arts Festivals, and Native Plant Gardens

Engaging Communities on Climate Change

San Diego City Community College Audubon campus chapter launched their own Audubon Mural depicting birds threatening by climate change, and organized a symposium to discuss the effects of climate change with members of their surrounding community, focusing especially on how climate change will impact those in Latin America.

HBCU Arts and Conservation Festival

This spring, four HBCUs collaborated on a climate-change and conservation-themed arts festival that featured music, poetry slams, dance competitions, and a variety of youth activists as speakers. The entire event was planned and executed by student leaders and Audubon campus chapter leaders, but the Audubon on Campus program provided support during the entire process.

From Partners to Affiliates

In 2021, Bloomington Birders, a small birding club at Indiana University Bloomington, joined Audubon Great Lakes to raise awareness of the bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act, a federal bill that helps farmers and foresters in Indiana and beyond scale-up their climate-friendly practices to reduce harmful carbon emissions. This advocacy helped the bill secure a victory in the U.S. Senate. Inspired by this campaign work, this year Bloomington Birders founder Matthias Bencko registered the group as an official Audubon on Campus Chapter, a student-led organization that works to create meaningful change on- and off-campus.