Audubon Mid-Atlantic
October 2021 News | Upcoming Events
Eastern Towhee
Birds Guide Our Strategies
This week, world leaders—including Audubon’s acting CEO, Dr. Elizabeth Gray—will meet in Glasgow at the United Nations Climate Summit. The goal is to set new greenhouse gas emissions targets so that the average global temperature rises by only 1.5 degrees Celsius above Industrial Revolution levels. In the run-up to this meeting, the U.N. released a report with this conclusion: “the world needs to halve annual greenhouse gas emissions in the next eight years.”

Halve. In eight years.

Audubon’s mission is to protect birds and the places they need to survive. Given the devastation that climate change is already having on bird populations, we must focus our work on efforts that reduce greenhouse gas emissions even as we also conserve and protect bird habitat.

In this e-newsletter, you’ll read about Audubon’s work to use Pennsylvania’s vast forests as a climate sequestration tool. You’ll also discover how you can be part of a national community science team that collects data to help Audubon scientists learn how climate change has impacted where birds winter and breed. We also provide a legislative round-up for Maryland, describing bird-friendly bills that passed the legislature thanks in part to dedicated Audubon advocates.

But we must do more, particularly to advance state-based policies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and restore bird habitat. Audubon Mid-Atlantic is currently searching for a new Policy Director, who will help set and carry out a regional policy agenda. Please share this job description with people in your networks. And please join your voices with ours as we work to protect birds.

Thank you for your continued support of Audubon Mid-Atlantic,

Suzanne Biemiller
Executive Director, Audubon Mid-Atlantic
Vice President, National Audubon Society
Eastern Towhee. Una Davenhill/Great Backyard Bird Count
Healthy Forest photo
Carbon Storage for the Birds
In 2019, Audubon Mid-Atlantic received a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant to partner with the American Forest Foundation to enroll landowners into the Family Forest Carbon Program (FFCP), a program that allows private landowners to monetize their growing mature forests through carbon credits.

Audubon is working with landowners across the Mid-Atlantic to discuss management objectives, assess forests, and provide recommendations on ways to integrate bird-friendly forest management practices that sequester and store carbon to create healthier forests for birds and people. Audubon has created new programs to offer training webinars for foresters and forest industry partners, as well as assist landowners interested in long-term forest management planning.

By utilizing carbon markets that offer landowners “carbon credits” for maintaining mature forest structure that stores carbon, we can incentivize landowners to keep mature forest habitats intact and adopt healthy management practices. These practices preserve forests that offer a natural climate solution to removing carbon from the atmosphere, also referred to as "carbon sequestration", and store carbon within the forest in tree trunks and underground carbon stores.
Photo: N. Scott Parkhill
White-breasted Nuthatch
Community Science From the Ground Up
Birds tell us. It’s a mantra we hear often and one to which the Audubon network is responding in force. For the last five years, volunteers from across the country have participated in Climate Watch, an Audubon community science initiative intended to gather data related to avian range shifts as a result of climate change. Climate Watch occurs each year during traditional wintering and breeding periods related to the program’s target species. The next survey period will be January 15 through February 15, 2022. Of particular interest in the Mid-Atlantic region, are the Eastern Bluebird, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, American Goldfinch, Painted Bunting, and Eastern Towhee.

Eighteen coordinators across the Mid-Atlantic region help to recruit, organize, and train volunteers to conduct semi-annual surveys under a structured protocol within an assigned “square.” Participants spend roughly two to six hours performing 12 surveys within the boundaries of their “square” before submitting their observation data to Audubon’s national Science team.

The data procured through the January/February and May/June sessions provide Audubon with critical information on the current distribution of target species. In turn, Audubon scientists are able to utilize the data to validate and refine predictive models to better inform on-the-ground conservation decisions.

Sound like a good fit for you? Find a coordinator and explore the Climate Watch science.
White-breasted Nuthatch. Photo: Gary Churchill/ Audubon Photography Awards
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf at The Discovery Center
Audubon Mid-Atlantic Supports the Environmental Justice Goals of Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus
“We must do the hard work to prevent further climate damage, to mitigate environmental pollution and the unfair harm it causes to vulnerable communities, and to ensure every Pennsylvanian can claim their constitutional right to a clean, healthy environment.” – Governor Tom Wolf

