Ramsar Corkscrew
Photo by Nancy DeNike



February 24, 2010

Volume 8, Number 2

Circulation: 4,700

As wildlife goes, so goes the nation.
Sam Hamilton


NEWS FROM THE AUDUBON NETWORK
Highlights of recent achievements, events and actions throughout the Audubon Network

 

RAMSAR LISTING CELEBRATED AT CORKSCREW SANCTUARY

Audubon of Florida's Corkscrew Sanctuary, home of the largest stand of old-growth Bald Cypress trees in North America, was recognized as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance by Ramsar Secretary General Anada Tiega, who traveled from Switzerland for the February 18 event at the sanctuary. Ed Carlson, director of the Corkscrew Sanctuary, emceed the ceremony and introduced Glenn Olson, who described Audubon’s global reach with the Important Bird Areas, and now two Ramsar listings in the USA. Corkscrew was the second Audubon Sanctuary to be named a Ramsar wetland after Beidler Forest in 2008. (In the photo above left is Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon of Florida, with the Secretary General (wearing an Audubon cap) and Maria Rivera, Ramsar Senior Advisor for the Americas.

Related stories:
Naples Daily News
NPR
Audubon of Florida News


HIGHLIGHTS OF JANUARY MEETING OF THE NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The Annual Meeting of Members took place at the Stoneleigh Hotel in Dallas, Texas on Friday, January 29. The approved audit of FY09 was presented and the following were elected to Audubon’s Board of Directors in the Class of 2013: A. Peter Cannon, David B. Ford, Mary McDermott Cook, Jane-Kerin Moffat, Jess Morton, George E. Pataki, Kristi Patterson, Lloyd Semple, Michael Stolper, Victor D. Vidales, III, and Alan Wilson. In addition, Carol Schilling was elected to fill a vacancy in the Class of 2012, and S. Joyce King was elected to fill a vacancy in the Class of 2011.

The Meeting of the National Audubon Society Board of Directors took place January 29 and 30 at the Trinity River Audubon Center in Dallas. Located in a spectacular building on the edge of the Trinity River, the Center has completed its first year in operation, serving 8,000 students in field trips that tie to school curriculum and connecting students to nature. That number is anticipated to double to 16,000 during the coming year.

New board officers elected by the board include Holt Thrasher, Chair; Lloyd Semple, Vice Chair; and Dr. Frank Gill, interim Audubon President.

Dr. Gill gave an update on the transition in leadership since John Flicker announced his retirement in January. He also reported that the FY10 budget is fundamentally on course and FY11 budget planning is currently underway. A nationwide search has begun to fill the position, coordinated by a committee of board members and staff and conducted by the search firm, Russell Reynolds.

Details of the new Atlantic Flyway Initiative and ongoing Mississippi River Initiative were discussed, including exciting conservation planning underway with adjacent landowners to Rainey Sanctuary.

The board approved a resolution to move forward with steps to advance the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove.

The board heard an overview of the TogetherGreen program including its impressive conservation and engagement results. A presentation by Clemson University professor and TogetherGreen Fellow, Drew Langham, highlighted the inspiring impact of his Color of the Land project. The effort connects rural African-American landowners in South Carolina to nature and birds, leading to improved land management. Its TogetherGreen funding has generated additional support from Clemson and other institutions. Board members previewed a new video about the Together Green program.

The new Audubon Annual Report for fiscal year 2009 is now available and includes a summary of the conservation successes of the Audubon network. The cover photo is a runner-up from first Audubon Magazine Photo Contest.

Carter Smith, executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and Douglas Brinkley, a professor of history at Rice University and an award-winning American author of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, provided inspiring lectures. The next Audubon Board Meeting will be May 14-16 in Portland, Oregon, with the Audubon Society of Portland as host.


REGIONAL ELECTION UPDATE

The National Audubon Society's Board of Directors has nine Regional Directors -- members nominated by chapters. Each year, candidates for three of the Regional Directors positions are chosen by the Chapters in their region. The nomination period has now closed for this year’s Regional Director elections. In the Eastern and Southeast Regions respectively, one candidate was nominated by the chapters. Under current election procedures, “If there is only one candidate for the open position, the sole candidate will be nominated directly to the Board of Directors and an election will not take place.” Therefore, Leigh Altadonna of Valley Forge Audubon Society (PA) and S. Joyce King of Santa Fe Audubon Society (FL) will be placed on the slate of all Board nominees voted upon at the Annual Meeting of Members, and no election by the chapters will take place in those two regions.

In the Southwest Region, three candidates were nominated to fill the open position and will be presented for a vote of the Chapters in an election. Candidates are Joy Hester of Houston Audubon Society (TX), Karen La France of Sonoran Audubon Society (AZ), and Howard Anthony “Tony” Wood of Bexar Audubon Society (TX). Information about the election process will be sent to all Chapter Presidents or authorized representatives and electronic ballots must be submitted by April 30, 2010. For details about the nomination process generally and specific details on this year’s regional elections, visit http://www.audubon.org/local/elections.


