|My first month as director of the newly-created Audubon Mid-Atlantic has been filled with discovery. I’ve observed how our regional work to protect watersheds, build resilient coasts, create healthier forests and extend Audubon’s reach remains strong, despite the continued pandemic. I have had the pleasure of meeting passionate chapter leaders, members and volunteers from across the region and getting to know our staff. What has emerged is a sense of the significant impact that Audubon has and the seriousness with which our wide network takes our mission.|
I am acutely aware that my arrival signals a change: Audubon has asked all of you to see this cherished landscape as birds do rather than through man-made constructs dividing states. And let’s be honest, Audubon asked you to embrace this change in the midst of a global pandemic and during a most challenging winter.
I have been thinking a lot about seasonal transitions since the world stopped last March, marking time through them and looking at the natural world and birds for signs of normalcy in a world that feels so un-normal and so unfamiliar. I found solace in nearby woods and in my own backyard when I watched Covid-oblivious birds nesting last spring and playing in the summer, and, I confess, I felt a bit of despair when I saw birds on the move last fall. I knew that winter was coming and I dreaded it.
Katherine May, in her book entitled “Wintering,” writes that winter is "a fallow period in life when… [you] feel out of sync with normal life.” Winter can happen to us at any time in our lives—like, say, during a global pandemic. However, May advises us to welcome winter as a time to imagine without boundaries, arguing that “winter offers us liminal spaces to inhabit”— places that exist between what has been left behind and what is not yet fully formed.
So let’s do just that. As we exit our year-long winter and welcome spring, I encourage all of you to consider what you wish Audubon Mid-Atlantic to be. Let’s set clear, audacious (and achievable) goals. Let’s raise our united voices in support of the birds we love. Let’s expand our community and invite in new members, some of whom may not yet be familiar with the work we do. So many people--from all walks of life--have become backyard birders this past year. Let’s ask them to join us, rather than wait for them to find us.
And even as we imagine new beginnings, this month’s newsletter celebrates recent accomplishments and highlights upcoming opportunities and activities. We invite you to all of them.
And so too will we begin our work together. I look forward to getting started.
Executive Director, Audubon Mid-Atlantic
Vice President, National Audubon Society