About Us

Winter 2018 Newsletter

Field Notes

January Newsletter Stories

Audubon Rallies for the Arctic Reserve

What an exciting time to be at Audubon! As we ring in the New Year, I’m looking forward to connecting with more of you in my role as Audubon Pennsylvania Field Organizer, and to continue working together to protect birds impacted by climate change.

At the end of last year, more than 100 people from the Wyncote, Valley Forge, Bucks County, and Lehigh Valley Audubon Chapters, as well as the John James Audubon Center and beyond, came together over the course of several weeks to advocate passionately for birds that rely on the Arctic Refuge to nest and raise their young. They wrote letters and made phone calls to their U.S. Representatives, wrote letters to the editors of their local newspapers, and went on in-district office visits to make the case for birds like Tundra Swans that stop in Pennsylvania every year by the thousands on their way back to the Refuge. Empowered by the opportunity to take action and be heard, they created a groundswell of support for birds and paved the way to continue the conversation with elected officials on how to keep them safe.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is often thought of as “ground zero” for climate change, as melting due to steadily rising temperatures continues to alter the landscape faster than wildlife can adapt. In Pennsylvania, extreme weather events and increasing temperature fluctuations are disrupting habitat and food sources for birds; threatening many familiar and beloved species including bluebirds, nuthatches and Wood Thrush.

Keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages in the coming weeks for programs designed to increase your understanding of climate threats to the birds we see in our backyards and to hone advocacy skills needed to protect them. Together we’ll identify solutions to slow future impacts of climate change in our communities, and help birds adapt to the changes that are already here.

Please contact me at vpeckham@audubon.org to be added to our Climate Action list and receive updates and invites to programs and social gatherings with fellow advocates for birds.

Discovery Center Coming in Fall 2018

Alongside the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood in north Philadelphia and our new partners within it, we are getting ready to turn the page on a wonderful year of anticipation and preparation for the new Discovery Center, currently under construction in nearby Fairmount Park. As such, we would like to reflect on what a pleasure it has been to work with the organizations and individuals whose stories, insights, and experiences define this community and help guide our way. 

Throughout 2017, we joined up with the Strawberry Mansion Learning Center (SMLC) to bring the joys of birding and nature to their students. The work that the learning center does within the Strawberry Mansion Neighborhood is seriously inspiring, transforming a neighborhood bar into a safe haven and learning space.

Just one block down the road from the SMLC we reached out to form a new partnership with Richard Wright Elementary School, bringing environmental concepts to their 5th graders and showing that nature is more a part of the city than one might think

Meanwhile, on the other side of the neighborhood, Blaine Elementary School’s 5th graders helped to expand bird friendly habitat in Strawberry Mansion with the help of the Blaine School Strawberry Mansion Environmental Learning Center, a nearby community garden, where the students planted loads of native plants for birds.

This year we did these things and so much more. 2017 has been an incredible one, and we can’t wait to see what the next year holds. Together, we will continue to progress, to conserve, and to discover ourselves through nature, birds, and one another.

We hope that you will join us in the new year!

For more information regarding Philadelphia programs, please contact rgrech@audubon.org

Or jtaitano@audubon.org for info on our environmental education program.

Get Ready for the Great Backyard Bird Count

This is the year that Pennsylvania becomes the top participating state in the Great Backyard Bird Count!

Everyone is invited to participate in this year’s Great Backyard Bird Count. This free and fun citizen science program takes place February 16-19th. Pennsylvania consistently places in the top five in terms of state participation and last year we were number two behind New York by just 200 checklists. In 2018, the goal is to be the top state…and you can help!

Counting winter birds can be done from the warmth of your house or you can visit local parks, schoolyards or virtually any other property. Submit a checklist online on all or any of the four days of the count – your data is important to the bird population snapshot which biologists analyze almost as soon as you enter it! You can also submit photographs for review or i.d. help.

Typically, there are about 15-20 common species of birds that will visit your feeders and yards during the count. You can probably identify some of them and learning the rest is easy! Audubon Pennsylvania has a webpage with some great resources, including a link to a winter bird downloadable poster and a list of upcoming workshops: http://pa.audubon.org/news/pa-counts

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a wonderful program whether you’re new to birds or a lifelong birdwatcher. It’s an easy way to learn about what’s in your backyard and with the PA Counts! webpage, it’s even easier! We’ll be partnering with other PA-based non-profits as well as state agencies to get the word out. We hope you’ll invite a friend or two to participate. For more information, email ssaffier@audubon.org.

New Funding for Forest Initiatives

The forests of the Atlantic Flyway provide vital habitat for millions of resident and migratory birds throughout their annual life cycles, from breeding areas in North America to wintering areas in the Caribbean and Central and South Americas. Sadly, nearly one third of eastern forest bird species have experienced significant population declines over the past fifty years, including several high-profile species such as Wood Thrush, and Canada, Cerulean, Golden-winged, and Prairie Warblers, which have lost more than 60% of their populations in that time.

Although forests in the U.S. have largely rebounded since the height of agricultural land clearing in the early 20th Century, many remain fragmented or provide habitat of poor quality due to incompatible management, invasive species, and overabundant deer, while others continue to be lost to development and stressed by a changing climate. Audubon Pennsylvania is collaborating with other Audubon state programs within the Atlantic Flyway to address these threats and to protect and improve forest bird breeding habitat in North America.

Our vision is for healthy, resilient Pennsylvania forests that support birds and other wildlife, provide critical ecosystem services, and create economic and recreational opportunities for people and their communities. Audubon Pennsylvania recently received two grants to help make our vision a reality. Thanks to funds from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) we will increase the acreage of key forest areas that are being managed in ways that are compatible with the habitat needs of priority birds. We will accomplish this through engaging landowners and foresters in bird-friendly forest management practices.

