| Wildlife Habitat Advisors Take Flight with Prince Georges Audubon Society
| If you love birds, build habitat. It’s a simple enough sentiment. But, in our corner of the world, we often provide too little sustenance and shelter for birds, pollinators, and other wildlife. Which provides an opportunity for engagement that Prince Georges Audubon Society (PGAS) has taken to heart. In collaboration with Patterson Park Audubon Center in Baltimore, PGAS has developed an exciting, new venture—the Audubon Wildlife Habitat Program.
The program builds on Plants for Birds, one of two Audubon programs under the Bird-Friendly Communities umbrella. Plants for Birds urges people to opt for native plants in their gardens, on their balconies, and anywhere else they can find space for a little green. Plants for Birds offers online resources, a native plant database, and recognition programs complete with a celebratory yard sign. The Audubon Wildlife Habitat Program builds on that by offering on-site, in-person consultations.
The beauty of this approach lies in connection. The sheer amount of information on wildlife gardening in general can be dizzying. The Audubon Wildlife Habitat Program pairs participants with a trained Habitat Advisor who is ready to help prioritize and problem-solve right on site, making the process practical and personal.
A typical visit includes a walk-through of the property, focusing first on the participant’s aspirations and questions. With individual goals and concerns as the focus, advisors discuss native plant options, as well as lawn reduction, invasive plant removal, garden structure, and water conservation. They offer ways to reduce threats from outdoor cats and window collisions, while sharing ideas to increase available water, food, and shelter resources. Together, they identify a set of priorities and create a plan for moving forward. A follow-up report provides a touchpoint for reconnecting and advisors make themselves available for further assistance as needed, acknowledging that this kind of transformation takes time.
This spring, ten habitat advisors attended the first training, and visited a grand total of 59 private and 2 public properties. PGAS and Patterson Park Audubon Center are excited to launch a second training series for about two dozen new volunteers in August and September in preparation for fall visits.
For more information on the Audubon Wildlife Habitat Program, contact Kathy Shollenberger of PGAS.