Audubon Mid-Atlantic
May 2021 News | Upcoming Events
Black Skimmer
Optimism Amidst Choppy Waters
Over the past thirteen months, we have all been through a lot. Audubon has as well. The waters, as they say, have been choppy and the headwinds strong.  As many of you may be aware, on May 3rd, Audubon’s National board released an independent report that it had commissioned to assess our organizational culture. Sadly, this report substantiated allegations of an internal culture of retaliation, fear and antagonism toward women and people of color and a tolerance of bullying throughout the network. (You can find national board chair Maggie Walker’s message here along with a copy of the report: Audubon Board Addresses Workplace Culture).
 
Put simply, this culture is unacceptable. The board and Audubon leadership—myself included—know that we have much work to do to create an organization where all feel welcome and all feel valued. The report gives us the opportunity to turn toward healing, honest reflection, and powerful transformation. Staff here in the Mid-Atlantic are already taking important steps to intentionally define the values that will guide our work together: What purpose and passions do we bring to our work to protect birds? How do we support each other? What must we do to ensure that every person finds joy in their work and knows that what they do every day matters?
 
I have observed that we are a steadfast and profoundly optimistic flock. And, just as the birds we love make their way through the challenges of a difficult journey, so too will we. We will carry on with the work that connects us and continue supporting each other so that our important mission to protect birds stays at the forefront of all we do.

To that point, you’ll read below about the exciting work that took place this spring to protect critical coastal and fresh water habitats that birds need to nest and to survive. These efforts include on-the-ground conservation projects, policy advocacy efforts and raising public awareness about the steps individuals can take to nurture birds.  This three-pronged approach sets our work apart and, I believe, extends our mission further than any one strategy alone would.
 
Thank you for flying along with us and your fierce dedication to Audubon’s important mission. 

Suzanne Biemiller
Executive Director, Audubon Mid-Atlantic
Vice President, National Audubon Society
Black Skimmer. Photo: Robert Cook/Audubon Photography Awards
Royal Terns
Saving Maryland's Iconic Beach Birds
This time of year, iconic species of terns and skimmers are returning to their breeding grounds along the Atlantic coast. They depend on critical nesting habitat throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, including islands within the Maryland Coastal Bays near Ocean City and Assateague Island. Many of these island-nesting birds, however, are now experiencing a serious decline due to three main factors: erosion, disturbance, and predation – all of which are exacerbated by human activities. This spring, Audubon and partners are launching a coordinated strategy to rebuild, restore, and protect nesting habitat while reducing human disturbance and the impact of predators. With will and resources, we can save Maryland’s iconic ‘beach birds’.
Royal Terns. Photo: Mellisa James/Audubon Photography Awards
Tree Swallow
Whitby Meadows Ecological Restoration
As the largest city in the Delaware River Watershed, Philadelphia’s landscapes and residents play an integral role in maintaining a healthy watershed for people and birds. The city’s park system is a recognized Important Bird Area for its vital habitats, water, and food supply for migratory birds and year-round residents, such as Willow Flycatcher and Wood Thrush. Philadelphia is also an Urban Bird Treaty City, which aims to protect birds that migrate through or overwinter in urban areas.

In a broader conservation effort to protect the Darby/Cobbs and Lower Schuylkill sub-watersheds, Audubon kicked off the two-year project to restore two meadows at Whitby Avenue, located in Philadelphia’s Cobbs Creek Park. This project will improve ecological conditions for birds, pollinators, and other wildlife by increasing native plants that provide a natural food source and habitat, improving plantings in the riparian buffer zone to reduce erosion and restore creek health, and reducing plastic pollution and trash.  
Tree Swallow. Photo: Robert Cook/Audubon Photography Awards
Saltmarsh Sparrow
Advocates Attend Virtual “Hill Day” in Record Numbers to Champion Delaware River Watershed
In March, Audubon chapter leaders and staff joined the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed (CDRW)’s annual Capitol Hill Day. This year’s Hill Day was entirely virtual due to ongoing COVID-19 precautions, but that didn’t stop us from championing bird protections and conservation measures to protect the Delaware River Watershed. Despite being unable to meet in person with legislators, 71 attendees from coalition member organizations convened meetings with 31 Congressional offices in the Delaware River Watershed – the most attended Hill Day to date.
Saltmarsh Sparrow. Photo: Frank Lehman/Audubon Photography Awards
Ruddy Duck
Bipartisan Delaware River Watershed Caucus Signals a Beacon of Opportunity
Recently, U.S. Representatives Antonio Delgado (D-NY-19) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1) announced the formation of the Congressional Delaware River Watershed Caucus. The caucus will serve as an informal, bipartisan group of Members of Congress dedicated to issues related to the Delaware River Watershed and its landscape-scale programs focused on water quality and quantity, ecological restoration, and conservation.