THE GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT

The 2010 GBBC has been one of the most exciting so far. As of today 90,012 checklists were submitted and over ten million birds were counted.

The Northern Cardinal is the most-reported bird across the U.S. and Canada, as it has been for the last five years. The American Crow is higher on the list than it has been since the West Nile virus took such a toll on this species. Over a million American Robins roosting near Saint Petersburg, Florida, pushed the city (and the state) to number one of all states reporting. The bird-watching bug bit hard in Tennessee and the state broke into the top ten for most checklists submitted. Connecticut, Delaware, and Kentucky have also surpassed previous state checklist records, as has Nova Scotia, Canada. Participants can continue to enter data online until March 1. www.birdcount.org

GBBC media results broke last year’s record of 742, with 817 placements in newspapers and broadcasts as of today. In addition to the media highlights below, Dr. Tom Bancroft was interviewed on Martha Stewart Radio on the first day of the count.

The LA Times

San Francisco Chronicle

Memphis Commercial Appeal

National Parks Blog

Texas


AUDUBON POLICY ACTION HIGHLIGHTS

Good news from Alaska! A proposal by ConocoPhillips to construct a bridge and elevated pipeline over a major channel of the Colville River on Alaska’s North Slope was rejected by the Corps of Engineers. This decision helps safeguard a continentally significant Important Bird Area that provides habitat for 74 bird species and is particularly important for Spectacled Eider, Yellow-billed Loon, Brant, American Golden-Plover, and Stilt Sandpiper. The proposed project would have carried an unacceptable risk of a major oil spill. During winter the Colville River is subject to ice jams which could breach an elevated oil pipeline.

Led by Audubon’s Senior Policy Representative Eric Myers, Audubon Alaska played a major role in advocating for this important decision. Audubon researched the issue, helped coordinate actions by other conservation partners, and provided substantial comments to the Corps, EPA, and Fish and Wildlife Service. In the end, Audubon, several other conservation groups, and the EPA and US Fish and Wildlife Service recommended against this risky proposal. Audubon, EPA, and the Fish and Wildlife Service all urged consideration of environmentally safer alternatives. Read more. http://ak.audubon.org.

Audubon is also working to halt Shell's plan for exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea this summer [click here].

Audubon officials expressed condolences on the untimely death of Sam Hamilton, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Because of his passing, the scheduled announcement for whether Greater Sage Grouse should be declared an Endangered Species was postponed beyond the original deadline of this Friday, February 26.


IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS

New interactive web map highlights Louisiana’s Important Bird Areas:

Madison, Connecticut voters choose to protect lands adjacent to the Hammonasset Beach State Park, a Globally Significant Important Bird Area (click here for more details on the IBA).

Madison votes for Griswold purchase - http://bit.ly/bsrz7a

Prairie Research Site Gains Important Bird Area Designation http://tinyurl.com/yefds73

Beaufort barrier islands designated an important bird area http://bit.ly/cMO1cf

New Blog Post: IBAs and Why They Matter http://bit.ly/blwBCy

Industrial windfarm development in Puerto Rican Important Bird Area rejected by government http://bit.ly/9izJZo

British Columbia puts kibosh on mining just north of Glacier National Park http://bit.ly/bN1ujz

New 'Important Bird Area' source of pride, obligation (South Carolina Important Bird Area)

GIS Helps California Audubon Identify Essential Bird Habitat: Important Bird Area Sites

Most California Important Bird Areas will protect sensitive bird species from climate change

Rangelands could go off sick list


AUDUBON MAGAZINE

Free screensavers feature stunning winners of magazine’s first photo awards. Download yours now! http://www.audubonscreensaver.org/2010_ssaver_download.php

Magazine’s Green Guru Blog in Treehugger


AUDUBON MARKETPLACE

Audubon Nature Odysseys is adding new trips for 2011. See the website for details and forward to a friend: www.audubonnatureodysseys.org

Geeks Rejoice: Audubon apps allow you to add what you identify with just a click.


MISSISSIPPI RIVER INITIATIVE

President Obama’s fiscal year 2011 budget released Feb. 1 asks Congress to fund coastal wetlands restoration in Louisiana, the first time a presidential budget has included this request. “Audubon staff in Washington, D.C., and in Louisiana – and our partners at Environmental Defense Fund and National Wildlife Federation – have been working closely with key administrative officials at all levels of government to secure a strong federal investment in Louisiana coastal wetlands restoration,” says Audubon’s Legislative Director Brian Moore. (Read more)

"The president's proposed funding to restore this ecological treasure is a wake-up call for the nation that we are rapidly losing a region that is home to critical energy production infrastructure, the busiest port in North America, and the most valuable fishery in the Gulf of Mexico," said a joint statement released by the Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation and National Audubon Society. "Our nation cannot continue to ignore these vital interests." (From the New Orleans Times-Picayune)

Audubon partnered with the National Wildlife Federation to host Audubon chapter leaders from seven Mississippi River states in Louisiana Jan. 15-17. The event educated leaders and challenged them to find ways of building support for coastal Louisiana restoration throughout the Mississippi River basin. “Enlightening, educational, and, dare I say, motivational” said one participant.


