Bringing us together through nature
Audubon Pennsylvania
July 2020
Nature Brings Us Together
Dear Friend,

Along its path to shaping a healthier future for birds and people, Audubon is constantly striving to maximize conservation impact across communities and the natural landscapes on which birds and people depend. To that end, we are making some changes to how we manage our work in Pennsylvania and Maryland, combining our separate offices into a new regional office - Audubon Mid-Atlantic. 

From the Allegheny Mountains all the way to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Audubon will deepen and broaden its impact, through its continued focus on Healthy Forests, the Chesapeake and Delaware Watersheds, and Bird-friendly Communities, with the network of four Audubon centers serving as hubs of conservation opportunities and community engagement across the region. A search is now underway for a leader of this new Mid-Atlantic office. Greg Goldman, who had been serving as Executive Director for Audubon Pennsylvania, will be shifting into a new role for the Mid-Atlantic region, applying his many talents as a leader in fundraising. Stay tuned for more to come.

As we move towards this transition in structure, our focus on birds and our core strategies remains constant. This month, we feature our Bird-Friendly Communities programs, bringing neighbors to nature, classrooms to communities, and local leaders to the landscapes that define our sense of place. Audubon’s Bird-Friendly Communities encompasses three key initiatives: Plants for Birds, Bird-Friendly Buildings, and Avian Architecture. Learn about the innovative programs taking place and how you can get involved below. 

We look forward to bringing you more updates and opportunities, and thank you for your continued support and involvement.

Amy Sobel
Vice President, Atlantic Flyway
National Audubon Society
Volunteer digs a hole to plant purple phlox. Photo by Jeff Blake.
Schuylkill Highlands Residents Help to Improve Water Quality in the Delaware River Watershed
Riparian buffers, vegetative areas alongside waterways, provide critical protection to our stream systems. Buffers provide cooling shade, increased absorption of stormwater run-off, and vital habitat for wildlife. In the Schuylkill Highlands region, nearly 40 residents of Chester County participated in a spring Audubon PA Plants for Birds riparian enhancement planting project, funded by a William Penn Foundation grant for the Delaware River Watershed Initiative.

Over 200 native plants were added to residential landscapes in the Schuylkill Highlands region, primarily in the pilot townships of West Pikeland and West Vincent. Both townships participated in Return on Environment (ROE) studies that establish a monetary value for natural resources and the free services they provide to residents. ROEs for West Vincent and West Pikeland Townships show that nature provides at least $28 million and $22 million, respectively, in natural system services, such as stormwater management, outdoor recreation, and healthcare savings attributed to open space and exercise. Enhancement of riparian areas through programs like Audubon’s Plants for Birds is a key recommendation for protecting and preserving high quality waterways. Riparian buffers provide over $3 million worth of ecosystem services in West Pikeland and West Vincent Townships, totaling over $6 million in savings for residents. ROE studies were completed in four Schuylkill Highlands townships through a collaboration between Audubon PA, Keystone Conservation Trust, and Greener Planning. 
Audubon Chapters in Central PA Pilot New Bird-Friendly Blooms Program
Along the Susquehanna, Audubon chapters are making it easier for gardeners and birders alike to find and purchase native plants. This spring, Audubon Pennsylvania, in partnership with the Appalachian, Lycoming, and Seven Mountains Audubon Societies launched the Bird-Friendly Blooms program. The partners in the pilot program are developing a working model to help chapters across the network cultivate relationships with local garden centers and landscapers to increase consumer access to native plants and educate customers on the extraordinary benefits these plants provide to birds and other wildlife.

The project features the 2020 Birdy Dozen, a list of 12 native plants, shrubs, and trees that are easy to grow, beautiful to look at, and particularly beneficial to healthy bird habitat. With help from a host of Master Gardeners, native plant specialists, and chapter leaders, we curated the inaugural Birdy Dozen list and intend to release new versions each year. Commercial partners receive a Bird-Friendly Blooms retail kit complete with educational cards, full-color plant tags, a branded banner, and Birdy Dozen posters, as well as supplies to make the display inviting and inspiring. 
Partnering with the University of Pennsylvania for a Bird-friendlier Campus
Creating Bird-Friendly Buildings is one of three key elements of Audubon’s Bird-Friendly Communities program. Each year, as many as one billion birds in the U.S. collide with windows and most of these birds die from their injuries. Reflective glass and bright lights that illuminate the built environment cause these collisions. But, new innovations in materials and design are helping to steer communities, and birds, in the right direction. And in Pennsylvania, that effort is led by Audubon’s Keith Russell, Program Manager for Urban Conservation. 

For nearly a decade, students and staff at the University of Pennsylvania, alongside Keith, have been working together to make their Philadelphia campus a safer, more welcoming place for birds. In a remarkably forward-thinking approach to conservation, the University’s department of Facilities and Real Estate Services has undertaken multiple projects intended to modify various collision prone campus buildings in an effort to significantly reduce bird-window collisions on campus. 

The University’s latest project involves a campus dormitory, a group of student eco-representatives, and the largest bird-friendly retrofit project on campus to date.
Photo: University of Pennsylvania
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Audubon Pennsylvania
1201 Pawlings Road, Audubon, PA 19403
610-666-5593  |

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