Notable focuses of the caucus include appropriations for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program, the Delaware River Basin Commission, and the Delaware Estuary Program, and educating other Members of Congress on these and other policy issues as they arise.
Ruddy Duck. Ben Knoot/Audubon Photography Awards
Delegate Robbyn Lewis, left, and Audubon Green Leader Olivia Wesby planting in the bird-friendly gardens of Patterson Park.
Baltimore Celebrates Bird-Friendly Native Plants
From your favorite oriole to backyard warblers, birds depend on native plants for natural habitat, food, and nesting materials. Native plants are not just better for birds and other wildlife; they are also integral in maintaining a healthy ecosystem and contributing to beautiful communities, a cleaner Chesapeake Bay, and resilience in the face of climate change. These bird-friendly plants also save water, reduce the use of harmful pesticides and chemicals, and can reduce the cost of grounds maintenance.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and Baltimore City Council agree! On May 5, 2021, Audubon celebrated the signing of the Mayor’s Native Plants Week proclamation and the City Council’s Native Plants for Birds & Baltimore ceremonial resolution in the bird-friendly gardens of Patterson Park.
Delegate Robbyn Lewis, left, and Audubon Green Leader Olivia Wesby planting in the bird-friendly gardens of Patterson Park. Photo: Susie Creamer
Upcoming Opportunities
Snow Geese
Audubon Mid-Atlantic Birdathon is May 15th!
Whether you’re inspired by a love of birds, concern for the environment, or the sheer pleasure of being outdoors, the Audubon Birdathon is a great opportunity to do something positive for the planet—and have fun doing it!

The Birdathon takes place over a 24-hour period, during which you’ll go outside or bird from your window and count as many different bird species as you can. Go birding for the entire 24 hours, do a single morning or afternoon session, or head outside for an hour here or there.

Check out our Birdathon 2021 video and register here. Hope you’ll join us on May 15th!
Snow Geese. Photo: Walker Golder
American Redstart
What's Happening in the Mid-Atlantic
Be sure to check our events calendars, featuring a variety of in-person and virtual events, hosted by our Audubon Centers and programs throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. From bird walks, webinars, to native plant workshops, we are here to help you explore and learn more about what you can do to help birds and the places they need.
American Redstart. Photo: Mathew Malwitz/Audubon Photography Awards
Great Blue Heron
Field and Feathers 2021
In lieu of gathering for the annual Friends of a Feather event this year, an event previously hosted by Audubon Pennsylvania, we are pleased to offer alternative ways for valued supporters to come together. A number of small group guides experiences are offered to explore Audubon’s most inspiring destinations.
Great Blue Heron. Photo: Madeline Poster/ Audubon Photography Awards
Audubon Mid-Atlantic Offices
Pennsylvania Business Office
1201 Pawlings Road
Audubon, PA 19403
(610) 666-5593 ex. 101​ | pa.audubon.org
Support our Pennsylvania work
Maryland Office
2901 East Baltimore Street, Box 2
Baltimore, MD 21224
(410) 558-2473 | md.audubon.org
Support our Maryland-DC work
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Audubon Mid-Atlantic
3401 Reservoir Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19121
(610) 990-3431 | audubon.org

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