Policy UpdateCity of Dallas 2024 Municipal Bond
This weekend, the Dallas Citizen Bond Task Force committee will receive the subcommittee recommendations for the proposed $1.1 billion May 2024 bond projects. Five subcommittees are recommending $1.1 billion in projects. Dallasites will vote on a package of local improvements that include critical facilities; streets and transportation; parks and trails; economic development, housing, and homeless solutions; and flood control and storm drainage. In the effort to create a Greener, Greater Dallas, the Parks and Trails subcommittee is recommending $350 million in park-related improvements. Included in the recommendation is an investment in Trinity River Audubon Center to support facility improvements and a remodel of the education hall and outdoor classroom. This investment for TRAC, including matching funds from Audubon supporters, would bolster the economic potential of South Dallas, increase access and equity to greenspace, and build upon Audubon’s existing community connections. Learn more about the Dallas bond program and key timelines, and stay tuned for how you can support the investment at Trinity River Audubon Center!
Election Day is November 7th (Early Voting through November 3rd)
Your vote counts – During the spring session, Texas legislators supported the creation of a $1 billion Centennial Parks Conservation Fund for acquisition and development of new state parks across Texas. Investing in parks conserves land and water resources, which protects Texas’s quality of life so future generations can enjoy the benefits of natural lands, clean water, divers and abundant wildlife, and natural beauty. It’s up to US, the voters, to secure the creation of this unique fund for future generations. Read more from the state’s leading newspapers which voiced unanimous support for Proposition 14!
(*Audubon Texas is a proud member of the Texas Coalition for State Parks.)
Community Conservation UpdateChristmas Bird Count
Audubon's 124th Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will be held from Dec 14, 2023 to January 5, 2024! The Christmas Bird Count occurs December 14 to January 5 every year. The program dates back to Christmas Day 1900, as a way to promote conservation by counting rather than hunting birds. Some counts have been running every year since then, and the CBC now happens in more than 20 countries in the Western hemisphere! CBC circles provide an early-winter census of birds over a 24-hour window within a 15-mile radius to inform species populations trends. The original 27 Christmas Bird Counters tallied around 90 species on all the counts combined.
Click here for a map view of the circles expected to be included in the 124th CBC. Learn more about how you can get involved in your local area. READ MORE
New Year, New Name! – Audubon’s Conservation Leaders Program for Young Women (ACL) has been known by many monikers over the years, chosen by Audubon staff. Audubon Texas is proud to announce the new name, chosen by student leaders, with the same goals and guiding principles as the last eight years. Texas Leaders in Conservation (TLC) has launched for the 2023-2024 school year! During the program’s most recent summer camp, students led a conversation on the program name and whether or not it was in-line with the welcoming, inclusive atmosphere the Audubon Texas team has worked to create within the program. The conversation was two-pronged: the controversial history of John James Audubon and the gender limitations within the program name. No decisions were made at the moment, but some alternative names began to take shape. READ MORE
There’s a whole lotta gathering going on! This week, Audubon chapters and other leaders from across the country will meet at the Audubon Leadership Conference in Estes Park, Colorado. Participants will be inspired, challenged, and energized, coming together to harness the power of local action to achieve impact, and create a more equitable and inclusive conservation movement for birds across the hemisphere. For those unable to attend the conference, Audubon Texas will host a follow-up session open to any members who want to hear more about the conference conversations, and how they can get involved in Audubon’s work across Texas, and beyond. Stay tuned for details on the gathering! In the meantime, we hope you continue to connect with your local chapter.
Lights Out, Texas!
Do you know what we find most spooky this holiday season? Non-essential lights left on during 11pm-6am during migration! Dallas-Fort Worth area partners presented at the Texas Master Naturalist Annual Meeting and their results were pretty scary – this season, 313 bird collisions have been documented, 142 of those fatal, with 40 birds rehabbed and released. While the collision numbers are disheartening, please stay vigilant about turning out lights and encouraging your elected officials to commit as well by turning out all city owned building lights. During the peak migration season, please remind your friends and neighbors to go #LightsOutTexas by practicing dimming and turning off nonessential lighting in your own home, posting on social media, and putting a yard sign out. You can find tools and resources for printing a yard sign and example social media posts in the online toolkit.
Bird Friendly Webinar
In case you missed it – Audubon Texas’s Bird Friendly Webinars can be found on the Audubon Texas YouTube Channel. August webinars featured Texas Audubon Centers and the program, Tomorrow’s Conservation Leaders. If you have not visited a Texas Audubon Center yet, enjoy the recording and become inspired to create a bucket list for your exploring. Tomorrow’s Conservation Leaders, or TLC, is a career-focused conservation science and service for high school students. Dozens of students have gone through the inspiring program. Watch the webinar recording to hear from three students who participated in the program. Programs like these are not possible without members and supporters like you!
Coastal Conservation Update
The coastal program had a busy summer protecting nesting birds on coastal rookery islands, expanding work in Matagorda Bay, and celebrating the 100 years of Audubon conservation action in Texas. Audubon Texas was honored and excited to be featured in the August/September issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine with an article, Birds Everywhere, published by Lisa Gonzalez, Audubon Texas Vice President and Executive Director and Dr. Larry McKinney, Audubon Texas State Advisory Board member. It was wonderful seeing many of you at the HummerBird Celebration in Rockport and the Port O’Connor boat and fishing expo this fall. Thank you for stopping by to say hi and learn about Audubon’s work!
This month Audubon Texas enjoyed tracking the Chasing the Tide crew as they walk the entire Texas coast. Follow their progress online. Safe travels, Jay and Chrissy!
Grasslands and Arid Lands Conservation Update
Audubon Conservation Ranching (ACR) has been going strong in Texas. In July, the National Audubon Society named Thomas Schroeder, of Abilene, the senior partnerships manager for Audubon Conservation Ranching. Schroeder, previously the Audubon Conservation Ranching program manager for Texas and Oklahoma, will now be leading the program’s nationwide effort to create partnerships with ranchers and brands. In his wake are more than 20 ranches that have become Audubon Certified bird-friendly, reaching more than 87,000 acres.
Today, the ACR program has three more Texas ranches engaged in the certification process. The program is on track to increase the acreage of regenerative land management practices for birds to over 118,100 acres in Texas. In the past three months, multiple opportunities for outreach and recruitment have emerged.