WASHINGTON – Audubon staff, members, and volunteers have been organizing and participating in events across the country to mark Earth Day 2022, including a virtual roundtable hosted by the White House which featured Audubon CEO, Dr. Elizabeth Gray, and a ceremony at Seward Park in Seattle, Washington where President Biden signed an executive order to “strengthen America’s forests, boost wildfire resilience, and combat global deforestation.”

“From our staff working in the nation’s capital to our nature centers across the country, including Seward Park, our conservation mission is front and center throughout the year at Audubon. To celebrate Earth Day with the President and other administration leaders has been an honor for all of us,” said Dr. Elizabeth Gray, CEO, National Audubon Society.

The executive order President Biden signed does a number of things, including directing the production of a new federal report on nature-based solutions, creating the first U.S. National Nature Assessment, and ordering various federal agencies to increase wildfire resilience and forest restoration efforts, including old-growth forests. 

“Located in Seattle, Seward Park harbors old-growth forests that were once common in the region, making this an ideal location for the President to sign this executive order. Forests play an important role in delivering conservation and climate solutions across Washington state, the nation, and the globe,” said Audubon Washington Executive Director, Deborah Jensen, who attended the event with Joseph Manson, Director of Seward Park Audubon Center. “Our Center provides programs that help people of all ages find belonging in the natural world and inspires them to take action to protect birds and places they need now and in the future,” added Manson.

Old-growth forests comprise less than seven percent of all U.S. forests but have outsized importance for wildlife habitat and carbon storage. Old-growth stands like the Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska store considerably more carbon than younger parts of the forests, both in their trees and deep soils.  

“Birds tell us we need to take climate action and forests are not only strongholds for birds, but also for our nation’s climate resilience,” said Gray. “They naturally store carbon dioxide in their trees, shrubs, and soils, and keep carbon pollution out of the atmosphere. Conservation and restoration of our nation’s forests will increase habitat for ever-threatened birds and other wildlife, clean our air and water, and create new jobs.” 

On Thursday, Dr. Gray participated in a virtual roundtable hosted by the White House titled, “Knowledge In Nature: How Nature Can Help Grow a Better Future” where she spoke along with other national leaders on the importance of nature-based solutions, building climate resilience, and reacted to the announcement of the first U.S. National Nature Assessment.  

“This kind of large-scale assessment will allow governments, academics, and the non-profit community to set goals collectively, Dr. Gray said. “Past assessments of nature have left people out of the equation. This is an opportunity to include people-centric data, so that we can identify threats or conservation challenges that all types of communities are facing and develop solutions together.”  

Read more about Audubon’s Earth Day events here 

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Media Contact: Matt Smelser, matt.smelser@audubon.org 

About Audubon 

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 how to help at www.audubon.org and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.

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