Our Healthy Forest initiative is a multi-faceted conservation program focusing on protecting forests from fragmentation while promoting management that improves habitat for priority birds and creates healthier, more diverse, and more resilient forests. As part of this initiative and with funding from DCNR and NFWF, Audubon Pennsylvania will work with partners throughout Pennsylvania and Audubon state programs to engage and educate private landowners, public land managers, and private consulting foresters about bird-friendly forestry practices, and we will collaborate with local land trusts who work with private landowners who are interested in conserving their forests into the future.

These efforts will contribute to Audubon’s Atlantic Flyway goals to improve and increase protection of priority forest blocks comprising 35 million acres of breeding habitat within the Eastern Forest by the year 2020. Conservation and stewardship of Pennsylvania’s forests are important to birds and other wildlife as well as to quality of life for many of us.

Audubon New Board Members

Audubon Pennsylvania welcomes John Giordano and Rebecca Bagin. John is a Partner in Archer’s Government Affairs practice, as well as a member of Archer Public Affairs. John served as Deputy Secretary (Chief Operating Officer) of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and Assistant Commissioner for the division of Air Quality, Energy and Sustainability (AQES) at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). He was Governor of New Jersey’s representative on the Delaware River Basin Commission.

Rebecca was an executive at Cambell Soup Company for nearly 15 years. She was the Chief Human Resources officer for Campbells North America--Global Supply Chain for over 3 years before joining Tory Burch in New York, where she served for 2 years before returning to Philadelphia. She was born and raised in Pittsburgh.

“We are so excited to welcome these two new members to our Board,” said Audubon PA’s Executive Director Greg Goldman, who is also a Vice President with National Audubon Society. “John brings a tremendous background in conservation from key leadership roles in the private sector, and has been instrumental in conservation policymaking in the public sectorat both the state and federal levels. Rebecca brings the highest level corporate experience and be instrumental to Audubon PA's implementation of its strategic plan.

The addition of these two members will help create a more robust board for Audubon PA at a time when the organization is engaged in two major capital projects, the Discovery Center at the East Park Reservoir in Philadelphia, a joint project with Outward Bound, and the John James Audubon Center for Art and Conservation Center, to be based at its beautiful facility in Audubon, PA.

Chapter Corner

Nature Heals at Bucks County Audubon Society
Bucks County Audubon has officially opened their new Healing and Sensory Garden on their nature preserve in Solebury!  The garden is designed to be a quiet oasis for children and adults with autism, but everyone is welcomed to visit and relax in this beautiful spot. 

Lehigh Valley Audubon Society Towers for Chimney Swifts
The Habitat Committee has been leading the charge with chimney swift towers in the Lehigh Valley. The tower at Cedar Beach in Allentown had two nests in the first year, and is continuing to be successful. Scott Burnett, Chair of Habitat, has been consulting with other Audubon Chapters on Chimney Swift Tower construction. With Scott’s assistance, the Wissahickon Audubon Chimney Swift Tower is now finished and they are anxious to build another!

Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania Bald Eagle Cams Streaming Live

Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania has launched the Harmar and Hays, PA Bald Eagle webcams for 2018. Both cameras have been repositioned for 2018, providing a much closer view into the nests. The cams are viewable at www.aswp.org and updates for this season include:

  • Cameras broadcasting in HD with sound.
  • The switch to YouTube LIVE as the webcams’ streaming player.
  • The introduction of a rewind function. Viewers may independently rewind the live stream for up to two hours to see if they’ve missed any action in the nests.
  • The ability to share video clips of the nests via the YouTube “share” function.

The webcam at the Harmar nest is owned by Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, streams from ASWP owned property, and is made possible through the generous support of Comcast Business. The Hays webcam is a collaborative project between CSE and Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania. Additional support is provided by Arborel Tree Service and JASE Construction Services. Both live video feeds have been granted a special permit by the Pennsylvania Game Commission for educational purposes. The Game Commission's mission is: To manage wild birds, wild mammals, and their habitats for current and future generations.

Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania Calendar of Events

Citizen Science: Great Backyard Bird Count Training – Feb 3 at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve, Todd Nature Store, & Succop Nature Park
Get ready to count with this training reviewing common species and reporting procedures. This event is free!

Great Backyard Bird Count Walk – Feb 17 at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve, Todd New Park Site, & Succop Nature Park
Join our naturalists for our annual Great Backyard Bird Count walk on Audubon’s trails. 

Maple Madness - Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve, March 17 and Succop Nature Park, March 24
Experience the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of Maple Sugaring as you take a guided hike through the history and science of maple syrup. Enjoy a pancake brunch, too! Registration is required. Cost: $6 per member, $10 per nonmember.

Pymatuning Bird Outing - Wildlife Learning Center in Pymatuning State Park – Mar 24
Pymatuning State Park represents one of the best places in Pennsylvania to observe migrating waterfowl and raptors like Bald Eagles. Participants will meet at the Wildlife Learning Center on the Linesville side of the park, just up from the spillway. Contact Chris Kubiak atckubiak@aswp.org for more information. This event is free.

The Valley Forge Audubon Society (http://valleyforgeaudubon.org/calendar/) is excited to announce that entry is now open for the 2018 Drawn From Nature Annual Juried Show. This show is held at the John James Audubon Center from April 14-28, 2018. The show celebrates work that reflects nature in some way and is open to all. Learn more about the entry process at johnjames.audubon.org/get-involved/art-shopw-2018. For questions or more information, contact wchristie@audubon.org.

How you can help, right now

Audubon Maryland-DC and Audubon Pennsylvania have joined forces to become Audubon Mid-Atlantic.