On October 28th, Governor Tom Wolf joined members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus (PLBC) and local environmental advocates at The Discovery Center in Philadelphia to announce executive and legislative actions to ensure that all Pennsylvanians, especially disadvantaged communities, are included in conversations and decisions to protect our environment. 
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf at The Discovery Center. Photo: Suzanne Biemiller/Audubon
Cedar Waxwing
Bird-Friendly Laws Go Into Effect in Maryland
Thanks to the letters, phone calls, and testimony of Audubon advocates in Maryland during the spring legislative session in Annapolis, several bird-saving laws came into effect this fall. Highlights include the following:

Banning Balloon Releases

Advocacy work has led to the banning of intentional balloon releases in the state, potentially saving thousands of seabirds, sea turtles, whales, and dolphins in the coming decades. Litter from mass balloon releases often end up in our waterways and can be choking hazards to birds, turtles, and other wildlife. This legislation mirrors similar bans in nearby states like Delaware and Virginia.

Bird-Friendly Gardens and Habitat

Outreach to legislators by our supporters has led to the passage of a bill prohibiting Home Owners Associations from restricting bird-friendly gardens and habitat through prohibitions on lawn-limited plantings. This law allows homeowners to consider low-impact landscaping such as pollinator gardens and native plantings, which can curb water use, reduce pollutants, lower yard maintenance costs, and increase wildlife-friendly habitats.
Cedar Waxwing in red cedar. Photo: Marvin De Jong/Audubon Photography Awards
Baltimore Birding Weekend
Baltimore was BIRDY for the Baltimore Birding Weekend!
The 2021 Baltimore Birding Weekend, September 24 to 26, was a success! Many thanks to the guides, participants, and sponsors, and all who contributed to the success of this annual fundraiser to support community conservation in Baltimore.

Each one of this year’s tours was sold out and 260 participants spotted 138 bird species across Baltimore—a stunning show of diversity during the fall migration. Sites included a variety of habitats such as Green Mount Cemetery, Hart-Miller Island, Cox Creek wetlands, the Patapsco River, the Maryland Zoo’s boat lake, and city parks such as Patterson Park, Herring Run Park, and Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park.

This year’s event also attracted Audubon supporters from all parts of the Mid-Atlantic region and across age ranges, coming together to bird and raise funds for community conservation programming benefitting both birds and people.
Baltimore Birding Weekend. Photo: Luke Franke/Audubon
Upcoming Opportunities
PPAC maintaining healthy habitat
Volunteer Opportunity at Patterson Park!
Join us on Saturday, November 6, 9-10:30am!

Help build bird habitat in Audubon’s native plant gardens in Patterson Park! We need volunteers to help maintain healthy habitats for the park’s birds and butterflies and create safe spaces for learning and exploring. Come to weed, mulch, and/or plant while spending the morning outdoors with friends, family, and Audubon. 

All ages welcome!
 Learn more and register
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Upcoming Programs and Events
Visit our Centers, explore our trails, and join us for some fall birding and exciting activities happening across the Mid-Atlantic region!
Red-bellied Woodpecker. Photo: Mary Pratt/Audubon Photography Awards
Barn Owl
In the News
Outlet: Philadelphia Inquirer 
Headline: A cold front is about to bring October chill to the Philly region, and flocks of migrating birds
Excerpt: “This is the peak period for migrators, and birders love cold fronts, says Keith Russell, a program manager for Audubon Mid-Atlantic who has described Philadelphia as a ‘migration central.’”

Outlet: Outside Online
Headline: How to Find Nature in a City
Excerpt: “Most cities in the U.S. have nature and environmental centers, like Houston’s Arboretum and Nature Center or Philadelphia’s Discovery Center. These community spaces offer guided walks, kids’ and adult education, and other chances to get outdoors...”

Check out these articles below on Audubon.org, one featuring our work to create artificial nesting islands and the other a spotlight on a hawk watching site along the Kittatinny Ridge.

  • Headline: This Artificial Island May Be the Lifeline Maryland's Common Terns Need
    Excerpt: “Last fall one of the only remaining nesting islands disappeared, forcing many of the region’s terns to look farther afield for secure sandy stretches this spring...The raft is an interim measure to give Common Terns—and hopefully Black Skimmers—nesting sites now.” – Dave Curson, Audubon Mid-Atlantic’s director of bird conservation in Maryland.
     
  • Headline: Why You Should Experience a Hawkwatch
    Excerpt: “The United States' first hawkwatch, founded in 1934, is Hawk Mountain Sanctuary located on the Kittatinny Ridge, a major hawk migration corridor  that stretches some 185 miles through central and eastern Pennsylvania.”
Barn Owl. Photo: Shlomo Neuman/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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