TOGETHERGREEN

Applications are now open for 2010 TogetherGreen funding. If you have a project that conserves habitat and wildlife, improves water quality, reduces the threat of global warming, and/or engages new audiences, apply now. Applications are due by May 7.

To apply for a Fellowship http://www.togethergreen.org/People/Fellows.aspx
To apply for an Innovation Grant http://www.togethergreen.org/Projects/Grants.aspx

2009 Innovation Grantee Audubon New York is working to save American kestrels—and involve community members in monitoring their nest boxes! Read more here.

Kevin Chang, a 2009 Fellow, is using ancient Hawaiian cultural sites as a basis for education about sustainability and stewardship. Read about his project here.

Pennies for the Planet is used as a story-telling device in the young adult book, The Wish Stealers. Read more.

The accomplishments of TogetherGreen’s Grants, Fellows, and Volunteer Days are featured in Audubon’s Emeriti News.

Looking for more ways to help the environment? Dreamer.me not only lists Volunteer Days as a good way to make a difference, but also serves as a resource for all of your environmental volunteer needs! http://www.dreamer.me/the-environment


AUDUBON STATE, CHAPTER AND CENTER NEWS

Audubon Arkansas
The Arkansas Supreme Court will hear arguments on April 15 about the process used to approve the certificate that granted SWEPCO's construction of the Power Plant located in southern Arkansas. Audubon Arkansas says SWEPCO's decision to locate in the "pristine Little River Bottoms" was a "huge miscalculation." Read more.

Audubon California
Snowy Plover’s camouflage can make them vulnerable to foot traffic (LA Times): "You can look right at them and think you're looking at sand," said David De Lange, president of the Los Angeles Audubon Society, an experienced bird watcher.

Audubon Connecticut
Madison,Connecticut IBA, formerly an airport will become coastal park – “A tremendous victory for people and for wildlife," said Tom Baptist of Audubon Connecticut http://tinyurl.com/yghwobs

Quilt Show on display at Audubon Greenwich through the end of the month. Read more.

Audubon of Florida
GBBC “gives us a statewide snapshot of the birds, both species and numbers, present in the state or a region of the state," said Ann Hodgson, science coordinator for the Audubon of Florida Gulf Coast Ecosystem, based in Brandon. Read more.

Audubon in Illinois
Chris Geiselhart, president of the Lake County Audubon Society, on building nesting platforms on marsh. Read more.

Audubon in Indiana
250,000 Grackles Drive Up CBC numbers at Goose Pond. Read more.

Audubon Mississippi
Brown Pelican features on ABC news

Audubon Nebraska
Tom Haines of the Boston Globe Describes Phenomenon of Sandhill Crane Migration. Read more.

Rowe Sanctuary Rivers and Wildlife Celebration set for March 18 through 21. Watch for the Crane Cam which begins to stream live video March 6.

Audubon New Mexico
Randall Davey Audubon Center in travel feature. Read more.

Audubon New York
Albert E Caccese, Executive Director of Audubon New York, advocates for keeping New York State Parks open. http://tinyurl.com/yb8t3r2

Op Ed supporting New York State parks.

Jamestown Audubon Society Seeks Artists for 2010 Art In The Woods

Audubon North Carolina
Education Director Andy Wood’s latest weekly commentary on WHQR, Wilmington’s public radio station

Audubon South Carolina
Christmas Bird Count Provides Hot Data in Frigid Times

Audubon in Virginia
Audubon Op Ed on Climate Change in Senator Mark Warner's hometown newspaper.

Audubon Washington
New Birding trail map featured in:
The Seattle Times
The Spokesman-Review

Andy McCormick, with the Eastside Audubon Society, says the Bellevue City Council wants a study of what would happen if Sound Transit ran light rail through the Mercer Slough. "This really is not just a Bellevue problem," McCormick said. "This is a Lake Washington issue because Lake Washington needs to preserve its wetlands." Read more.

Audubon Wyoming
Brian Rutledge Publishes Op Ed on Sagebrush Initiative in Vail, Colorado

BLM Looks to Audubon to Map Sage Grouse


BIRDS & BIRDING

Dr. Greg Butcher Says Feeders Make a Big Difference in Snowy Winter 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/16/AR2010021605774.html


ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS

March Lecture Featuring Bright Wings, an Evening of Bird Poetry by Billy Collins & David Allen Sibley
With Columbia University Press and the Poetry Society of America
Wednesday, March 10, 6:30pm
American Museum of Natural History
79th Street at Central Park West

Join noted illustrator David Allen Sibley and former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins at the American Museum of Natural History for an evening of avian-themed poems from their new book, Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems About Birds (review forthcoming in the March-April Urban Audubon newsletter). A selection of poets published in the book will be on hand to read their work. Tickets are available at the event, or in advance by calling 212-769-5200. $15 general admission, $13.50 for members of the Poetry Society of America, New York City Audubon, and the American Museum of Natural History.

 

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Please continue to send your announcements and news stories, including web links, to Delta Willis.
The next edition of Newswire will be March 24.

Audubon TogetherGreen Pennies for the Planet